Sunday, August 31, 2008

Birthday party/plastic party.

plastic is forever
Birthday parties are all about plastic...balloons (I have made a firm commitment to myself never to buy balloons again-I will be a very unpopular mother some day), ribbon, decorations, cups, straws, table ware, trash bags, etc., etc., ad nauseum...but what are you going to do? Be a party pooper? No, not me! Eat, socialize, smile, and dodge the plastic that is what I do. But a plastic-free party, now that is a party I would like to rsvp to. Now accepting invitations!

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Take Back the Filter!

plastic is forever
Hi everyone!

We have a new no-plastic friend, the inspirational Beth Terry at Fake Plastic Fish. Beth is awesome because she lives plastic-free AND writes letters to companies urging them to change their plastic-y ways.

She has brought our attention to Brita water filters:

Do you use Brita water filters to purify your tap water? Have you ever wondered what happens to all the used plastic filter cartridges at the end of their lives?

If you lived in Europe, you could take that filter to a drop-off location where it would be sent back to Brita for recycling. Unfortunately, here in North America, we have no options for recycling our Brita cartridges at all. Each plastic cartridge is either landfilled or incinerated, adding to the toxic waste that is already choking our planet.

That's why we have signed on to the Take Back The Filter campaign to urge The Clorox Company, which owns Brita in North America, to redesign their filters and provide a way for us to recycle them, as is done in Europe. Please join us!

Here's how you can help:

Sign the Petition

Send in your used filter cartridges

Read more about the issue

Forward this post to as many people as you know. This is a grassroots movement. If we don't speak up, who will?

Kerry and Erin

P.S. you can even send beth your old filters! learn more at

i am a plastic magnet

I'm really good at sticking to the plastic diet when I don't leave the house.
But the minute I run a few errands, I'm a plastic magnet.
You can hear a whooshing sound as all the plastic in the tri-state area comes hurtling towards me.

Errand #1:
Yesterday, I upgraded my cell phone.
It came with a "free" silicone cover.
Here's a pic:
plastic is forever

Does that look fragile to you?
Then WHY did it come in a tough plastic container?
I was going to refuse it, but then I thought
a) it's not one-time use plastic
b) it will extend the life of my phone, and
c) I can recycle the packaging.

So I took it. But now it looks super lame on my phone!
Lesson learned: just cause something is free doesn't mean you need it!

Errand #2:
Needed body glide, essential for distance runners to prevent blisters. The packaging is exactly like deodorant, EXCEPT body glide also comes in a tough plastic container. Why oh why?!
plastic is forever

As you can see, plastic is a sneaky beast, wrapping it's tentacles around many of our favorite products. It's not an easy foe to defeat, but I promise to have some tales of triumph over plastic for you soon!

Friday, August 29, 2008

Plastic is forever but sea turtles are for a long time too!

Did you know? The first sea turtles were on Earth 150 million years ago, and ancestors of the turtles in marine waters today entered the ocean 60 million years ago!
(Source: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration)

Let's do all we can to make sure they have another 60 million years!

Plastic bags are no good for the sea turtles...

Neither are plastic straws...

Let's all stop using them forever!

A big smelly hole in the ground.

I read a number of good short articles in the last few days about going green, eco-friendly, recycler things.
Here is the one I liked the most Green Business: Plastic Potion No. 9
The long and the short of it is, the only plastics that are really getting recycled are those marked 1 & 2. I quote, "..for many everyday folks, plastic is plastic, and they "recycle" it all. Sadly, all the things not labeled 1 or 2 get pulled out at the recycling facility and are trucked off to a big, smelly hole in the ground, where they will deposit their petroleum-based chemicals into the soil for the next 500 years."
You should read the whole article to find out more, you'll be glad you did. It is eye-opening. It only takes 3 or 4 minutes, it's a short article. Sorry to burst all those do-good-by-recycling bubbles out there but "recycling" is not all that you think it is. Now reducing that is the cool thing to do! Try going to one piece a day, you'll be glad you did and so will mother nature :)

In case the hyperlink doesn't work the article is at:

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

duct tape

that's the only plastic i've had time to use with my move coming up!

just lots of duct tape.

and i've been throwing things out.. donating clothes and streamlining my life.

it's a good reminder.. don't accumulate THINGS in your life! they will just cause you grief when you're moving!!


Sometimes I heart reusable plastic.

My biggest problem with plastic is the one time use stuff. Anything from a shampoo bottle to a straw, big and small, one time use is no good. Sometimes though I am reminded that not all plastic is bad (really I'm not just saying that). Today I read a short little article by the Sustainability Coordinator for Organically Grown Co. she said: "....The much bigger challenge is changing our supply chain. We can't do that alone. For example, we want to replace waxed-cardboard produce boxes, which can't be recycled, with reusable plastic bins. But to do so, retailers have to agree to store them until we take them back. The industry as a whole has to work together."
So in this case plastic does seem better than paper, at least non-recyclable, waste making waxed-cardboard type paper. Plastic bins will be able to be used indefinitely! Some may even say forever.
This reminds me of my to favorite R's: Reduce and Reuse! We have to work on the Reducing and Reusing of plastic more than just focusing on the Recycling.

Another sad day in the one-piece-of-plastic-a-day-count :( I got another freaking straw! I thought when I said no straw the waitress would get that I meant no straw in either the lemonade or water, but I guess she thought I just didn't want a straw in my water... Oh well I'm going to be able to build something out of straws soon. Perhaps I will build a straw bridge to a plastic free world :)

Monday, August 25, 2008

Plastic is forever, lunch is only 20 minutes...

I don't eat out that much, but every so often I get a craving for a fish taco, particularly a Rubio's Baja Fish Taco-yum :). I decided to get one on the spur of the moment today and I did it plastic free. I don't think any one else in the entire restaurant can say that about their lunch!
Other than liking to make my own food and wanting to eat organic/local as much as possible the major reason I don't eat out more is, well it's depressing! All that plastic!

Here is how it went down:
• I ordered my fish taco, shrimp taco and chips to-go even though I was going to eat there. If you order to-go the taco's come wrapped in paper (ta-da! a placemat). If you order eat-in it comes on a plastic plate.
• I told them "no bag please" and then when they gave me a bag any way I took my food out handed it back and asked them to use the bag for the next person.
• I didn't order a drink. Good old Sigg water bottle water for me.
• On to the tricky part. Yummy chipolte salsa (half the reason for going to Rubio's)...where am I going to put you salsa...not in that little plastic cup...oh on top of the chips in their paper bag. Okay this was the messiest part but I only used one napkin total and your going to get messy eating tacos and chips any way. So you might as well go for it.

Now, that wasn't so bad, but seeing all the people eating off of styrofoam plates and taking their food to-go in plastic bags--that was bad. I felt like a computer that was about to short circuit...what do I who...these people are on their short lunch break and don't want to talk to me...too many people to talk to...where to start...ahhh!

We have to work on less plasticy restaurants people!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Plastic is forever but what about furniture...

I'm moving in a week. So is Kerry actually. We are moving on to bigger and better abodes on our respective coasts but The Plastic Diet will not get left behind in the moves! In fact moving has been hanging over my plastic-diet-head for a while now.

The problem is I have either lived with relatives or in furnished apartments since I left home 9 years ago. What this means is I don't own a lot of stuff. Correction, I do own a lot of stuff, I just don't own a lot of staple items that belong in a house types stuff. You know staples like: a bed*, a table to eat at, a sofa, chairs of any kind, bookshelves, etc. I also don't own a TV but have decided I will not buy one because I don't really need it and they are very plasticy. At any rate, because I own close to nothing (I do have a dresser, nightstand and lovely floor length mirror) I know I will have to buy things, lots of things. One think I have learn about things is that when you buy them they are either plastic or wrapped in plastic!

That is why tonight I took a little drive to the IKEA near where I'm moving (Torrance in case you were wondering) to begin to assess the plastic-size damage I will be causing. I was actually very happy with the many nonplastic options they have for most of what I need to buy. There is a lot of wood and metal in that store :) Well, there is a lot of plastic too, but I focused on the wood and metal items and I was happy. This does not mean there will not be hard choices. For example: There are a lot of bookshelf options but most are either real wood that is too expensive or particleboard with a plastic veneer to make it look like wood. The cheap wood option is not so pretty. So, do I choose the not so pretty bookshelves I don't like very much or the particleboard plastic veneer ones I like better and are very affordable at $89 dollars? I don't know yet.

Having to make this choice also got me thinking about the responsibility of owning furniture and thus having to move it again in the future. I want to buy things I will like for a long time so that I don't just toss them by the wayside when something better comes along, say a nicer looking bookshelf, because in the end tossing by the wayside eventually equals creating more waste. Buying less over a lifetime equals creating less waste over a lifetime. So I try to buy cautiously and consciously and on the budget of a person who has been college/grad school for 8 of the last 9 years. It is not always easy. Stay tuned.

*For about a month I have been trying to convince anyone who will listen to me that a bed/mattress is not really a staple. Mostly because I can't possibly afford the eco-friendly type of mattress I want, you know organic cotton no polyester (aka plastic) material or cushioning of any kind type. Since I can’t afford this kind of mattress I think it is best for me to sleep on the floor for a while, maybe until I can afford it. Lots and lots of people all around the world sleep on the floor (some dirt floors) or beds that feel like the floor—yeah I’m talking about you China and Brazil-your beds are like slabs of cement. Most people I have told about the floor sleeping plan I have are whole-heartedly against it but I feel I should at least give it a go. My new place does have carpet after all.

Friday, August 22, 2008

A plastic dieter's cheer!

You can do it,
Yes you can.
Give up plastic,
Take a stan(d).

Plastic is scary,
You should be wary.
It lasts forever,
No matter the weather.

You can do it,
Yes you can.
Give up plastic,
Shout 'plastic should be ban(d)'.

Rain, sleet or snow,
Plastic has no where to go.
But into our landfills and oceans,
Oh no, no, no!

You can do it,
Yes you can.
Give up plastic,
Be a man (or wo-man).

Join the plastic diet,
And you will be glad.
Use lots of plastic,
And we will be sad :(.

You can do it,
Yes you can.
Give up plastic,
Be a plastic-diet-fan.

(Si se puede, end this plastic heyday.)

The an(d).

P.S. As you can see from my cheer I was never a cheerleader, besides pom-poms are all made of plastic, that would never do.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

do something drastic... drop the plastic!

in case you needed more reasons to ditch plastic bags, and all forms of odious one-time use plastic, here are 50 reasons!

also, today i had a special moment at work. we were under the wire to finish an important project, and my boss brought around coconut water to thank us for our dedication. she brought everyone else's in a paper cup, and mine in a mug! (nevermind that the coconut water probably came in a loathsome tetra pak.) i couldn't believe it-- i thought i was a closeted plastic dieter but i have successfully branded myself as someone who doesn't like waste. mom, are you reading this, are you so proud??

and Plastic is Forever has inspired our first spin-off blog! check it out:
the unplastic life

One maple creamie, hold the plastic.

Ever had a maple creamie? I had my second one today and found out yet another reason why I love them so. No, not just because they are ice cream and I HEART ICE CREAM. The other reason is that the maple creamies (a.k.a. soft serve ice cream) I have been delighting in come from maple syrup that is collected and processed without the use of any plastic! Yes, that's right they tap their trees and collect the syrup using old fashion metal buckets and then cook away in metal pots. Now for the ice cream, in goes the milk (local I'm sure) and maple syrup and out of the metal machine swirls a lovely maple creamie on to my edible cone. Ta-da the perfect non-plastic treat. Plastic free from tree to me :) Thanks Bragg Farm. No more creamies for me though back to California tomorrow.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008


plastic is forever
Check out these happy-sacks! What are happy-sacks...well, "reusable bags for snacks and sandwiches, invented by a mother of 3 who packs over 500 lunches a year". In short they are a great alternative to ziploc bags. My sister-in-law turned me on to them recently. I tried to steal my nephew's but decided to take the plunge and buy my own today :)
They are cloth on the outside and nylon on the inside and wonderfully reusable! I can't wait to pack my next lunch! Yes, they do have a nylon inner layer and velcro closure, which are both technically plastic, but you can wash them (by hand or in the washing machine) and reuse them forever and ever. Plus look at those cool designs....I only wish I had a cafeteria to eat lunch in so I could show them off more.

compostable spoons, no straw zones and lady liberty

A little update:

1. went back to Oko in Park Slope tonight, home of the biodegradable, petroleum-free potato spoons and corn cups! i love that place.

2. does using a compostable spoon make up for the pack of batteries and 12 little plastic hair clips i bought at Target last night? no. i have no excuse for the hair clips, but the batteries-- let's just say it's kind of lame to have a battery-operated toothbrush and have to use it manually. note: when i don't post for a few days, that probably means i'm feeling guilty about a plastic purchase :(

plastic is forever

3. i learned today about a bartender in the east village who eliminated all of the plastic straws from her bar. ERIN DID YOU HEAR THAT? a girl after your own heart! how awesome.

4. my deodorant adventures are still going well.

5. here's a picture of Lady Liberty from a harbor cruise last weekend. what does she have to do with plastic? well, we got a beer on the cruise (not pictured) and they came in plastic bottles which was an unexpected twist in my evening. so i brought home my bottle and my friends' and recycled them. one small step for plastic dieters.
plastic is foreverplastic is forever

Sunday, August 17, 2008

What about recycling?

plastic is forever

I get this a lot...'yes plastic is bad but we can recycle it right?'. My answers are yes, no, and you don't!

Yes, there are many plastics you can recycle (in theory). Those little numbers 1-7 on the bottom of containers for example. Yes, go for it, please recycle those! These numbers are found on many hard plastics food containers...but what about all the plastic wrappers and ALL those plastics without a number. You can't recycle those! (That is what I have heard and read, if you know different let me know!)

So, no you can't recycle all plastics in fact there is A LOT of plastic that you can't recycle even if you want to. For example: plastic wrap, chip bags, three ring binders, the mouse of your computer, toys, the wrappers toys come in, buttons, elastic bands, the sole of your shoe...need I go on?

And, well you don't. Really, truly, we just don't (yes, even I don't/haven't). When you are out and about and you buy something do you put that recyclable plastic in your purse and bring it home with you to your recycling you have a recycling bin at home? Yes I do for the most part, but then again I have to keep all the plastic I use (it's part of the plastic diet after all--keep all the plastic you use to see how much you accumulate in one year). But just to illustrate the point Americans alone consume 70 million plastic water bottles a year and only 10 million get recycled! That means 60 million plastic water bottles are in landfills or the ocean...
So think about it. Think long and hard. The recycling system can be a good thing, but you have to use the system for it to work and you have to know the system is far from perfect. A recycled plastic bottle is not reincarnated into another identical plastic may become a fleece vest and then that fleece vest may get used for years but eventually thrown away. Something is always lost in the process and there are transportation costs (i.e. petroleum products) and water used in the recycling process as well.
End of story, this is why Kerry and I decided to start our plastic diet. We need to cut back and be more aware of our plastic consumption because just recycling is not the answer. If that worked there would be no Great Pacific Garbage Patch.

the quest for plastic-free deodorant: extortion, conspiracy theories, careening plot twists and the triumph of good ol' homemade remedies over plastic

I ran out of deodorant last week, oh dear.

In the past, I've tried Tom's of Maine deodorant, which is good because it's aluminum free and not tested on animals. The trouble is-- the container is made of plastic. And it doesn't work for me.

For plastic-free alternatives, I checked out the deodorant stone at L'Occitane. No plastic there, you just add a bit of water. I might end up buying that, but it costs $21. I'm going to have to crunch some numbers and review my 2008-09 deodorant budget before making that investment. Good to know it's there, though. Because the #1 rule of messing with your deodorant routine is to have a backup plan!
plastic is forever

Now many of you know my theory about cosmetics/beauty products. The theory is that we're all getting ripped off. We've been brainwashed to believe that we need to buy shampoos, deodorants, etc. Raise your hand if you're sure! The first antiperspirant was patented in 1941.. somehow people survived before. So, are there any inexpensive household items I could use as a deodorant alternative?

Two good places to find out: and Envirowoman

What I learned is that baking soda works for tons of people. Yup, you heard me right-- plain old baking soda. I also gathered that something antibacterial might help. So I've been dabbing tea tree oil and baking soda for the past 4 days and it's working! what a miracle. At this rate, I'll have a huge surplus in my deodorant budget!
plastic is forever

Thursday, August 14, 2008

conquering my fears on the plastic diet

plastic forever

My falafel place has been shut down.

There's nowhere else to get food in a 3-block radius.

Except-- this new Mexican grill.

Which I would love to support because they seem so earnest. And they have a kinda high price point, which is charmingly ambitious. And the past 4 businesses in their space have failed.

BUT I have steered clear because I don't do one-time use plastic, which means I don't do takeout.

UNLESS I'm willing to show up with a tupperware and be a serious nutcase.

Which I'm not, but yesterday I took a baby step. I brought my own cup, ordered a smoothie, and asked if they would put the smoothie in my cup. There was eye-rolling, question-asking, mass confusion and hysteria. But only in my imagination! In reality, the guy didn't blink, and I got my delicious strawberry smoothie, oh sweet reusable joy.

Go green-please.

Did you know we throw 38 billion plastic water bottles in landfills every year, and every year the count goes higher.
We as a nation bought 30 billion gallons of water in plastic bottles in 2005 and most of those plastic bottles went to land fills.
My heart aches! :*( Buy a reusable water bottle as soon as you can!


Wednesday, August 13, 2008

The things that make me happpy...

...are not the same things that make most people happy, least not since starting The Plastic Diet.

This makes me happy!
plastic is forever
You know what those are? They are glass straws (and two straw cleaners)!!!
I bought them :)

They are made by a guy named David Leonhardt.
He makes them because, and I quote:
"I immediately recognized that here [glass straws] was a partial solution to our 'plastics problem'. Now, granted, there are a lot more plastics in our world than just drinking straws, but bear with me a minute and let me put things in perspective ... As of March 2008, McDonald’s serves an average of 52 million meals PER DAY!! (Per their website) How many of those served do you think were given a plastic straw? I hope it is becoming obvious just how big of a problem these pesky little plastic straws can be. Remember, this is just from McDonalds!!"

A man after my own plastic-hater heart. Plastic is pesky!

Check out his website: and you can get some glass straws too! (Not you Jer and Sar I already got you the family pack for Christmas.)

Now hear is the real amazing part, NO PLASTIC (other than tape) was used in shipping these straws to me! Everything used in the shipping is in the picture above. Keep in mind they shipped me glass and still no plastic was needed! ( you should be ashamed with how much plastic you use to ship books!) I did ask them not to use any plastic in the 'message to the vender' box when I submitted my order, but I get the feeling they give this kind of plastic-free treatment to everyone :)
Woohoo! See, doesn't this make you happy too?

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

i don't do plastic and it's fantastic

plastic is forever

Sorry for my silence! Good thing I have a partner-in-crime who has been blogging away. I'm working on the launch of this awesome company, and it's keeping me tres busy!

in plastic news:
1. today at work there were cookies. individually wrapped in plastic. no thank you.

2. over the weekend i went to the hamptons. so much fun. there were about 9 of us, we had a bonfire on the beach and i singed my leg in a smore-related injury. but i digress. i can't even get into how much plastic was consumed. can't EVEN get into it! but i was a guest and wanting to be gracious so i didn't say anything. until--one of the guys told us that he ONLY uses plastic utensils. bestill my biodegradable heart. the worst part is, two other people chimed in that they do the same! because it eliminates the need to do dishes. what. it wasn't the time or place for a lecture, but i stared them down and said "plastic. is. forever."

3. i am running out of deodorant. stay tuned.

Monday, August 11, 2008

You might say I was born for this.

plastic is foreverWhat is this????
This is how my parents dry out plastic bags after they have washed them for reuse!

These bags are drying over a cup filled with wooden spoons and spatulas--wooden spoons and spatulas are the drying rack of course. Why do my parents wash out plastic bags? (These are all old bread bags, but they do this for all plastic bags including ziplocks.) So they can reuse them of course! That's right my parent's reuse all their plastic bags!!
The sight of plastic ziplocks drying by the sink was very common in my home growing up. (You just fill the bag with a little soap and water and slosh it around then rinse and dry.) My parents have become more ardent in their reuse of plastic bags as of late (I'd like to think I had something to do with this--but likely the impetus to take action is the other way around). My mother told me recently she now packs her sandwich for lunch in an old washed out powder sugar bag! You would be amazed how long plastic bags last if you use, wash and reuse them over and over again. They really last a long time without getting torn if you are the least bit careful. So, knowing this about the house I grew up in you might saw I was born for this Plastic Diet thing! Think of all the ways you could reuse your the plastic bags that you buy food in...plastic is foreverOh look another picture...of more plastic bags drying!
And a piece of corn bread in a reused bag that will be in my mom's lunch tomorrow.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

One happy travel tea mug.

plastic is forever
As Kerry let on the other day (in her post on August 7th) I knit my travel tea mug a koozie for the sake of saving plastic. It was either that or buy a new mug and buying a new travel mug would definitely involve buying some plastic and wasting the plastic part of the mug I already have. Some travel mugs are ALL plastic (very bad for many reasons). Particularly bad because most of the hard plastic mugs are made from plastic with chemicals that leach out when exposed to heat-ick! Other mugs, like mine, are made of metal (on the outside and inside with insulation between these two layers of metal) and a plastic top for sipping (after all sipping from a metal top would burn you). Well, my metal mug is getting old (3+ years) and the rubber bottom came off exposing a little hole where the insulation was shot in...and with repeated washings over the last year all the insulation came out of that now exposed hole-opps. Now what I have is a HOT metal mug which burns my hand when I put hot tea in it because there is no insulation left to protect me. So, what to do, what to do? Buy a new mug or burn myself everyday or give up tea or give up leaving my house before drinking my tea in a regular mug? No, none of the above. I knit my mug a nice little sleeve and now both the mug and I are happy as can be. I especially am happy because I didn't have to purchase anything new made of plastic or waste anything I already had that has a plastic component! The mug is particularly happy because I picked a nice periwinkle color to complement it's pink exterior. Being on the plastic diet after all does reacquire creativity sometimes :)

Friday, August 8, 2008

Some people think forever=500 years.

plastic is foreverplastic is forever
(Hopefully you can read the very small English or at least make out some of the pictures and number of years it takes these things to biodegrade.)

I saw this sign in Ilha Grande, Brazil--an island that is 90% nature preserve/national park. I liked it because it makes people aware that trash doesn't just go away. You don't "throw away" trash, you send trash to a land fill! That is a place (a little place many people call "Away"). If you have never been to a landfill I highly suggest a visit. It is saddingly eye-opening. As Kerry told you plastic doesn't biodegrade (some day a bacteria will evolve that can consume plastic--and it will take over the world!)...and often plastic ends up in our ocean landfill 'The Great Pacific Garbage Patch', because it is light and flies away off trucks or flows down rivers into the ocean, etc.

I found this sign interesting also because it only gives plastic a 500 year lifespan (while nylon fishing line-also plastic-gets 650 years...hummm). From everything I have read that is wrong, plastic breaks down, down, down, but it never goes away. That's how it fills the bellies of sea turtles after all, because it gets just small enough to eat but then gets stuck in their guts and can't break down :(

Whether it is 500 years or forever that's a long time! Think about committed are you to that iced coffee? Forever committed? 500 years committed? Both are a very long time!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Plastic on the Brooklyn Bridge

Dear Friends,
plastic is forever

It's time for reusable water bottles!
plastic is forever

Don't you agree?
plastic is forever


P.S. I nearly got run over by a bike taking these pictures, which is my all-time worst fear in the world, so for the love of all that is good and biodegradable, please consider a reusable water bottle!

how could plastic possibly be forever?

Is plastic really forever? Yes. Here's the problem with plastic: it doesn't biodegrade. To biodegrade is to decompose naturally with the help of biological agents, like bacteria. Banana peels biodegrade. Plastic cigarette lighters do not.

Instead, plastic photodegrades. This means that it's broken down by light (not bacteria). As it absorbs sunlight, plastic breaks into smaller and smaller pieces. This sounds promising, right? Almost like it will disappear? Not so fast. First of all this process takes hundreds of years. And second, the very smallest bits of plastic (which are called nurdles) get sucked up by the fishies in the sea and enter our food chain.

Knowing that, don't you want to find an alternative to your iced coffee and eat some plastic-free apricots from the farmer's market? yay, me too!

And can I say, I'm so happy to have Erin back! Aren't you all happy to have the blog back in action after our summer hiatus? For anyone who is plastic dieting, I recommend finding a plastic buddy because it's so hard to do this alone! I need Erin around to keep me honest and inspired and to be this hardcore:

erin: I hate plastic just thought you should know--it drives me nuts sometimes.
I am going to knit a sleeve for my coffee/tea mug that is made of metal of course because it is old and all the insulation has come out the little hole in the bottom of the mug (where they put the insulation in) now the mug is very very hot when you hold it (thus defeating the purpose in many ways) but I don't want to buy a new one because they all have plastic tops and my mug is still good--so end of story tonight I'm knitting myself a coffee mug sleeve so I don't burn my hand instead of buy a new mug!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Lush conditioning bar is MY new conditioner.

Have I told you about Lush's Jungle Conditioning Bar ? I forget. Well in the flurry of my new plastic-free lifestyle back in June I bought this "conditioning bar". After all, hair conditioner comes in a plastic bottle (as does shampoo but somehow I already own a life's supply of shampoo).
I have to admit I haven't want to give up my hair conditioner and didn't run out of what I already owned until just recently. You see I have a A LOT of hair (on my heard) 20 inches from the top of my ponytail to the bottom (I just measured). If you don't have long hair you don't know that conditioner is a gift from God (gold, frankincense, and muhr have nothing on conditioner). 20 inches is a lot of hair to untangle and I have lived a happy-go-lucky, fill-my-entire-hand-with-conditioner, slather-it-on lifestyle up to this point and still I hate brushing my hair right out of the shower because of the tangles. So, the thought of a 'conditioning bar' scared me a bit (okay more than a bit-I bought a new bottle of conditioner the day before we went to one piece of plastic a day). I have seriously contemplated cutting my hair to shoulder length at least 100 times in the last two months. You can see how conditioner is serious business to me. Well I bit the bullet two days ago. I used the bar. It doesn't really come with instructions so I rubbed it around on my head for awhile then down the length of my hair, which seemed to cause more tangles than it eliminated BUT in the end it actually worked pretty good. I used it again today and it really does work!
Now, I read some reviews on this 'bar' before I bought it (one must be an informed consumer) and the one review that sticks with me to this day was from a girl who said the smell of the bar reminded her of Disneyland?!? What does that mean? I'm not channeling that kind of crazy but I will recommend it to you as a plastic-free alternative for hair conditioner and I promise that after you use it your hair will be less tangled than it is after getting off the Mad Hatter's Tea Cup Ride at Disneyland. If that's not a glowing endorsement I don't know what is.
Lesson learned: Sometimes change is good, especially when it involves reducing plastic :)

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Wasteful plastic in Brazil.

Here are a few pictures of some close encounters of the wasteful plastic kind which I came across on my trip. I mean really why does everything have to be wrapped in plastic!?!?

plastic is forever

plastic is forever
Ah yes, now I know for sure that spoon is clean
because you put it in a plastic bag for me--with
your own hands! Question is are your hands clean?

plastic is forever
Say it ain't so apples!

Books are meant to be read, loved, dog-eared,
written in, taped back together--but not wrapped
in plastic :(

potato spoons and corn cups

There is one place where I can get frozen yogurt in a cup without worrying about the plastic spoon, Oko in Park Slope! Their frozen yogurt has the sour taste and steep price of Pinkberry, but they use biodegradable materials.

From the Oko website:

Almost all of our packaging is made from renewable resources, is 100% compostable, bio-degradable and petroleum free. Our containers look and feel exactly like plastic but are actually made completely from corn, our spoons from potatoes! Yes, we’ve tried it and don’t recommend eating them. Our napkins, hot sleeves and take-out bags are made from recycled paper.


A zero plastic hamburger…

…close but no cigar.
I made my own hamburger buns yesterday in order to not have to buy any buns in those plastic bags they come in. All needed ingredients were easily acquired sans plastic. Good news: the hamburger buns came out pretty good; Bad news: there was some plastic involved in consuming these burgers. No, no, not the tomatoes, or blue cheese (woohoo!), or even the corn on the cob (as a side)…but humm something is missing…ahh yes the burger. Well, you see there are these wonderful people who sell bison meat at the local LA farmers markets and they are such a pleasure to talk to. They love their bison, sell grass fed free range meat (!), they even sell bison tallow soap because they “waste nothing”, BUT all their meat is sealed in plastic...what’s a plastic hating locavore to do?! Thank goodness for one piece of plastic a day! Lesson learned: meat is the new luxury item.

Monday, August 4, 2008

a special moment in plastic history

I went to Subway with Nora today and the lady tried to put her sandwich in a plastic bag.

Nora firmly but politely said "I don't need a bag, please."

But Subway is crowded and noisy at lunchtime, and the lady is used to putting everyone's sandwich in a plastic bag, which she was about to do when Nora became The Ferocious and shouted "I don't need a plastic bag!"

Amazing. I was so proud.

In my plastic news, I bought a ... oh lord, I don't even know what it's called... a media card? I need it to transfer my music and files from my desktop computer to my laptop.

Said another way, I need a piece of plastic wrapped in plastic to transfer files from one plastic machine to a smaller plastic machine. Too much plastic!

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Plastic Debacle at Cosi

My friend Katy and I were going to see Step Brothers last night and our show was sold out (who does this movie think it is? Batman??) so we got tickets for the next show and went to Cosi for dinner. Okay-- so we sit in the restaurant sit-down section (not take-out). I order water and a pizza. My water is in a plastic cup with a plastic straw! I wanted to cry. Then I get sucker-punched with a plastic fork and knife for my pizza. I'm sorry--I don't need utensils, it's pizza, cut into bite-size pieces.

Lesson learned: no more Cosi, and be sure to specify no straw please!

A plastic-free plane ride...almost.

I travelled back from my month in Brazil yesterday and of course packed my own food for the flight (pictured below). For my flight to Brazil I bought two 6-inch subs, made some cookies to snack on, and had my two Siggs of water. The flight attendant was actually concerned with my lack of consumption on the flight south. By the time of the breakfast service he was almost force feeding me. I guess he didn't see me snacking on my own stuff and only remembered that I turned down every plastic encased consumption item that he offered me. I eased his concern by showing off my Siggs and handing over the (nonplastic) trash from my subs. On my flight home no one seemed to notice or care that I brought my own food and drink. Although they should have noticed because my food was much yummier looking!
All in all it was a mostly plastic-free flying experience. I had my own tupperware (of course plastic-but reusable) but the blankets both ways were sealed in plastic bags (that whole plastic=clean thing again). So I did consume plastic on both flights--it gets really cold on those planes and a girls gotta have a blanket! I guess I could have packed my own blanket but really I was backpacking and convenience won out on this trip.

plastic is forever

A chicken and catupiry potpie (wrapped in paper-amazing!), pão de queijo (cheese bread) and quindim (coconut pudding)-yum!

Saturday, August 2, 2008

living light

I helped a friend move this week, and I'm moving in September.

Moving is a perfect opportunity to look at your belongings and realize how much stuff/crap we accumulate. My friend put a microwave, vacuum cleaner, espresso machine, iron, clothes, shoes etc etc on the curb. We threw out tons of plastic in so many forms... tupperware, insulated mugs, appliances, hangers.

One recurring theme was that my friend tends to bring things home from the "free" pile at work. We vowed that just because something is free, doesn't mean we have to accept it into our lives. And I renewed my vow to look carefully at my purchases and material possessions.

Because when you have too much stuff--plastic or otherwise--it owns you, instead of you owning it.

"Live light. Travel light. Spread the light. Be the light."