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.


JMcK said...


Moving is definitely daunting.

I'm sure you're thinking of this, but what about the reuse angle? Most of my furniture comes from old roommates or Craig's list. I moved into my apartment 3 years ago without even a bed (though I borrowed one; I did NOT sleep on the floor...). I've definitely made some Ikea runs over the years, but most of my furniture is actually pretty good stuff that comes from someone else. It's hard to coordinate furniture that way, but it doesn't sound like you'll be decorating to your dreams in any case. I even got a free TV on Craig's list that I don't feel bad about at all -- it was someone else's plastic, and if I didn't have it, it might be sitting lamely in a landfill NOT biodegrading.

I know moving's tough. Good luck!

plasticfreenyc said...

the last person i met who didn't use a bed also ate oatmeal out of those packets WITHOUT ADDING HOT WATER and would always have dusty white specks on his face. whatever you do.. don't be that guy!

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