Wednesday, October 29, 2008

A small (but wonderful) success

I received a response right away from one of the card companies I emailed yesterday. It was very encouraging to get such a positive response so quickly. Thank you Red Cap Cards. This has encouraged me to take some of my own advice to participate more in raising awareness about the changes I want to see regarding less plastic in our world. Take a look at the response I got and think about reaching out to make your voice heard as well.

Re: use of plastic packaging

Hi Erin,

Thank you for your e-mail, and we completely support your decision. Hal and I are looking into a corn based packaging solution as we speak, and we are also considering not using any packaging at all…

The store owners that buy our cards often request the cards to be in sleeves in order to keep the cards clean, however I think there is going to be a shift in thinking real soon! All of our cards are printed on recycled paper and our letterpress cards are 100%tree free, so we are almost there!

I truly respect your intentions and I will let you know once we have solved this problem on our end!

Thank You,


Ugh, cards individually wrapped in plastic

I found myself in a fancy paper and card store buying some cards yesterday. I love to buy and send cards! Cards are fun and cute. Plus it’s so nice and almost quaint now a days to get something in the 'real' mail that is there to say 'hey I was thinking of you'. Well, since the plastic diet my choices of fun original artsy cards (not Hallmark or Wal-mart generic) are very very limited. Way too many cards come in their own plastic sleeve or envelop apparently the industry lingo for this is “cello-sleeve”. Plus sets of holiday and thank you cards come in little plastic boxes! Will it never end? Well, this makes me mad and now I am taking down names.
Positively Green Cards (No plastic sleeve, printed on recycled paper, using soy ink-yeay!)
Selfish Kitty Calypso Cards (Cute and no plastic cello sleeve)
Almost everyone else!
Really big loser:

A package of Christmas cards that said “Eco-friendly Rudolph” with a cute Rudolph (with a green shining nose) on the front of the card, but then the cards came in a plastic box! There is noting eco-friendly about plastic Rudolph even if your nose is green.
Also, I am going to be emailing Two Piglets Letterpress, (I like their cards a lot!) they go to the extent to use acid free paper and soy ink, but then all their cards are in plastic. I think they need to hear from me.
Another card maker I love Red Cap Cards is also going to be getting an email because their cards are so cute (see above), I want to buy their cards (really I do), but I don’t want any more wasteful “cello-sleeves” ever. It is a fact that I do not need any more cello in my life-end of story.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

speaking of green products...

In a long-awaited move that will revolutionize my ability to partake in takeout and bbqs without eating with my hands..

I bought bamboo utensils! Just 2 seconds ago!

Look at how cute they are.

do you want to know all about them? i thought you would!

To-Go Ware® - Reusable Bamboo Utensil Set with Recycled Carrycase

  • Made from sustainably-harvested bamboo
  • Carrycase made from recycled plastic bags
  • Lightweight, strong and long-lasting
  • Heat- and stain-resistant
  • Safe to use on non-stick surfaces
  • Won't impart or absorb flavors
  • Hand finished with natural, food-safe wood oil
  • Includes utensils, chopsticks & carrycase

    "...absolutely perfect for cutting down on takeout waste"
    Vegetarian Times

    The newsprint style actually contains recycled newspaper!

    Cool Facts

    Bamboo is an organic, beautiful & earth friendly material known for
    its fast growth cycle and natural strength. Highly adaptable, bamboo
    can grow almost anywhere and protects the environment by generating
    more oxygen than other trees. While gaining popularity, bamboo is still
    mostly an untapped renewable natural resource.


    Sunday, October 26, 2008

    "green" products for a consumer society

    I saw some interesting products on our Plastic is Forever Google ads* today (right of the posts). And they got me thinking about eco-friendly products. First I saw the Biobag-biodegrabale waste bags made from corn. I have a friend who uses these and likes them. I stick to paper bags that I get at the store (i.e. reduce and reuse). Whenever I get low I just don't bring my own canvas bag to Whole Foods and re-stalk up on paper bags for my trash. This is the cheap option. The Biobag is a nice alternative though. Both paper and corn are biodegradable and even though they will end up in a landfill and probably won't biodegrade for a very long time they are both better than plastic that will never biodegrade. Then I saw the ad for the Plastic Bag Dryer by Greenfeet. This made me smile :). Wow, how about paying $18 for a plastic bag dryer? Don't get me wrong drying your own bags is great. I dry out my plastic bags and reuse them endlessly...and my mom has done this for over 20 years...but we have managed to do this (and do it well) without a specific device. Okay, so yes I have to admit I was tempted to buy it. It is made out of wood (!) and it is "nifty". I can see it on my counter. But I'm going to stick to what I got, which is amazingly similar (a bunch of wooden spoons in a cup) and what I've got is free. If though this little modern marvel will get more people to reuse all sorts of plastic bags I say-yeah! But keep in mind you can do this on your own like me. Lastly, I came across a product that just kind of made me was on the NPR website under 'Green Gifts' marketed as a 'gardener's gift set'! What is green about all this plastic? If you love the earth and love to garden you should be very weary of plastic. We need to start narrowing the definition of "green". Too many things are being touted as green. Green is just a catch phrase these days. One of the main criteria for green in my book is: little to no plastic is involved. There are still so few people aware of the menace of plastic and how un-green plastic is. We need to change this. Tell someone today! Spread the word.

    *Let me remind you Kerry and I have no control over these ads. So some of the ads are for products that are the antithesis of what we stand for, but some aren't obviously.

    Thursday, October 23, 2008

    plasticy writing class

    Let me start by saying: I love my writing class!


    Tonight there were 9 of us in the room.
    And on the table we had:

    3 plastic Dasani bottles
    2 plastic Poland Spring bottles
    3 cans of soda
    2 plastic bags (one for bread, one for popcorn)
    1 zip lock bag
    1 chex mix bag
    1 yogurt container
    1 plastic knife
    1 plastic spoon
    1 glass snapple bottle

    Do you think all of that got recycled? hmm.. no
    Do you think ALL of that could have been avoided? you betcha

    Wednesday, October 22, 2008

    Sugar cookies, frosting, and not being a martyr.

    I made sugar cookies last night... For me sugar cookies just are not right without Pillsbury frosting which-of course-comes in plastic. It was my plastic for the day and it brought happiness to all those who partook of the cookies today, but still I felt guilty buying it. I could make my own frosting....but it's just not the same. That sickeningly sweet chemically stuff made by Pillsbury makes my heart flutter when it is smeared on the top of a delicious sugar cookie (which I did make myself). I feel much more guilty buying "food related" plastic (like the frosting container) than I do buying "industrial related" plastic (this frosting created more than a little guilt). For example I had not guilt last week buying the weatherstripping for my doors so warm air stays in and cold air stays out at night. I guess what it comes down to is the fact that yummy cookies are a luxury and not freezing to death is a bit more on the necessity side of things and the point of the plastic diet is to give up these luxury things. So, as a plastic dieter partaking in the luxury side of plastic is much harder than it used to be. In the end though some 'bad' plastic serves as a vessel for very delicious frosting and that's just the way it is. It's the plastic diet not plastic martyrdom!

    Sunday, October 19, 2008

    plastic free tailgating

    I went to The Hunt yesterday, which is horse races & tailgating, a match made in heaven.
    The challenge was to not use any plastic when that's all we had for plates, utensils, cups.


    I couldn't eat swedish meatballs or penne with vodka sauce.
    But I had some chips with dip and bread with mango salsa and a cookie.
    All plastic-free!
    I could have also had a burger or hotdog with no plate, but didn't get around to it.
    And I wanted some wine but didn't have my own cup, so when my sister Suzanne left I asked to use her cup.
    Someone overheard us talking about plastic and was curious. It was funny to hear Suzanne explain about the evils of plastic and how easy it is to reduce plastic use in everyday life.. she was a skeptic a few months ago but now she's on board!

    I noticed I'm getting better about explaining the plastic diet to people, too. Here's what I say:

    1. On principle, I don't use one-time use plastic. Things you use and immediately throw away. Just don't believe in it. Some people don't believe in unicorns or ghosts or God. I don't believe in one-time use plastic. People can't really argue with that.. seems fair enough.

    2. I explain that even if you don't think about it consciously, we're all intelligent people, and at some level we're aware that wasteful practices like buying coffee every day and tossing the cup are not good choices. I repeat the phrase "you are an intelligent person" a few times. People like that :) They start nodding in agreement. And then I explain that the blog attempts to bring these issues to a conscious level, so that as an intelligent person, you are thinking about it and able to make better choices.


    Friday, October 17, 2008

    step one: participate

    I often want to tell people and companies what's on my mind regarding their plastic usage. What stops me? Mostly I don't think people will listen or that I will not make any change-I'm just one person after all. Some people are very good at writing letters to bring about change and they are extremely inspirational to me, like Beth from
    Well today I made a comment about the packaging used at my standby I-haven't-eaten-lunch-yet-and-it's-3:00 lunch place in a an online survey my receipt asked me to participate in (whenever I could win $1000 or free food I am a sucker for surveys.)

    They said:
    If there are any other comments you would like to share about your most recent visit to Rubio's, please enter your comments below.

    So I said:
    I would really encourage you to stop using plastic in your food packaging. Your use of plastic actually limits what I am willing to buy at your restaurant. I only order tacos because they comes wrapped in paper. I always tell the counter worker not to put my order in a plastic bag, but you also use a lot of other plastic (i.e. plates, clam shell containers, straws, salsa dishes) that could be replaced with more environmentally friendly options. Thank you for taking my comment into consideration. Progressive thinking in terms of eliminating plastic packaging will benefit our collective health and environment.

    So, the lesson here is: Step one-participate and tell them your opinion. I hope step two will be-watch change happen. Of course we will need a lot of participation in step one in order to see step two come to fruition.

    Just say NO to bottled water

    Remember my rant about bottled water back in June, well the Environmental Working Group (EWG) just came out with a report on why bottled water is not all it is cracked up to me (and it's not just because it comes in plastic! wasteful wasteful plastic!).

    Check it out:
    Bottled Water Quality Investigation: 10 Major Brands, 38 Pollutants

    Yup, you gotta love your Sigg (and filtered watered).

    Wednesday, October 15, 2008

    a no plastic day

    I had a no plastic day yesterday and it felt really good. It's not the first time and won't be the last. I just wanted to share :) This day even included some grocery farmer's market shopping and going out to dinner. Sometimes it is easier to just stay home and use no plastic but it is even more rewarding to venture out in the world and do so. You can do it too. Happy days!

    Sunday, October 12, 2008

    plastic free radical

    The thought came to my mind over the weekend that I am a bit of a plastic free radical. I kind of like this thought :) It came to me as I was smugly eating my lunch with my own knife and fork off a real (chinaware) plate, while everyone else around me was eating off and with plastic! I found myself in this position at a conference on Saturday which had catered breakfast and lunch buffets. I passed up plastic with gusto, but I did not pass up food! Why is it that where there is food there is also plastic? I am used to using a napkin as a plate for pastries and other small breakfast food type things, but then along came lunch. A napkin would not serve me well as a plate to hold salad, pasta salad, a sandwich and soup! Okay, I can handle this I thought. I have my water bottle, I have my silverware, I need a plate. So, I asked one of the caterer people standing by the door to the kitchen...I think what I said was "Do you have any real plates, I don't use plastic and was hoping you could let me have another plate." To my surprise the guy said yes, walked over to a cabinet and gave me a plate and then said "Just don't tell anyone where you got it or they will all want one." Hum? Yes, let us no let it get out to the masses that there is an option other than plastic (okay I get that this means more work for the caterer-washing plates and all) but common. I felt like making a Marie Antoinette like proclamation "Let them eat with plates!" Let us liberate the masses. If there are other plates available-which there were where I was-it is time to not just think about the short term costs (less money if you don't have to pay caterers to wash plates) and think more of the long term costs (the growing plastic wastelands in our oceans and health consequences from plastic).
    "Let them eat from plates!"

    Green Dining in NYC: GustOrganics and Dos Caminos!

    What a week. On Wednesday I met a friend for dinner at GustOrganics and last night I had dinner at Dos Caminos. Both are green certified restaurants by the Green Restaurant Association!

    Gusto is also America's first all-organic restaurant. We're talking 100% organic. How amazing is that? Plus when I was there they had just gotten a liquor license so our wine was 30% off :)
    I didn't see a single piece of plastic.. and they use non-plastic takeout containers (I think it's cardboardy like what they use at Whole Foods) except for salads which come in PLA containers and their take-out utensils are PLA. The containers and utensils are "recycled, tree-free, biodegradable and organic." Sweet.
    • These are some of Gusto's sustainable practices:

      • Recycling and composting.
      • Using only wind energy.
      • Use of solar lighting.
      • Energy efficient kitchen equipment.
      • Water conservation equipment.
      • Biodegradable take out containers, cups and flatware.
      • Environmentally friendly packaging (Most is biodegradable).
      • 100% recycled paper, bags and boxes.
      • Printing with soy ink.
      • Green cleaning practices including biodegradable products.
      • Built our restaurant with recycled woods and eco friendly materials.
      • We wear all organic uniforms.
      • Use of organic flowers.

    • Green word of mouth:
      • We use our restaurants to interact with our Guests and create environmental awareness.
      • We learn and collaborate within our communities to improve our attitude toward the planet.
    Can you believe this is happening right in Union Square? very exciting!

    YOU ARE WHAT YOU EAT. And how you eat. So how can you change the world one meal at a time?

    Wednesday, October 8, 2008

    A cautionary tale about tea

    Tea: a beverage made by steeping leaves in water.
    How simple and quaint you are my morning beverage.
    How can you possibly be messed up with plastic?
    Oh let me count the ways....
    Some tea has plastic cellophane on the outside of the box you buy it in, some has the bags individually wrapped in plastic on the inside...some tea has BOTH! Really it is too much. In the store I have opened boxes to look inside and then put them back on the shelf, I have shaken boxes to listen for a paper sound or plastic sound on the inside. Some individually packaged tea comes in those little tear open envelops that seem plastic-y as well as paper-y...what is this miracle material? I give up. Nicely packages tea bags are wonderful, but I think today was my last purchase of this modern convenience. It is all loose leaf-all the time for me (after I finish what I bought today :).

    Tuesday, October 7, 2008

    Cough cough sneeze sneeze

    I knew this day would come...I have a cold :( Boo-hoo. I know, I know, we all get colds no big deal, BUT what kind of cold remedies are out there that don't come in plastic? I have been a user of Airborn, Zicam, NyQuil, etc. ...but I want to find some good (likely home remedies) for the common cold that don't come in plastic. What do you suggest? My first non-plastic remedy recommendation comes from my sister-in-law. She suggests: sleep! I love sleep so I am all over this, but the reality is it's hard to get much more sleep than I already do and get everything done that needs to get done. But since I only have 5 NyQuil doses left I slept in an extra hour today :) I still have a cold :( I think I'm going to go buy some oranges now. Please any good plastic free home remedies are highly appreciated. Thanx.

    Monday, October 6, 2008

    plastic free alarm clock

    I emailed Erin today wailing that I need to buy a new hair dryer and alarm clock.

    My hair dryer sounds like it's about to explode and/or set me on fire.

    And I use the alarm on my cell phone, but ever since I got a new phone... it's not reliable.
    9 times out of 10 the alarm fails to go off. not a good situation!

    But then I got to thinking instead of buying another appliance.. maybe there is an alarm clock feature on my macbook.
    I did a google and why yes, there are many options!
    I downloaded this one:

    I changed the settings so the computer can wake itself up from sleep mode and start playing Party Started by Cat Empire. I'll let you know how it works out!

    Thank you plastic diet for saving me money!

    Sunday, October 5, 2008

    Go plastic free, bring your own.

    I went to a party tonight. I brought and used my own silverware and glass. No one noticed the fork I used, but as I pulled the glass out of my purse I caught myself apologizing, "I don't mean to be rude, but I don't use plastic" I said as I passed my friend the glass to fill my water. I even said this to someone who knows I don't use plastic and thinks it's great, so obviously I had no need to apologize. It's funny, people really don't mind (or notice) that I bring my own stuff yet I keep apologizing. In fact, I think (at least for now) I am a fun quaky plastic-free-oddity at parties. Kind of like 'not using plastic' is my new party trick (I also have double jointed elbows to fall back on if the plastic thing doesn't wow them). One thing is for sure, not using plastic is always a conversation starter, and more and more I find I'm not the only one starting that conversation.

    Friday, October 3, 2008

    ignorance is bliss?

    hi everyone! sorry i've been quiet this week.
    don't take that to mean i've been using lots of plastic-- i have not!
    here's a post from the blog "love your city," that i thought you might like

    ignorance is bliss?
    September 16, 2008, 10:49 am
    Filed under: trill

    i am currently taking a class called ‘culture & the environment,’ which is essentially about how those two are, have always been, and will always be, inextricably tied. yesterday the teacher asked, by show of hands, how many people think that we are in an environmental crisis. FIVE people raised their hands. FIVE. out of a class of maybe 40 or so?

    the question that followed asked the opposite, how many people thought that this whole environmental crisis thing is non-existent, just a trend.
    and someone actually put up their hand.
    “uhhh uhh well it’s not that there isn’t a crisis, i just think its toootally blown out of proportion.”


    *696,241 km…don’t mess.

    vice magazine did an article on it a while ago, which spurred hours upon hours of internetting on my part. i needed to know more and i was honestly a bit disappointed in myself for not having had any idea that such a thing existed. i would just read the vice article if you don’t know, because they will explain it better than i, and they have pictures.
    nevermind that animals are dying because of they plastic they are eating.
    nevermind that plastic is now at the bottom of this food chain that we are on top of.
    plastic is forever.
    forever and ever and ever.
    one day when we destroy all of this beauty, it will just be plastic and diamonds, straight chillin.
    even “biodegradable” plastic doesn’t go anywhere. it just gets broken down into the tiniest of polymers that get ingested by the tiniest of creatures. plastic is not food. it makes animals sick, it makes them die, it makes them change their gender. what the fuck son.

    all the plastic that has ever been created is still on this earth.

    digest that.

    now i’m all riled up and off-topic, so i will just leave you with a link to this great blog called plastic is forever. it’s these two women who are on a “plastic diet,” basically trying to cut out as much plastic as possible. feed your mind.

    help meee.

    Thursday, October 2, 2008

    No more nail polish.

    I gave up getting my toenails polished back in June. It has taken them that long to recover from all the damage incurred from years of nail polish, but today I looked at my toe nails and thought "Wow, my toenails look great, even without nail polish." The truth is they look healthy.
    I heard there is latex in many types of nail polish (it is my understanding synthetic latex is a type of plastic-y substance) and of course the top of the nail polish bottle is plastic. So nail polish needed to go. I loved getting my toenails done, and I have had them done once without the polish (not the same). But this luxury had to go out the door with some of those other plastic luxuries. Really it wasn't too hard a thing for me to give up. What really amazes me though is when I look around a room of sandaled feet and see I am the only women in the room without shiny painted toenails (okay this is LA maybe in other places I wouldn't be the ONLY one). What is amazing to think about is how 'getting your nails done' has become so common in such a short period of time/history, and yet how unnecessary it really is. It is this way with a lot of plastic related items I think.