Friday, June 26, 2009

National Oceans Month comes to an end

June is National Oceans Month and the month is coming to an end. What have you and I (we, all of us) done this month to make our oceans a better place? What more could we have done and can we still do? Here is a video reminder from the Algalita Marina as to why we should all do something about our plastic consumption to help our oceans.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Take action against toxic plastics

Reducing all plastic just isn't feasible in the world we live in today (as much as I wish it could be). So, as a first step getting rid of toxins like dioxin and phthalates/DEHP in commonly used (medical related) plastics that affect children (and adults) is a big first step-a very necessary important step!

Check out the discussion about this at Health Care Without Harm and take action by supporting the petition.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

no impact man

hi all,
sorry i've been quiet on this end!!

just wanted to share about a screening of No Impact Man in williamsburg tomorrow night.

do you all know about no impact man? check it oot.


Monday, June 1, 2009

Pictures: A year's worth of plastic waste.

Here are the pictures of all the waste plastic I accumulated over the last year.

First I needed to unpack my collection...

Aerial view of one year's worth of plastic waste (446 pieces)!

All the the hard molded plastic waste...most pieces don't have numbered recycle symbols.

Long thin bags I don't remember what they were from, but there sure are a bunch of them.

Milk caps, shrink wrap seals and cheese related plastic. A very colorful array of plastic.

The largest single piece of plastic in my collection-plastic wrap my new mattress came in.

One of the smallest pieces of plastic in my collection-clothing tag thingy.

Okay, that's it. Now everything back in the big plastic tupperware container where my plastic waste is most at home.

Sunday, May 31, 2009


So here we are, Kerry and I decided to start reducing and tracking our plastic consumption (trials, tribulations and discoveries) a year ago tomorrow! Throughout the year I have been reducing my plastic consumption as much as possible with the goal of not using more than one piece of disposal plastic a day! Along the way I have been holding on to all the plastic I have consumed/wasted, inherited and been given. So, here is what I ended up with after being very conscious of my plastic related consumption for one year. I have counted it all up and I have 446 different pieces of plastic. That is more than one piece a day on aggregate :(. It comes out to be 1.2 pieces a day. Not bad, but not exactly what I was shooting for. Also, I think it is fair to say I have not been able to hold on to every last piece of plastic waste I have created this year so my estimate is that that my actual consumption is somewhere between 5-10% more than 446 pieces (+ 23-25 more pieces). Food related plastic accounted for a whopping 45% of my plastic waste! But I’m not that surprised about the food related plastic waste really. It has been the hardest to reduce on a daily basis. Not counted in my total is any disposable plastic that I owned prior to June 1, 2008, even if I consumed it in the last year. This is tally is of the disposable plastic (even if it is recyclable) that came in and went out of my life in one year’s time. I can’t even begin to imagine what it would be if I wasn’t consciously trying to reduce! As I looked through everything today, there were things that I thought "oops", "was not worth it" and "well worth it!" about, but I'll spare you my commentary below :)
Here is how I have broken down and categorized my plastic consumption...

Food related
Plastic caps from glass milk bottles-28
Individual wrappers for bags of tea-20
Cheese wrappers-18
Junk food wrappers (i.e chips, snack packs, protein bars)-15
Little hard candy wrappers (i.e., mints, etc.)-10
Candy wrappers-8
Styrofoam of some food related container type-8
Snack size candy wrappers-6
Bags of some unknown kind-6
Bags cereal comes in-6
Ice-cream sandwich wrappers-5
Plastic packaging from meat-5
Cookie related packaging-4
Yogurt containers-4
Frosting containers-2
Bags of turbinado raw sugar-2
Bags of local pistachios-2
Clear plastic clam shell for take-away food-2
Raw butter wrappers-2
6-pack ring-1
Tofu container-1
Completely unidentifiable/miscellaneous-5

All the rest
Completely miscellaneous clear thin plastic wrapping from products unknown-31
Hard formed plastic that products come in (i.e., LED light bulbs, etc.)-25
Plastic that shrink wraps around a bottle and it’s cap (i.e. on a bottle of salad dressing)-24
Miscellaneous plastic wrappers/bags from buying nails and other construction related things-21
Bags used in packaging of product (i.e. that say 'this is not a toy' on them)-19
Miscellaneous cellophane-18
Long thin plastic sleeves (I have no idea what they were from probably Ikea furniture related)-17
Little plastic T-shaped things that clip the price tag to clothing-13
Toiletry related wrappers/packaging (i.e. toilet paper wrapper, medicine)-13
Mailing envelops-12
Plastic wrap that some magazines/journals come in-12
Plastic sleeves some cards come in-9
Plastic packaging from buying curtains/curtain rods (for 5 windows)-9
Bamboo knitting needle plastic sleeves-6
Miscellaneous hard plastic bits/clips-6
Little hangers (maybe related to buying curtains?)-4
Itty-bitty ziploc bags that extra buttons come in on clothes-4
Bubble wrap-3
Printer cartridge related plastic (not the actual cartridge)-3
Plastic sleeves flowers come in-3
Membership cards-2
Oil change sticker for car windshield-2
Plastic that wrapped 3 rolls of paper towels together-1
Plastic that wrapped 4 sponges together-1
Highlighter pen-1
Mechanical pencil-1
Bracelet to enter Go Green Expo-1
Instant heat compress-1
Plastic bag that my new mattress came in-1


So, the next question is… Is it over? And the answer is of course NO. The best part of this year has been rubbing of my plastic reductionist lifestyle on friends and strangers! The plastic diet continues, once a plastic reductionist, always a plastic reductionist! How about the blog? The beauty of cyberspace is that the blog will always exist :). I will continue to post now and then as ecological, plastic reducing and plastic abusing things come on to my radar. Kerry and I started out with the hope of posting once a day and that of course dwindled over time. I have had the goal of posting once a week for the last few months and that may dwindle now too, but the plastic diet is never over!

Tomorrow I’ll post the pictures cataloging my year’s worth of plastic listed above!

Now the big question is...what to do with all these pieces of plastic? Recycle what can be recycled of course, but what to do with the rest... Anything bag-like I will reuses as a bag and anything bubble wrap or packaging related I will reuse for packaging. It is all the other stuff that is now (and always was) just plastic waste!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Sigg boxes!

Have you come across these yet? I just found them the other day in the store All Shades of Green in Silverlake, CA. As you may know, if you have been following this blog from the beginning, I'm a big fan of Sigg water bottles (of course I also have a lot of love for Klean Kanteen :). So these Sigg lunch/snack boxes were a very cool find in my opinion. I'm not sure how long they have been on the market, but this is the first I have seen of them. What I like...the box lid clips down on the sides for a nice seal, they come in two sizes and of course I like the great colors. On the downside they are a little pricey: $36-$32. I recently bought a pair of Lunchbots (the uno and the duo) and love these stainless steal containers, which cost about half the price of the Sigg boxes, but are smaller. As opposed to the Lunchbots, the Sigg boxes have a bit of rubber (not sure if it's synthetic or natural) to seal closed. All-in-all it is nice to see there are a number of these plastic free food container alternatives out there!

Monday, May 25, 2009

recycle and recover

Have you heard of Origins new recycling initiative...check it out.
They will take back any empty cosmetic tubes, bottles and jars (from any company!) and send everything to a central location where products will be recycled or used for energy recovery. What a great way to make the most of those plastic cosmetic products you have as you are phasing out your use of plastic all together!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

reducing the kitchen

Some pictures and thoughts of how I have reduced plastic in my kitchen this year:

I buy food from bulk bins at Whole Foods/food co-op/farmer's market and store it in jars. On the lower shelf is loose leaf tea in reusable and refillable tins.

I wash out ziploc and all other plastic food bags (i.e. from chips, candy, etc.) to use over and over and over and over again.

For the trash I use paper bags (small or large) acquired while shopping. I just say no to plastic bags.

I've acquired a number of non-plastic reusable containers for food and I reuse the glass jars my food comes in for containers too.

I use bar soap to clean the dishes and hope to find liquid soap from a bulk dispenser to refill that glass corn shaped soap dispenser. I use a Skoy cloth instead of a synthetic plastic sponge.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Bird Balls?

Ever heard of Bird Balls? Me neither! But I saw them (pictured above/below) the other day and had to find out more.The other day I wandered my way up into the beautiful Elysian Park (just minutes from Downtown LA). While driving around this huge park that has gorgeous vistas I stumbled upon the Elysian Reservoir. It caught my eye because the water didn't look like water, but I couldn't figure out what was up. The reservoir is fenced in and was pretty far away and I felt like my eyes were just not focusing well, but that water didn’t look like water. I was about to walk away when a security guard came by the fence. I asked him what was up with the water. He told me that the reservoir was covered in small (baseball-size) plastic balls! Oh, I thought, that’s what that looks like. Next questions, why? Apparently to protect the water (which is drinking water for Angelinos) from sunlight because when sunlight mixes with the bromide and chlorine in the water, the carcinogen bromate can form. Yikes! Hummm….but what about the toxic effects of hot plastic sitting in water for hours on end? Do they leach out chemicals? The security guard didn’t think so (very reassuring) and now I am worried. That means more research to do.At any rate that’s a lot of plastic! I’m not really sure what the alternative is to using hundreds of thousands (millions?) of plastic balls to keep this water drinkable, but there are likely to be consequences to the local ecosystem and maybe those of us who are drinking the water too. Is there a better alternative....? Oh plastic, you are just everywhere I turn!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

camp lantern: to be plastic or not to be plastic, that is the question

I am going camping this coming weekend and thinking of buying my own camp lantern. (I'll probably just borrow one from a friend again this trip, but in the near future I do need/want to purchase my own). So, I have been looking into my options.

There is the good old metal and glass option (which uses butane/kerosene/unleaded gas as fuel).

Then there is the modern plastic and CFL option.

I have borrowed a friend’s CFL lantern a few times recently and really liked it, but it's a whole lotta plastic for a plastic dieter to buy. Obviously the plastic reductionism in me says "No way" to the plastic CFL version, but having used one I must say it is very nice and it is by no means throw away plastic—I'd be using it for years and years and years. But there is something to be said for a good old fashion lantern—like my family used camping when I was growing up. I just remember it is tricky to light the mantle (the white part that glows) and I wonder how easy it will be to find butane or kerosene... You would think I have nothing to do with my time (which just isn't true) if I told you how much time I have spent debating which type of lantern to buy. I even had a 20-minute conversation with my mother about it the other day. We weighed the pros and cons, she did not offer to give me my parent’s lantern (which was what I was really hoping for :), and then I told her how I wanted a lantern that would pass my worst case scenario test, i.e. if all hell breaks loose from a natural disaster/nuclear meltdown I want a lantern that will get me through. Well, decidedly neither will get me that far without a working infrastructure, but the CFL one will go first if there is no electric grid for me to plug into to recharge. Although I would also need an infrastructure to find butane or other fuel. My mother's last words on the debate were “at least if something like that did happened you may be able to walk all the way across country [CA to VT] to get to us on one gallon of butane, just keep a gallon on hand for emergencies." Done. Glass and metal win out-yet again-over plastic and technology.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

LA river clean-up

I participated in the 20th Annual LA Gran Limpieza-Great LA River Cleanup this weekend and was appalled by the number of plastic...guess what?....straws(!) that I picked up. Plastic straw really are my nemesis! I didn’t expect so many straws. Of course I picked up a lot of plastic bags, food wrappers, some computer/electronic cords, a few barrettes, and other miscellaneous plastic and other trash, but I was really surprised by how many straws I picked up. I have had it in for straws since day one of this year of plastic reduction. I picked up more straws out of the river basin in two hours on Saturday than I have turned down in restaurants this whole year. I have become notorious for saying "No straw" when I am out to eat and this is the very reason why straws are the epitome of one-time use plastic waste. Ugh! After plastic bags straws would be the next plastic item I would like to see banned.

Of course plastic was consumed in this cleanup effort...plastic gloves for protection, plastic bags for collecting garbage, and they had water in plastic bottles of volunteers. I used the gloves and cleanup bag, but no plastic encased water for me.

It was nice to get out to the LA river and really see it up close. You may know the LA "river" as the great paved basin that it is portrayed in movies like Grease, Terminator 2, and many many others. It was nice to see it is not all concrete and trash. There is wildlife—plants, birds, insects, crawdads—and not all parts of the river are completely paved. Some parts of the river are down right pretty. The river certainly does need a good cleaning though, it is by no means sit-by-the-shore-for-a-picnic ready in most parts (and probably never will be). All in all I'm glad I was reminded that this river has a unique ecosystem that needs loving care stupid straws are.

Friday, May 8, 2009

reducing the bathroom

Before the plastic diet:

After the plastic diet:

I had the forethought to take this picture back in July 2008 of my plastic related toiletries in order to compare to (my then hopeful) reduction of these toiletries over the year.

So, here is what I have done...

Conditioner: I went from plastic encased to the LUSH condition bar. (That is the funny shaped soap like object in the 'after' picture.) The use of the conditioner bar did play into my decision to cut 14 inches off hair (it just didn't work with long hair!), but over all this change was not the worst sacrifice I have had to make.

Shampoo: I have not bought any all year! I had a backlog to go through for some reason. Now I am at the end of my shampoo supply and I'm looking into bar soap shampoos. Currently taking suggestions...

Face cleansers/scrubs/etc: I went from plastic encased face cleaning products to good old soap! I have opted for handmade and local options (I'm using a goat milk soap now :) and found them to be great and moisturizing. Goodbye foaming cleanser and scrubs forever.

Deodorant: In the winter I used baking soda and tea tree oil, in the summer this plastic free option just doesn't work in the SoCal heat. So I am back to normal old plastic encased deodorant, but my winter deodorant is completely plastic free :)

Toothpaste: I've been using Tom's of Maine for a while. It is one of the only brands where only the cap is the only plastic in the product-tube is recyclable metal!

Toothbrush: No change...any thoughts on non-plastic toothbrush options out there?

Floss: Since I use it so rarely :( I have yet to need any more since last year. But as far as I know all types come in plastic...

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

lost plastic, found plastic

I am morning the loss of a pair of earbuds today. The left side stopped working awhile ago, but the right side bit it today. Now this piece of plastic and metal is completely useless and non-recyclable, sigh. But while out for a run with my earbuds today, during which they met their final demise, I found a cool piece of plastic! It was kind of a full circle moment—one piece of plastic in my life bites the dust another piece of plastic finds it’s way to me. I found this body of a plastic…baby doll? It's a very weird body shape for a baby doll in my opinion. It is definitely not the Barbie-style body shape of many plastic dolls. I think it is this uniquely lovely body shape that caught my eye and led me to pick it up off the street, bring it home, and make it mine. A new piece of modern art(!)—it looks good on the bookshelf. It is completely useless, but it intrigues me, which is more than I can say for my useless earbuds. The earbuds will not get to live a life of glory as modern art on my bookshelf, into the draw (a.k.a. person landfill) for you.

Friday, May 1, 2009

The 11th month

There is month left of Kerry and my "official" year long plastic diet.
I will need to start cataloging my plastic consumption soon, as I have kept most of what I have consumed.
I also was able to see the movie Addicted to Plastic, which I wrote about last week, and found it to be a nice reminder of why the plastic diet is not just a year long adventure but has become a way of life.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Addicted to Plastic

Have you heard of the movie Addicted to Plastic: The Rise and Demise of a Modern Miracle?

Check out this movie trailer:

It looks great! I'd love to see it. Fake Plastic Fish recently reviewed it as well. It is not available (yet) through Netflix (or my local movie rental shop) so for me seeing it means buying it...which involves buying/consuming PLASTIC! So, I guess I'll wait even though it looks great.

BUT for those of you with a TV and cable it will be playing on the Sundance Channel on April 28, 2009, at 10PM (according to the film's website) and at some upcoming film festivals. Check out the movie's website for more info:

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Happy Earth Day!

Happy earth day fellow plastic reductionists. For some this is a day, for others it's a way of life. I think the earth is particularly thankful for the other way-of-lifers out there!

Monday, April 20, 2009

plastic gloves

I'm sure it's no surprise that I am not a fan of plastic gloves, which are the epitome of one time use plastic. They are not just used in medicine any more either…they are at the bakery, schools, etc. I was visiting a kindergarten classroom last week and watched as the teacher lined all the kids up to wash their hands for snack. Then the teacher washed her own hands and then she put on plastic gloves to reach into a plastic barrel of pretzels to hand kids their snack. The teacher had just washed her hands…isn't antibacterial soap in a plastic dispenser and city water good enough any more? Apparently not.

Well, it just so happens that I started reading the book Why Dirt is Good: 5 Ways to Make Germs Your Friends this weekend and I am more convinced than ever that plastic gloves are far from necessary and down right gratuitous! We need to be exposed to dirt, germs, and ick to keep out immune systems working (the immune system needs and wants exercise!). So, unless you are being exposed to unfamiliar bodily fluids stop using those plastic gloves and start letting your immune system have some fun for a change :) It will make you healthier in the end. My favorite quote from the book so far: "Let them eat dirt."

Sunday, April 12, 2009

making my own cleaning products

I recently bought the book Better Basics for the Home: Simple Solutions for Less Toxic Living by Annie Berthold, which comes highly recommended by many. I bought it so I could start making more of my own home cleaning supplies and stop buying commercial cleaning supplies packaged in plastic. The major impetus for the purchase is that I am running out of the Mrs. Meyer's all purpose cleaner, which I bought about six months ago for moping the floors and cleaning my car. The Better Basic's book is chalked full of great cleaning recipes(!), but I was a little saddened by this one:

Basic Floor Cleaner Formula
1/4 cup liquid soap or detergent
Up to 1/2 cup white distilled vinegar or lemon juice
2 gallons warm water

It calls for liquid soap...which I have only be able to buy in plastic. I wish I knew of a co-op where I could refill my preexisting containers with bulk liquid soap, but I have not found on. This is LA there must be a co-op that carries liquid soaps, shampoo/conditioner somewhere, but where? I'm thinking I could use power soap (i.e. laundry or dishwasher) instead of liquid soap, I guess it is worth a try. Any other thoughts/suggestions?

Saturday, April 11, 2009

buying milk

Are there any city dwellers out there who are able to purchase milk without also purchasing plastic?

My rural dwelling parents and older brother's family are able to get milk directly from farmers that they know in reusable Ball Jars (no plastic at all!), but I am not so lucky. I buy milk in glass bottles, but the bottles all come with plastic lids. I have a growing collection of plastic milk bottle lids and pull tabs. I'm just wondering if anyone (without a farmer-direct connection) has found a way around this....

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

BPA and plastic-some victories

Bisphenol A or BPA is a toxic chemical found in a lot of plastics. I have found it is most outrageous to people that this chemical is in a lot of childhood toys, teethers, and baby bottles. But I don't think the outrage should stop there. We should all be outraged about BPA in all plastics and the cumulative effect the chemical will have on our bodies over time.

On the eliminating-BPA-front, there has been some good news lately. This is a nice short article that talks about some of the legislative victories and proposals related to banning BPA.

This news makes me particularly happy...

"The true pièce de résistance is the federal legislation recently introduced into Congress, the Ban Poisonous Additives Act of 2009 which would end the use of the additive in all plastic packaging and other food containers, not just those used by children.

The Ban Poisonous Additives Act of 2009 requires that:

  • Reusable beverage containers (including baby bottles and thermoses) that contain BPA cannot be sold;
  • Other food and beverage containers (such as canned food or formula) containing BPA cannot be introduced into commerce.
  • If a manufacturer can show that there is no technology available to make a particular food or beverage without the use of BPA, the FDA can issue renewable one-year waivers to the ban for that particular food or beverage. However, the food or beverage container must be labeled indicating that BPA was used. The manufacturer also must submit a proposal for how it plans to comply with the ban in the future.

  • The FDA also must periodically review the list of substances that have been deemed safe for manufacturing food and beverage containers, to determine whether new scientific evidence exists that these substances may pose adverse health risks.

My thoughts on BPA in plastic can be summed up this way: First step, get chemicals out of plastic. Second step, get plastic out of plastic (or get plastic out of our lives). Actually, those steps could be reversed and I'd be just as happy :)

Saturday, April 4, 2009

you have got to be kidding me!

At work the other day I found the printer out of paper. No problem, even I can solve this printer paper dilemma without having a plastic emergency, right? Apparently not. Off I went to the work room and ta-da I found Recycled Husky Xerocopy Paper in abundance. This paper's positive environmental characteristics include: SFI Fiber Sourcing Certified, paper contains 30% recycled fiber, and it is manufactured under alkaline (acid-free) conditions. I was unwrapping the ream of paper on my way back to the printer and stopped dead in my tracks. The ream of 30% recycled paper looked to be wrapped in just another piece of recycled paper but NO. It was wrapped in a piece of paper coated with polyethylene! Plasticy smooth on one side and papery smooth on the other side. Yes, polyethylene is a kind of plastic. This is what Wikipedia has to say about polyethylene's negative environmental characteristics: "The wide use of polyethylene makes it an important environmental issue. Though it can be recycled, most of the commercial polyethylene ends up in landfills and in the oceans (notably the Great Pacific Garbage Patch). Polyethylene is not considered biodegradable, as it takes several centuries until it is efficiently degraded."

Why? Why I ask you is polyethylene needed to protect this ream of paper? A ream of paper that is touting environmental consciousness at that. The polyethylene coating on the copy paper wrapper is so unnecessary. So unnecessary and so wrong. Polyethylene coatings are on so many cups, milk cartons, ice cream containers, postcards...mostly everything that looks like paper that you put liquid in and doesn't leak. Enough already. We do not need to plasticify everything! Grrrr.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

more on electrolyzed water

Yes, I am still amazed by the miracles of electrolyzed water and how wonderfully non-toxic and plastic reductionist this 'miracle water' is.
Check out this great article on electrolyzed water by the Organic Consumers Association:
Are there any negatives to this? I don't see any! Let the revolution begin.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

running green

Erin and I are running the Big Sur Marathon on April 26!

We both ran 20 miles this weekend, on our respective coasts. I ran over the Manhattan bridge at least 4 times, I lost track after awhile.

Anyway, just got a newsletter from Big Sur and this is what they say:

Going Green
The Big Sur Marathon is fully committed to supporting sustainable practices not just during race weekend, but throughout the year. We have implemented race day recycling both on the course and at the finish, along with recyclable bib numbers, our BYOB program, PickUp Pal ridesharing service and 97% online paperless registration. In the course of the next few years we hope to be a fully "green" event.

This all sounds good but I'm curious about cups. Are they using throwaway cups? Because I drink at every water station and that seems like a waste. Erin, should we write them to ask?


...okay not yet, but just in case of emergency, you should be prepared! Do you have an emergency pack/kit? If you do chances are there is plastic in it. Plastic is sadly inevitable in the emergency preparedness arena. I made an emergency pack about two years ago after attending a workshop on working with disaster victims. I was sufficiently scared about impending doom and insuring mayhem that I went home and put something together (over about a period of a month-I guess I wasn't that scared).

I was reminded recently that the emergency food in my emergency backpack has expiration dates. So, I fished the pack out of the trunk of my car and found that all the power bars I had put in there two years ago are in fact one year past due. (Of course I’ll still eat them now, but they are no longer 'emergency ready' because they might make me sick and I don't want to be sick in an emergency.) I have bought 5 more power bars (in plastic wrappers of course!) as replacements. I figure the two year old beef jerky and fruit leather can probably make it another year. They are sealed in plastic after all they should last forever!

In my rekindled emergency preparedness flurry I have decided to add a few more things that I can't believe weren't in my pack before! I can say happily most of these new additions are decidedly not plastic. In case you want to make your own in-case-of-nuclear-meltdown-and-major-earthquake-bag I suggest these basics: some light non-perishable food (power bars, beef jerky, fruit leather, etc. enough for 2-3 days), a couple of bottles of water (I know, but in a pinch you will be glad you invested in that plastic encased water), a change of clothes and good pair of walking shoes (you may have to walk a long way if mayhem breaks out-so sneakers will be nice to have), sunscreen (plastic again), basic toiletries + toilet paper, and a pocket knife. Okay, so here are my new additions: rubber band for hair, deodorant stone, two sets of bamboo utensils (so I can share one set with someone who forgets utensils-someone is gonna forget utensils), two face masks (like for painting, which will also be helpful in trying to breath in smoke or around toxic particles), matches, paper and a pen...okay here is where I went a little MacGyver for no apparent reason...9 rubber bands, 5 paperclips, and a bunch of popsicle sticks (all non-plastic!). Who knows these 'essentials' might come in handy. I'll probably be kicking myself about not making it 10 rubber bands.

Now you all should go get something together, just in case. Try to use as little plastic as possible-it's a challenge!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

eco-friendly cleaning products

One area in my plastic-less life that I haven't looked at too closely is household cleaning products. I think that's because they last a long time, so I don't buy new ones too often.

But last month I had the chance to meet with someone from Shaklee. Shaklee is cool because they're one of the first companies to offset CO2 emissions and really take a stand for sustainable business practices. They use natural ingredients and make biodegradable household cleaners.

We talked about my aversion to plastic, and she let me try Basic H2 Super Cleaning Concentrate. It's all purpose, which I love. And it's super concentrated, which is even better. (16 oz makes 48 GALLONS of cleaner). I feel good about finding a cleaner that's biodegradable, and that uses a lot less plastic since it's so concentrated. And it makes a lot of sense to use stuff on your stove and countertops that isn't toxic.

On a separate note, I also tried some Shaklee skin care products which were amazing!

Friday, March 27, 2009

where does plastic reduction fit in...

There has been a lot of buzz in the organic/local/sustainable food world lately about the new White House vegetable garden. Victory cries reverberate from Food Democracy Now and Slow Food followers alike. In fact this kind of food (the organic/sustainable/local kind, a.k.a. my kind) is getting more and more mainstream.

This is a great article about just this topic from the NY Times:

You may or may not know this but I'm about as crazy about local/sustainable/fair food (a.k.a. Slow Food) as I am about reducing plastic. These causes are both about a better environment, so they go hand in hand, right? Well, I am becoming more and more impatient about the lack of concern from organic and sustainable food manufacturers and consumers about the non-organic non-sustainable nature of the plastic packaging that most of this food is sold in. It makes no sense to me. Why care so much about growing great environmentally conscious food and care so little about what it is packaged in?

Take this quote from the NY Times article I linked to above. “This has never been just about business,” said Gary Hirshberg, chief executive of Stonyfield Farm, the maker of organic yogurt. “We are here to change the world. We dreamt for decades of having this moment.” Hummmm...Mr. Hirshberg your entire yogurt line is sold in plastic! Is the Great Pacific Gyre’s impact on the marine ecosystem the kind of change you have been dreaming about for decades? I have found individual cups of yogurt sold in glass (Spega) at a national food chain (Whole Foods)—so I know it can be done. If Stonyfield Farm yogurt dumped the plastic, I would know ‘it’s not just about business’ and that would be a movement I could really get behind!

Saturday, March 21, 2009


I wish I wasn't filled with so much angst over my recent purchase of an external hard drive....BUT it is made of plastic and came in plastic packaging (2 pieces and tape)! Maybe I should have looked for a used external hard drive on craigslist (why am I just thinking of this now? is that a good idea buying a used hard drive?). I'm not very technologically savvy (read: I had my younger brother buy the external hard drive for me because I didn't know where to start and he had to show me how to use it) but I have begun to feel it is completely reckless of me to not back up all my digital pictures, i-tunes library, and dissertation work. So, I took the plunge. Now I am trying to justify my decision in my head and I have a real negative bias against spending unnecessary time and energy justifying decisions that have already been made...this is where the angst comes in. Technology and the plastic diet seem to bump heads a lot.

Thursday, March 19, 2009


What to hear some irony? The Los Angels Department of Water and Power spent $70,000 on bottled water last year. Yes, you heard that right LA's water department is buying bottled water for employees to drink. Keep in mind Los Angeles is touted for having some of the best tap water anywhere. (Debatable I know, but statistically it is very clean.) Granted we steal our water from Colorado and Northern California, but all the same it is good water and our Department of Water and Power is buying bottled water! In plastic bottles! Our mayor Villaraigosa tried to put his foot down on this expense after his first election, but it’s still happening. Less money has been spent each year, for the last four years, but still $70,000 last year is a lot of money. Well, in walks 'The Great American Economic Crisis' and now the foot is really going down. No more water encased in wasteful plastic for you Department of Water and Power—it costs too much!

The economy has had the same effect on my university's bottled water buying proclivity. I was recently at a meeting where we were told there is no more bottled water for lunch meetings due to budget cuts. Apparently, the presentation I gave a the monthly faculty meeting back in October about reducing, reusing, recycling and ecological stewardship was not as effective as the “presentation” the economy is currently giving the budget office. Either way I am happy...I guess. If economic destruction is the only way for people to start reducing their unnecessary plastic consumption I’ll take it…although I think we could have made these practical change just as easy without the whole economic crisis thing.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Reduce toxic plastics in the home

Have you checked out the website?
I love it. I also love their book Healthy Child Healthy World: Creating a Cleaner, Greener, and Safer Home.

This nonprofit is committed to a healthier world for us all...and that means less plastic!

They have a new new Health eHome interactive guide that I highly recommend checking out. Many of the tips for the kitchen are about the toxic effects of plastic and why people should reduce their plastic use. Also, they have great 'Pocket Guides' that discuss the dangers of plastic and talk about alternative choices. My favorite pocket guides are: Healthier Teether & Pacifier, Healthy Toys, and Safer Plastics!

The main reason I love this organization is that it is about helping people make changes for the better based on sound information. It is not all doom and gloom, which leaves people overwhelmed and discouraged-they have tips and solutions!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

L'Occitane Deodorant Stone

I bought the deodorant stone from L'Occitane!  

So far, so good! 

No aluminum, no plastic. 

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Imagine a world where the electrolyzer is king.

I heard about the Electrolyzer cleaning system this weekend and my mind went wild with the possibilities of how this electrified salt/water solution could reduce the use of plastic and chemicals in the world!

Never heard about electrolyzed water as a cleaning agent before (I hadn’t either before Sunday). Check out this website:

This is how it works…“A diluted salt water solution is passed through an electrical field and two separation membranes. This process generates two separate outputs simultaneously. The first is alkaline water with a pH of approximately 11.3. The alkaline water is used as a cleaner and degreaser. The second is electrolyzed acid water with an approximate pH of 2.7. The acidic water, containing 30 ppm hypochlorous acid (HOCI), has an extremely powerful bactericidal/viricidal effect. No special storage, handling, protective clothing, or environmental controls are required. No tainting or residues are left behind after use.” And you can just go and refill a cleaning/spray bottle from the electrolyzer system whenever you need more! Plus, it is nontoxic. Using this means no more buying, using, and recycling (or trashing) plastic containers for cleaning!! Well, it’s not that easy of course...the system costs thousands of dollars (but not tens of thousand mind you) and it is only commercially available. I heard about it because the show ‘Off Ramp’ did a story on the Sheraton Hotel chain piloting the use of the Electrolyzer system in their Delfina hotel in Santa Monica, CA. Apparently Sheraton will be rolling this new cleaning tool out in all their hotels soon! (That’s a lot of plastic reduction right there–thanx Sheraton.) But all I can think about is a community electrolyzer fill station in every town (or every natural food store) where people go to fill-up/refill when they need to clean the house. The plastic waste reduction and chemical exposure reduction possibilities have me swooning.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Back to nature.

Plastic-free camping isn't that hard. It's camping after all, the whole point is to get back to nature, it's an activity that has plastic-free written all over it!

I was up in the Los Padres Forest outside of LA this weekend and it was cold at night! My polyester sleeping bag was so polyestery and scratchy. (It made me realize I don’t appreciated my organic cotton sheets enough.) I remember as a kid everyone in my family had matching brown cotton sleeping bags. They had a pattern of flying ducks on the inside, cold metal zippers, and the cotton stuffing bunched up around the seams as they got older and worn. They smelled mildewy the last time I thought of using one in college and I think they met their demise soon after that. So there is no going back to the sleeping bag of my youth. I wonder how hard it would be to find a cotton or all-natural sleeping bag these days and would it be warm enough? This is the best option I could find on a quick search just now: It doesn't look that warm. It was in the 30's last night in the foothills. Some how I don't think this one would keep me warm enough (the bag I actually had wasn’t warm enough either so I guess I shouldn't be too picky). I'll keep looking for something...better...hopefully...

On another note I did make my own marshmallows for roasting so as to avoid buying marshmallows bought in plastic. My homemade ones roasted up lovely! Homemade marshmallows are surprisingly easy to make and always a hit. There was a time (a long long time ago when I had more time) when I actually made my own graham crackers too! This weekend I let someone else take care of getting the graham crackers and I didn't partake...all I care about it the roasted marshmallow anyway. Do you remember when graham crackers came wrapped in brown wax paper not clear plastic...when did that change?

All in all camping is very compatible with a plastic-less lifestyle and I highly recommend it :)

Friday, March 6, 2009

That's so annoying!

I dropped some sweaters off at the dry cleaners today. I go to a place that is more expensive than another that I (used to) like but this place respects my wish to have no plastic sleeve put on my clothes. The other place wouldn't stop using the plastic sleeve no matter how I pleaded. Why? I pleaded, it doesn’t harm you…dust doesn't bother me I live in this great big dirty world and dust is the least of my worries...
Anyway, my plastic-reductionist-friendly dry cleaner is hilarious (so I do factor the entertainment value into the price). Going there always involves a 15-20 minute conversation about his other customers and unsolicited advice for my love life. Believe it or not one of his other customers is a secret agent and he can prove this because she always brings in clothes with weird holes in them. I know hard to believe, but can’t argue with that kind of evidence can you? My dry cleaner knows me even though I have tried to cut down on my dry cleaning needs (nasty chemicals and all) but just in case he has forgotten me since last time, every time I bring something in I say, "Oh and no plastic remember (smile)." So, today he says to me in his lovely stilted ESL, "It so funny some people want no plastic (wait there are others like me?) and some want too much plastic, one plastic on each piece." He proceeded to show me someone’s dry cleaning order that had individual plastic sleeves put over each shirt! Of course my reply to this was, "Oh that is so annoying!" And then my dry cleaner man says, "I know and he is man! It would be better if it was women who said please, can you please put plastic on each just for me. No this is man who is worried about dust. So annoying!" I laughed a little inside at my dear dry cleaner's old world views of masculinity and femininity. To him this guy who wants each shirt individually covered in plastic has let all other men down for making such a sissy request. To me he has just let down all mankind. Either way he (and others like him) are letting us all down.

P.S. Some plastic-free camping (other than the tent of course) is on tap for the weekend-I don't think it should be too hard to pull off.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Lunch time!

When it comes to packing/bringing your own lunch there are so many great plastic-free options! Yeay!

These are the three I usually choose from:

Ball jars, Pyrex with top (okay the top is plastic), and stainless steal To-Go Ware lunch box. Also, I love my reusable Happy-sacks which aren’t pictured.

Beth of Fake Plastic Fish recently reviewed a new stainless steal option — Lunchbots. Have you seen these? They are very cool! They are a stainless steal replacement to plastic tupperware. I will probably end up getting some Lunchbots sometime soon, but thinking about buying them made me realize I really do gravitate more toward glass than stainless steal for my food storage. I like stainless steal—a lot—but glass really serves my food storage needs better. Especially when it comes to packing my lunch, which I usually do in glass because I eat leftovers that needs reheating. Heating in stainless steal with the microwave at work is not an option.

I love that there are so many plastic free food storage/packing options out there. I wish more people took advantage of them! (No more onetime use plastic at lunchtime people—please.) My desire for less plastic at the lunch table was especially poignant today when I was in a working lunch meeting. All but one of the other eight people with me ordered take-out Thai food and then ate their food out of the styrofoam boxes the food was delivered in (ick!) and then threw out the styrofoam!

What do you readers out there prefer glass or stainless steal or some other miracle non-plastic option I have yet to discover?

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Where are we at?

Where are we at?....we're still here! If you have been following our blog for a while now you know that over time Kerry and I have let more and more time go between posts...a whole week this time! Don't worry we didn't get sucked into the Great Pacific (Garbage Patch) Gyre...though it is not out of the question.

I thought I'd reflect on our posting (or lack there of) a little today and talk about where we are at. It has been 9 months* of the plastic diet (!) and plastic reduction has become a way of life for Kerry and I. It has become everyday, normal operating procedure, status quo, etc. This is a good thing! We don't have quite as many questions and maybe a few less plastic related frustrations (this is debatable). I think this has reflected on our posting habits. Reducing plastic is less of burden and is less unknown now. So, there is less to report...but there is always something to fact the other day I was asked by my mother, "Do you think you will still keep this up after the year is up?" My automatic response was "YES, of course". It would be hard (near to impossible) to all of a sudden one day (June 1st, 2009-but who's keeping track?) stop caring about reducing my plastic consumption…stop caring about the impact of plastic…stop wanting to make this world a better place—just because our one year project is "over". I think this is especially true because I have always been an environmentalist. What I (and others around me) have learned in the last 9 months is how strongly I care about being a steward of change for the environment. I mean really this is the only planet we have, it is AMAZING, and I kind of like it here :) Reducing my plastic use is just one thing I (and you can) do to be more responsible and I am sure I will keep up my efforts as long as there is plastic (a.k.a. forever). I have wonder if I will be as committed (dare I say militant) about not consuming plastic after June 1st 2009. I really find it hard to believe that I will stop questioning my choices, purchases, and decisions just as much as I do now. Just like they say about any diet…diets don't work you have to change your lifestyle—and I have changed my lifestyle! So, I guess in June I will no longer be on the plastic diet I will just be living the plastic-less lifestyle :)

* We are full-term! We have been gestating in the plastic-diet-womb for 9 months now. We are ready for life in a plastic-less world!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

recycled, reusable and non-plastic produce bags!

Check these out...they are great reusable "baguettes" for buying/storing your fruits and veggies.
They are made from old tee-shirts, cloth mesh, and have a drawstring top!

I got one that I love to use from Anna Cummins (of JunkRaft/JunkRide fame) at the LA Go Green Expo. Now you can get one too! They are available for sale at the bring your own website shop!
Check it out: and remember to BRING YOUR OWN :)

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

canal plastics center

i have to go here tomorrow to pick something up for work!
it's a plastic dieters worst nightmare!

also something kind of comical happened today. i had to pick up a sign from kinkos and it was wintry-mixing outside.. snow and rain.. and i was on the phone with erin aka plasticfreela and she HEARD me ask the guy at kinkos for a plastic bag! i was so mortified but i couldn't let the sign get ruined!

Friday, February 13, 2009

dish soap

I need to find a new soap for washing dishes (by hand) that comes in a bar...any suggestions?

I'm getting near the end of my environmentally friendly liquid dish soap that comes in a plastic bottle and I would like to find something even more environmentally friendly by eliminating the plastic bottle. I like a lot of suds/bubbles when I'm washing dishes, because it makes me feel like the soap is working, but if that's not possible in bar soap form (I guess I assume it is not available) I can live.

If you have a good bar soap source for dish washing let me know!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009


I've been doing boot camp and marathon training and thus eating more protein.

So I've started eating yogurt every day for breakfast.

Convenient for me, not so much for the environment.

Not only is the yogurt pre-made but it's portion-controlled and I know exactly how much protein I'm getting.

I know that Erin makes yogurt.. I've made yogurt once before but don't know about doing it on a daily basis.

I'd love to hear your thoughts!


mushrooms are temporary, plastic is forever

I went on a mushroom foray this weekend and learned much, but most importantly I learned don't eat just any mushroom and second most importantly I learned that (like most other living things) mushrooms don't like plastic! If you store mushrooms in plastic they will not be able to breath (just like if you were to store humans in plastic) they will sweat (like humans) and then decay and turn mushy (you know where I am going with this). I had noticed that the mushroom sellers at the framer's market are the only people who use paper bags—now I know why—it's not just that we are kindred spirits :)

If you buy loose mushrooms the best way to store them is in the refrigerator in a paper bag or folded in an envelop of wax paper or place them in a glass container and cover it with a dish towel or moist paper towel—no plastic wrap or plastic bags please!

So, why is it that you can find mushrooms sold in plastic wrap at the grocery store—probably because you shouldn't buy mushrooms at the grocery store—or maybe the mushrooms are sealed with nitrogen (or some gas other than oxygen) to keep them looking fresh...either way go natural! Join your local Mycological Association and learn to find your own mushrooms (if I can do it in LA you can do it anywhere) or grow your own While Button or Portabellas (sadly this option involves plastic).

The take away here, at any rate, is that mushrooms can be added to the ever growing list of living things that DON'T LIKE PLASTIC!

Friday, February 6, 2009

These are the only kind of mailing envelops that should be on the market!
(Are you listening Amazon? You who ships books to people in plastic.)

Look how great they are...

  • Double reinforced corners offer superior edge protection (okay)
  • Cushioned with recycled newsprint (sure)
  • Self-sealing (nice)
  • Plastic free! (WOW)
Sustainable Attributes:
  • Made from renewable resources (yes)
  • 90% total recycled content, 50% post-consumer (awesome)
  • Exceeds CPG guidelines (great)
  • Recyclable with mixed papers (perfect or it could be composted)
Viva CareMail mail packaging products! These envelops are soooooo much better than the plastic, bubble plastic, and plastic-paper hybrid mailers on the market—that can't even be recycled. Just goes to show if you look around enough you will find a better option, and by better I mean plastic-free. Happy mailing :)

Thursday, February 5, 2009

making a difference! new year of the trees

wanted to share this very cool newsletter article i just received. you can check out the whole newsletter online here.

Dearest reader

A lot is happening on planet earth. On one hand it seems like we humans continue to bite the life out of mother earth. On the other hand, awareness to natural health and ecology is constantly on the rise.

Three years ago I wrote in this very newsletter about a ceremony I was invited to lead at an orthodox synagogue for Tu B'shvat - New Year of the Trees. I deliberately didn't write how disappointed I felt after seeing all the disposable plastic plates, cups, and utensils that were used during the event. I decided to focus on the bright side - that the participants were open to learn about the advantage of whole foods over processed foods. One step at a time.

Last year I participated in a different New Year of the Trees, that took place outside of the USA. This time, in addition to the plastic plates, cups, and utensils, sodas and artificial snacks dominated the tables. Since it was a charity event, I didn't want to be a party pooper and kept my mouth shut.

Recently I received an invite for this year's event. This time I decide to write to the organizers. I began by thanking them for organizing these important charity events. Then I added that I find it contradicting that a celebration for the trees, for nature, turns into an ecological disaster with plastic plates and junk food.

To my surprise the organizers wrote back to me, asking how they can handle the situation differently. We had a meeting in which I presented them with various options like serving finger food - mainly fruits and nuts which are the traditional foods of this holiday and for which there is no need at all for plates and utensils. To use biodegradable cups (made from plants like corn and sugarcane instead of oil). To put a marker next to the cups so people can write their names on the cup and re-use it during the event. To avoid sodas and processed snacks and instead to serve water, natural juices, fruits, and nuts.

The organizers were so excited from these suggestions that they asked me to make a presentation during the event itself on how New Year of the Trees is related to our commitment to the ecology and what we humans can do to help.

On a personal note, not only that I'm happy to be sharing this information with a large audience of adults and kids, but also I'm happy to attend an event that I will feel comfortable at.

On a similar note, in this month's newsletter, I'm introducing a new company that I've joined - Elements for Life. In addition to the focus on financial profit, this company is also committed to human health and the environment, not only on a philosophical level, but also in a very practical way. You're invited to visit their website, which has a lot of information, so take your time to read the information.

In April we're headed to a special journey in Israel. You're invited to join us. See the details in this newsletter.

To a greener, healthier, peaceful world,

Zohar Zemach Wilson
Founder & Director
Alok Holistic Health

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Plant lovin

My plants need a little lovin. I am by no means a green thumb but I have begun to suspect that my plants can't live by water alone—they need nutrients too! So I have had a mission to find plant food that doesn’t come in plastic packaging. Plant food does exist in this form in paperboard boxes, in plentiful amounts actually, like in this picture:

But it does not exist in plentiful (or even pitiful) amounts for indoor least not what I could find. I was so excited to find plant food in paperboard boxes and so sad to find out it is not “formulated” for indoor plants. The outdoor formulas, I was told, could kill my indoor plants :( I ended up buying this all-purpose indoor plant food variety (pictured here with my nutrient-needy Donkey Tail plant).

This one is concentrated so it will last a looong time (and it is #2 recyclable plastic), but mostly I was sold on the little eyedropper feature. I can see myself reusing this someday looong in the future for something else...after a very thorough washing out of course as plant food ≠ people food!
Does anyone know of a plastic-packaging-free alternative for plant food? It is a little too late for me this time but maybe not for others.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

8 months of plastic

February 1st will mark 8 months of Kerry and my plastic reductionist lifestyle!
This was our one rule in starting this adventure:
Limit/confine/reduce plastic intake to no more than one piece of plastic per day.
I decided to keep all the plastic I use/consume (even if it is recyclable) over the year. I wanted to see how much would accumulate. My dream is to find an artist to make something out of my plastic after the year is up! I would like something creative to come of my mass of plastic. On June 1st 2009 I will count all my plastic and see how close I have gotten to keeping my plastic consumption goal—no more than 365 pieces. But for now here is a picture of how much has accumulated...

I decided early on to keep my plastic in this tub, but the tub is getting full! I'm not sure what to do if it gets too full.... I'll cross that bridge when I come to it.
Note: There have been times it just wasn't possible to keep a piece of plastic that came into my life (i.e. I decided not to bring any plastic waste back from my month in Brazil) and there were a few times I have forgotten to bring a used piece of plastic home with me. So, I'd say I have kept (and pictured here) about 90-95% of the plastic that has come into my life since June.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

That ship has already sailed

Let me tell you about my 'that ship has already sailed' philosophy as it relates to the plastic diet. So, I go to great lengths in general to avoid plastic, i.e. making a cake from scratch to avoid the plastic-bag-encased-much-less-time-consuming store bought cake mix. (Of course, I have my weaknesses, i.e. local cheese that only comes in plastic, that I never seem to avoid even if I should.) For the most part though I try very hard to avoid plastic food packaging. This is because this is an area of plastic reduction that can make a big difference. In general we get a lot of plastic when we buy/consume food (take-out, eat-in, grocery store, farmer's market-you name it). There is a big exception to this avoidance though and that is when the food item is bought by someone else and offered to me—post purchase. In this case I live by the philosophy of 'that ship has already sailed'. By this I mean, I can't undo that plastic purchase, it is done, nothing I do can change it—so, I think ‘I might as well not be a martyr’ and I partake! I usually get really excited about the partaking too because the food item is generally something I no longer allow myself to buy and often something I miss, like crunchy carbs…yum crackers. I talked to Kerry about this plastic food loophole when I was in NYC with her a few weeks ago. We discussed the merit (or lack there of) of my justification working across the board. For example sometimes it might be the case that if I didn't partake, less would be consumed, then less would be bought in the future, and then less plastic would enter the system. I agree this is the case sometimes, but today while I partook of two wonderfully crunchy Mint Chocolate Pirouette cookies in the common room at work, I was happy for my 'ship has sailed' philosophy—even if it is a loophole :)

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

no bag! save a tree!

I bought shoes the other day
and told the guy that I didn't need a plastic bag.

He goes "no bag! save a tree!"

what? :)

maybe he meant save a tree from getting choked by plastic bags,
like this one:

Monday, January 26, 2009

Glass kicks a**

Check out this bumper sticker...who knew there were enough other glass lovers out there for such a thing to exist? The plastic diet has made me love glass. I was big fan of Ball jars for storing food before, but now I go a bit gaga for glass containers of all kinds. I even recently thought to look for vitamins in glass bottles. I ran out of my trusty children’s chewable vitamins a few months back (gotta love those Flintstone flavors:) and thought I would just give up vitamins (I eat pretty healthy so I figured I could handle it) but then-stroke of genius-I asked at Whole Foods if they sell any children’s chewable vitamins in glass bottles and low-and-behold one company (Country Life) does. Now I’m back on track with my daily supplements of Zinc, Selenium, d-Biotin and the like. Hooray for glass! Hooray for health! Next I will be sure to find Omega 3 Fish Oil sold in glass when I run out.


sorry i've been quiet!

i just had yogurt from a plastic container. will recycle.

and want to replace an empty bottle of mouthwash.. do we know of any plastic-free options?

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Go green LA!

Today I went to the Los Angeles Go Green Expo (arriving in NYC, Atlanta, and Philly later in the year). In deciding to go I was feeling both curious and a little skeptical because my cause is, of course, plastic reduction but the green movement doesn't always embody this cause. This is especially true when it comes to packaging. Often very ecofriendly and green products get packaged in very un-ecofriendly plastic. I find this frustrating, ironic, and sad :( But I wanted to see what this expo had to offer, learn, ask questions, and just be around other people who also care about bettering the environment.

Here are some pictures from the expo...

My first qualm...a plastic bracelet needed to get into the exhibit area! A greener option would have been a hand stamp (soy-based ink of course ;)!

The nonplastic swag I got or bought. I turned down anything from a booth if it was plastic-even if it was made from recycled plastic-and as I turned it down I said why I didn't want it. No plastic, please!

Oh rejoice! Disposable plates, take-out containers and more made from tapioca and bamboo fiber! Find out more at: Very cool!

Oooooh bamboo furniture! I want some :)

I still need to learn more about these biodegradable trash bags. They are biodegradable, but also plastic..."we use ecofriendly applications methods with proprietary plastic additives that are ASTM D6p54 compliant ....our plastic totally degrades in 2 years [and] leaves 0 harmful toxins behind". Plastic, yes. Biodegradable, yes? Confusing, yes...

Plastic grass! Ick. Yes, watering a lawn uses a lot of water, but there are other landscaping options that are not plastic grass.

Overall, it was a good experience. I would have liked to see less plastic but I was happy to see other like minded people and great products not made from plastic...oh I want one of those all natural mattresses that costs waaaaay too much money for me to even think was nice to get to try the mattress out though :)