Thursday, January 7, 2010

New Year...less plastic!

I haven't made a New Year's resolution for awhile now, but then today, a few things coincided to make me decide to make one (and by publicly stating it, I hope to keep it): use less plastic!

The first thing happened this morning: Chris had left open a few links concerning The Great Garbage Patch. If you're not familiar with it, it is a floating island, comprised mostly of plastic, hovering in the Pacific Ocean between Hawaii and San Francisco, in the Pacific Gyre (essentially a big swirl of currents, from what I gather). It is the size of Texas. TEXAS. Holy crap, that is disgusting. I watched a couple of you tube videos on it, shuddered a few times, and thought about becoming even more radical in my environmental fanaticism. Oh God, my family is really going to think I'm nuts now.

At the grocery store this morning, I was pissed with myself for having to use a produce bag. I don't use them for most produce...but brussels sprouts? Kinda necessary. When I got home, I went through my stash of plastic bags (separated into reuse or recycle) and dug out the produce bags. These went into my collection of reuseable shopping bags and will be going with me to be reused at the store, for future produce.

Then, I had in my email inbox a you tube video attached to a blog I regularly read. The video is about a woman and her family's quest to use as little plastic as possible in 2009, and the results. It's only 5 minutes, watch it and it will teach you something.

So--there it is. My resolution. I may even try to set aside the plastic I can't recycle, just to see how little I can do. Chris, you asked for it by leaving those pages up!

Things I have to do:
  • figure out better alternatives to ziploc baggies and saran wrap. I could use some good suggestions here, as these are my weak points. I'm probably better than most,'s hard. What do you do with the pack of raw meat that you need to split?
  • get Chris to regularly take our reusable bags to the grocery store (this is a hard habit to get into, and he does remember...sometimes). When he does forget them, get paper! We actually need some paper bags, b/c our wonderful friend Zeus has to have something for his waste to go into.
  • purchase as much as possible in recyclable or compostable packaging. ie- I did switch to Tom's of Maine toothpaste in 2009 (partly b/c of the no-fluoride option, partly b/c of the aluminum tube that I can recycle). Speaking of, I just need to make my own toothpaste.
  • guests will drink out of glasses! No more plastic water bottle packs (we only bought one of these last year, for convenience at birthday parties, and there are still bottles left).
  • figure out a way to get around the plastic garbage can liner. The woman in the video says that, since her family composts, they only have "dry waste", but what about meat waste? Maybe they're vegetarians. I may need to give bokashi composting a try...
  • no more cheap plastic toys!!!! Easier said than done when you have a family as enthusiastic about toy buying as mine. Things like Legos, I'm ok with b/c they last and can be sold when my kids outgrow them. Family, are you listening?
That's about all I can think of now...but I'll add more, and list any finds I may happen upon, or any brilliant ideas.

Oh, and again, family? Listening? B/c you're all reading my blog, right? For my birthday, I want prettier cloth shopping bags, cloth produce bags, glass food storage containers, stainless steel bento get the idea. I'm serious about this. Oh, a set of stainless steel or enameled cast iron pots and pans would be nice, too, but that's kinda off topic...:)



  1. Hey now, for the most part, if I go to the store and forget bags I don't use bags at all, I just take the shopping cart to the car and put everything in the trunk lose. The exception is when I'm not paying attention and the cashier already has half the stuff bagged by the time I notice. They get cranky when I then tell them I don't want bags, although I don't really understand why that is.
    As for the produce, when I remember, I've gone over to the mushrooms and grabbed one of the small brown paper bags instead of the plastic produce bags. But I got chastised by this old Hocake at Fred Meyer's for that, too. "You know these are for mushrooms?" "Eat it, Hocake!"
    But you got me stumped on the saran wrap and garbage bag issue. You'd think they'd make biodegradable or compostable trash bags.

  2. They do make biodegradable garbage bags. Azure has them, I actually bought some... but I always have a surplus of plastic bags because Eric doesn't like the re-usable ones. I'm going to have to show the video to Eric. I have been so bad lately... this is good motivation!

    (For some reason I haven't been getting your updates in my dashboard, so I'm catching up.)