Tuesday, March 27, 2007

The Great Plastics Challenge

It’s long past time I wrote about this, so here goes. Hey, it’s only a month late! ;-)

As some regular readers will recall, my February challenge was to bring NO plastics into the house save for packaging –and to minimize that. (For those who are interested, my March challenge was simply surviving mid-terms and term paper season –I’ll start a new challenge next month.) So how did I do? Did I manage to go a whole month without bringing plastics into the house?

Almost. I did really slip up around the middle of the month when I had strep throat. For the first time since I was about twelve, I might add. I ended up bringing in some plastic grocery bags because I was too befuddled to remember my own when I left for the store, and some of those little plastic tubs of yogurt. (Yogurt, believe it or not, is a really good immune system booster, and also helps digestive track problems.)

Other than that, how did it go? Surprisingly well. The short list of plastics that came into the house last month includes: the top on a half gallon of organic milk, a box of trash bags (I haven’t yet figured out an alternative to those), a carton of eggs, some tea in plastic jugs that was leftover from my church potluck and which I wasn’t about to waste, some sealant rings on food, and a bit of shrink wrap. Oh yes, and a plastic juice bottle someone threw into the bushes at school. I picked it up and brought it home for recycling. That was about it. I’m not counting the bags of recyclables (mostly plastic) that I brought home from my grandmother’s a few times to put on the curb. She lives in a condo without recycling service, so she sends her stuff home with me.

I consider this to be quite an achievement. When you consider the assorted plastic tubs, jugs, and bottles that most people use every month –not to mention all the other plastics –I used 90% less than most Americans! Now, this doesn’t mean that I’ll be able to make this goal every month. Some of the food I buy will inevitably come in plastic containers –peanut butter for example, which is a staple around my house. But this is a goal to strive for, and I intend to keep it up. The second part of the plastics challenge will be to reduce the amount of plastic in the house. I want to replace all the plastic storage containers, utensils, etc. But this will be a much longer-term challenge. I’ll have to replace all of those things slowly, as money and time allows. I think my next task will be to reduce the amount of wood pulp products (paper, cardboard, etc) that comes into the house. I’ve all ready stopped using paper towels, but I need to see how much more I can cut back.

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2 Comments:

Blogger AnnMarie said...

I've found one natural PB that comes in a glass jar. Luckily, I like it better than the others I've tried which come in plastic. Unfortunately, I don't recall the brand, but it was sold at Festival Foods if you have one of those around. It's one of those "only peanuts" no other ingredients.

3/28/2007 10:49 AM  
Anonymous The Hippycrite said...

I ran across your blog surfing around today. There is an alternative to plastic containers for peanut butter... well, kinda. Off brand and Peter Pan peanut butter, when bought in bulk, comes in a large cardboard container, usually about 6 pounds worth, with only a plastic lid. Something to consider. Then you're looking at a processed peanut butter, but if that's what you already use...

Congrats on the plastic challenge!

4/20/2007 1:02 PM  

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