So I watched Bag it and Plastic Planet pretty well back to back. Very informative! I was already trying to cut back on plastic but these instilled me with a new and stronger vigor. I’m trying to get as close to 0 as possible now. Some attempts have been more successful than others.
– Hair: No “poo” this is working fine I use a tablespoon of baking soda in a cup of water for shampoo and a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar in a cup of water for conditioner. I’m supposed to shampoo/condition only every once to twice a week but some weeks I end up with three times. Lots of scalp massaging is important esp. when it’s a wash day. On none hair washing days my hair still gets a thorough rinsing. Baking soda is in a cardboard box and vinegar in a glass jar with a plastic lid (I’m looking for one that uses a metal cap
– Cat Food: my cats were eating whole quail from Hare today but that entails a lot of plastic and styrofoam plus no variety, so now we’re trying for “franken prey.” I took my own containers to the butcher and it worked at first he put the chicken livers in the container I gave him but then something went wrong and not only was everything else in plastic but he poured the chicken livers into plastic and then put that bag back into my not rinsed container. Ewww and total defeats the point. I’ll have to work on this one there was a lot of plastic in the end result and it did not feel worth the trip into the city except that they had kidney which I needed
– Trash bags: for the litter box changes and bathroom I use bio-degradable bags and it couldn’t be simpler. The kitchen is another story, we tried in the past and it was a mess. Actually it was a mess for the fiance and seemed to work okay for me. In any event most of what is thrown out is food scraps that don’t make it to the compost (which is small and often full). The solution for now is I think a) try to juice more of the scraps and drink them, b) use a small trash bin with bio bags in the kitchen for such items and throw it out that day or at least within a few days so it can’t start biodegrading prematurely on us. (I should note it takes us longer than many families to get through a tall kitchen trash bag and a lot is liquid i.e. produce or uneaten meat from the cats).
– Towels: the fiance likes kitchen towels which always come wrapped in plastic. So to supplement the rags we do re-use I bought towels and toilet paper in boxes on-line. It’s a green company so there was no plastic packaging surprises.
– Lunches: If I don’t make my own I at least eat at a restaurant that uses proper plates and I don’t get take out or doggie bags.
-Groceries I’ve gotten better not only about having my own bags but going to the farmers market. There is a lot of control at the farmers market especially if you find a good one with friendly venders. I make a point of saying I don’t want plastic. At one of my favorite (albeit smaller) markets I have found not only produce without plastic (bring containers for berries), but bread, goat cheese, fresh dried fruit, “sustainably grown” flowers wrapped in plain paper and if I give them a mason jar the week before fresh orange juice. There are nuts too but they aren’t raw so I don’t buy them, I occasionally buy eggs. Of course I own a juicer anyways but sometimes it’s nice to have one thing done and out of the way by others. I don’t eat meat but if I did I’d use my own containers as above. I might get some meat for the cats at the market too in future but I think I’ll need to make advanced arrangements for the odds and ends I need. Most venders seem happy to make arrangements in advance because it is a guaranteed sale but I’ve also only asked venders at markets with better customer service in general. It might also be that it is an evening market in a semi affluent area (less aggressive haggling) so I think people are a little more relaxed than the weekend markets in the heat of the day that are known for being “cheaper.” Note: I’m not using a CSA at the moment I wanted more options and they’re top of the stairs delivery left little to be desired so now that the farmers markets are all in full swing I see little need for it.
Movies: if I really want it on DVD I can find it used, if not I can get it on Netflix or Amazon on Demand. Otherwise I can read a (used) book while supporting a local small business (used book store).
Clothing: cotton (preferably organic) or other plant (modal, hemp, bamboo) or animal based (read wool not fur) fabrics only for new items, more flexibility on used but it’s still preferable to use natural fabrics for health reasons. Polyester, Nylon, Rayon etc are all types of “plastic” fabrics. For new or used items there is Etsy.com and for used there is Consignment, Thrift – Luckily I live near a good area for the later two and have been considering opening my own etsy shop If you have the money I’ve seen items listed by Saks fifth Avenue made in the USA from Italian Silk and the like but I imagine if you buy on-line then it would be shipped in plastic
Shoes: I’m an unusual shoe size to say the least so rather than used shoes I am looking into two options a) shoe repair for shoes I already own and b) custom shoes made in the US or at least not a factory in China that might last more than a season or a year tops before completely falling apart
Gifts: To others easy, in addition to home made items gift certificates for things like massages and the theater can help someone splurge where they usually neglect themselves. Just be sure to go by well reviewed locations in an area convenient for the receiver. Another option is to find the eco or unnoticeably used versions of things they already wanted. For wrapping, I have wrapping paper but I really like the idea of furoshiki using vintage scarves and such.
For gifts where I am the receiver I need to have a nice but serious chat with friends and family. No sooner had I decided to attempt a purge of plastic in my life than I received three out of the blue gifts from well meaning people that were in plastic and with extra plastic on top of that for carrying/packaging.
I think that’s enough of an update for now. Especially for a blog without any followers. 😉