Green Moms Carnival :: The Plastic Project

The topic for this month’s Green Moms Carnival is Plastics. 

It is hosted by the amazing Beth Terry of Fake Plastic Fish

Beth is a strident example of someone who has emphatically said no to plastics.

She lives it.

I personally got creeped out by plastics 25 years ago

Not because of the phthalates in them or the other chemicals in them or the fact that they sit in our landfills forever. 

I got creeped out by plastics because I couldn’t keep them clean.  Plastic containers seemed to take on the smell of whatever I put inside them.  Plastic bags seemed to degrade, or lose their value after time. I thought that was really gross.  

Even way back when I was someone who didn’t have a cabinet full of Tupperware for storing leftovers, or things.  I instead collected groovy glass jars or opted for wicker baskets. 

It’s because of the wonderful woman I have met through Green Moms Carnival that my plastic radar has widened.  I am ever grateful for their pioneering, their expertise and their green mom voices.   I sooooo wish I knew them when I was raising my family.

Incrementally I am trying to eliminate more plastic usage.

I am frustrated.  How did plastics take over the universe?  

Plastic is everywhere. The industry of plastic makes me angry.

When I can make a choice …which to me is what alternate living is all about.   Then I do 

For this month’s carnival I wanted to comment on plastics room by room and share and speculate how I might do better in the say no to plastic strides.  I wish  the efforts I’ve made were more monumental – more Fake Plastic Fish-esque. 

The Plastic Project

Bedroom, Den and Studio:  these 3 rooms are combined in one – My TV, CD player and the cords from all my lamps are all plastic – The TV – given to me – will someday be of no use and have to be pitched. This just makes me crazy. I see in my mind a huge pile of TV’s.  Someday that pile will reach the moon.  

Are there better ways to dispose of these electronics so they don’t end up in the landfill ??

I also wonder about plastic in clothing. All that stretchy fabric is not natural.  Can’t we go back to the basics? Like untreated cotton?

Daughter’s Room :  Don’t go there.

Office:  My computer, monitor,telephone, speakers and lampcords are all plastic, as are all my computer cables – many of my office supplies come in plastic or are plastic.  I have worked hard to reduce my paper trail – went from 8 drawers to 4, and could reduce that even more – I began to bank online, to invoice electronically and find we only print school papers now. I am an avid recycler in this space as I use paper over and over getting the most I can out of it. Addtionally I widen my margins. While that really has nothing to do with plastics it’s something I feel good about.

Are their more eco-friendly high performing ( note: I say high performing, because that’s important to me) office supplies?  What are more eco-friendly computers made of?  Do they last longer?

Bathroom:  Of all the personal care I use only two things that come in glass jars – the rest;  things I wash my body, face, hair with are all in plastic bottles.  My hair management products, my dry skin, all of our first aid needs all come in plastic . We still use common pads for our period vs something alternative.  This I admit is cost and convenience and an area I could should really take on

What if the cosmetics industry went back to glass packaging?

Kitchen:  I store and freeze in glass.  I reuse my plastic vegetable bags over and over – I hear there are reusable produce bags but I seem to have a perpetual supply of the other and am of the mindset to use up what I have first. I also admit that  I am concern that my vegetables won’t keep as well. Since I buy organic I want them to keep as well as the can.  What has your experience been with produce bags that aren’t made of plastic?  I buy butcher meat and have it wrapped in paper, I reuse that paper. I make my own salad dressings. Reuse older salad dressing bottles.  While I was recovering from surgery lots of folks brought food and it often came in something disposable – during that time I felt like we were manufacturing garbage!  I could make my own yogurts, cheese, and condiments – just bought mustard and should have made it, the truth is it slipped my mind and my surgery currently limits me from making foods the way I’d like to .  Plastics are still around me in the yogurt, cottage cheese and cheese that I buy, and while I opt for cartons of soy milk etc …why the heck did they add those plastic pourers??  I think I could do way better in the kitchen

Basement: I store on metal shelves in cardboard, with the exception of the christmas decorations which everytime I walk by the neat stacks of bins I say to myself. OK so you collected this stuff for 25 years. Now what? Also each child has a school memory box – just one.  A recent purge had me get rid of, donate and delegate a huge pile of “stuff”  Part of that makes me very happy, the other part of me says there is still so much more to manage.  My laundry soaking is done in plastic, garbage can is plastic, some of my garden supplies are in these nesting plastic organizers.  Otherwise the rest of how I store is wicker, wood or cardboard

What strides are you making to eliminate plastics from your home?


plastic pondering flickr image

karen hanrahan | wellness educator and consultant | writer
nutrition ~ green clean ~ inch loss  ~ anti-aging

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8 Responses to Green Moms Carnival :: The Plastic Project

  1. I think it’s high time the manufacturers of everyday products change their packaging! Why should we have to do all of this garbage sorting? It’s ridiculous! Your plastic pourer is a perfect example of how they just plain don’t care. Plastic cords are sent to third world countries where children burn them to retrieve the copper inside to sell. Those children will inevitably die of cancer. Apparently, they are disposable as well.

  2. Karen, Thanks for reminding us to look for plastic alternatives in the most unsuspecting places. Re produce bags: I use small mesh bags for just about everything, even green beans (they wouldn’t work for things like lentils or nuts if you bought them in bulk). I don’t worry about the extra penny or two it might cost me at the checkout counter. I ordered them from reusablebags.com

  3. Karen Hanrahan says:

    Absolutely! I also thought what would it be like if we sent our plastic bottles back to the manufacturer, heck I’d even pay the postage if I actually knew they’d reuse them!

  4. Karen Hanrahan says:

    Thank you Diane for the mesh bag suggestion!

  5. Hi Karen. I love how you took us room by room through your house. I do have a few comments (if not actual answers) to some of your questions.The TV Take Back Campaign from the Electronics TakeBack Coalition: http://www.takebackmytv.com/ is working to get manufacturers to take back and responsibly recycle old TV’s. You could look into it.Computers are being developed with a smaller footprint and less plastic. For example, the Dell Studio Hybrid. My husband is planning to buy a new desktop computer and I’m encouraging him to go for this one. Of course, buying a used computer could be even more eco-friendly.Bathroom — could an easy step be switching to bar soap from liquid soap/body wash?I echo Diane on the mesh bag suggestion. Leafy greens do better in them, I think.There’s no way to eliminate all plastic without reverting to the stone age. But we sure can reduce the amount of new plastic we acquire and be mindful of what we have, as you have demonstrated so well.

  6. Karen Hanrahan says:

    Awesome suggestions and link recommendations –  Beth. 1. my tv i hope lasts awhile, it’s a hand me down, barely used and I barely use it myself – however when it does go I want to do the right thing 2. wonder what the mac approach is to eco-friendly, my computer a PC, a hot rod, hand built and will go eventually – I am leaning towards mac for a variety of reasons although the green part of the decision is a factor too 3. with my uber dry skin – i can go partly bar, but i have to switch off to something more emolliant – the bar soap I adore is non-soap, and came in a liquid that I dilute the absolute heck out of –  Use the same dispenser over and over!4. I am definitely excited to try the mesh bags that both you and Diane suggested – thank you!!

  7. Indeed, indeed, plastics have taken over the universe and they are all over the place. You look at your right, and there’s that plastic water bottle. You look at your left, and there’s that plastic bag holding your officemate’s lunch. Plastics are disgusting, but you can’t keep them out of your life because everyone else uses them. You order takeout dinner, and the delivery guy hands out your food in plastic bags. Oh, not to mention takeout food in Styrofoam containers. Of course people know how plastics can be harmful to the environment, but everyone is just co complacent and apathetic. Everyone seems to think the little plastic they use won’t do any harm. But imagine a billion people with that same thinking! The little plastic every single one of us uses will total to a lot of plastic we all use.I admit I haven’t done too much as well, but I have taken it one step at a time. Right now, I make sure never to go to the supermarket without my reusable tote bags so I could pick up some grocery items without asking for plastic bags.

  8. Karen Hanrahan says:

    awesome that you have created the reusable tote habit at the grocery store!!

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