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I've shampooed my hair with bi-carb and cleaned my teeth with soap - great, thank you.
I'm 15 so I can't practice going to plastic free till I move out of my parents house. All but one of the schools in my area HAVE industrial sized DISHWASHERS but they GIVE us STYROFOAM plates/trays and plastic sliverware. When I was young child, they used to give us reusable plastic trays, but have gave us throw away stuff for the last couple of years. Giving us washable plastic is better then throwing it away after one use.
I practice a lot of these ideas (I especially hate styrofoam) and I always carry a reusable to go box with me for restaurant leftovers or carryout. There is one plastic I have invested in that I will have for a long time. I found CRESBI crates to use for groceries because they are lightweight yet rigid collapsible crates and keep my food from being crushed like it would in a bag. They stack in my cart and I put my products in them as I shop. Then I just set the crates on the conveyer and the checker scans them in the cart. Plus they can be thrown in the dishwasher so no bacteria worries. They cost more than a bag but like I said, I'll have them a long time.
I've been looking around for a good under-the-counter water filtering system that doesn't use plastic, and it's not an easy pursuit. However, I wanted to let everyone know that I found this place: http://oasiscoolers.com/
The housings for the filters is plastic, but this company sells the refills as solid carbon tubes, without extra plastic. From what I've researched, you can just crumble up the old filters, and add them to soil. Apparently it's also possible to purify them in boiling water and baking, but that can be smelly and dangerous.
Hey, did you see these Brita pitcher filters where you just open the housing and remove the carbon material? Fantastic. This is what we were really trying to get Brita to do. http://www.oasisfilters.com/pitcher/brita_replacement_media/ Brilliant! Thanks for forwarding me this link.
Latest blog post: plastic-free-gift-pack-06 :: My Plastic-free Life
Hi. I just purchased the Green pan. It's non stick but its not made from Teflon and it supposed to be non toxic. Did I make a right choice? I did give away all my old non stick pots and pans. Thanks!
Hi, if you are recomending people buy and use CFL bulbs perhaps you should let them know they contain mercury, so they must not be broken and require special disposial programs. ?
Hi Beth. I just saw "Bag It" again and noticed it is you in the movie. Beautiful job. I also have a new post about Plastic free Tupperware system. I would appreciate your imput. Thank you so much for everything you are doing. You are truly amazing and are making a difference.
I guess not all people have access to farmer's markets, so we gotta make a point of not wanting plastic. So tell the store you don't want to buy plastic foil, you want to buy bananas who already have a protective casing for god's sake, and a biodegradable one to boot!
I remember the beginnings of environmental awareness here in Germany, back when I was a kid. In increasing numbers and fed up with all the effing plastic and shrink wrap around fruit and veg and the completely unnecessary double and triple wrapping of already wrapped items if there's several of them.
So people would unwrap the things right in the store, at the checkout, and leave the plastic there for the store to dispose of. The method is simple, easy and saves space in the bin at home, so a lot of people started doing it. After some time, guess what happened? Especially in the fruit and veg department, plastic and shrink wrap began to recede. I guess things would take a little longer what with the US being a much bigger country, but you gotta start somewhere. Keep it up!
yes, I remember when I was there in Germany in 1989 and 90, that my friend did that. It is a good idea. I've done it here a few times, taking bananas out of the unnecessary bag.... and hearing you say it, I will do it every time from now on, for everything I can.
Here's a tip for those in Southern California, along the same lines as the pizza table idea: if you ask the taco shop to put hot sauce directly in your burrito, you can avoid those little ramekins.The sauce heats to the temp of the burrito, and I've found that to be more pleasant to eat, anyway. Just make sure they wrap it up in paper or foil!
Additionally, I recommend those who enjoy craft beer get growlers for your local breweries, and reuse them, rather than buying new glass. Part of this entire thing, in a larger context, is cutting back on the need to manufacture unnecessary items.
You act like plastic containers and bags choose to get blown down the street after its use is up, plastic doesn't have legs it can't do that. How it gets disposed of is up to people they choose whether to litter or recycle. Yes, recycling can be costly and yes it will degrade a material slightly but why does that matter when recycled plastic goes into making other bottles, trek decking, flower pots and children toys; items that do not need the best properties. A big thing is garbage cans, what alternative material will you use if you need a new garbage can (outdoor ones you but all trash bags in for garbage men)? Making a garbage can out of any time of metal would be ridiculous and making it out of wood would be heavy. Or are you just going to continue to use garbage bags which are made out of plastic? I'm sorry to inform you but plastic will not go anywhere: it's versitile, cheap, and has a quick production when compared to glass paper and your stainless steel. With the finding of the Marcellus Shale there will be enough petroleum to keep the plastic industry alive and kicking for years to come.
Did you know that several types of bulletproof glass are actually made out of plastic, that being polycarbonate. Bulletproof vests also include polycarbonate and Kevlar, bulletproof vests you know the ones protecting the men and women protecting this country's freedom. So are you saying we should live without plastic so if this men and women need protection they shouldn't get it because plastic is bad.
Clothes, nylon and polyester, those are plastic fibers. So hopefully you don't ever buy clothes made from those materials.
Automobiles, hopefully y'all only buy used cars because did you ever stop and think about how much plastic is in a car? The dash, interior door panels, bumpers, mirrors, etc. So here's a scenario: you car gets a decent dent or underneath it starts to rust out what do you do? Leave it? Buy a new bumper which is plastic? Or use Bondo or a similar product to patch it; which is primarily polyester.
Plastic is a huge part of the medical field. Many medical parts are made out of plastic because most of the parts are one time use due to sanitary issues. So why do they choose plastic over another material? Because its more cost effective they can produce more of the component and use less energy making the same number of parts.
@Jere I'm not sure if this has been said, but I'm going to say it anyway. You talk about all the important things that are made out of plastic-- medical supplies and bulletproof vests-- and that is exactly the point. We have so many important and innovative uses for plastic, and we waste this resource by doing things like filling it full of (basically) tap water and then throwing it away. Now, that doesn't make sense to me.
"I'm sorry to inform you but plastic will not go anywhere"
You know if you would have added the phrase "little lady" it would have been easier to see that you are mansplaining and hadn't really read most of the post.
@Jere Welcome. Please continue reading. You'll see that I do use plastic, but my goal is to reduce the amount of new plastic consumed. In fact, several of the steps on this page address what to do when you do need a plastic item. All opinions, as long as they are expressed in a thoughtful, considerate manner, are welcome on this site.
Latest blog post: homemade-wheat-paste-glue-12 :: My Plastic-free Life
Sorry if I duplicate (there are too many posts to read right now!). Two ideas:
The Crockpot Lady makes yogurt in a slow cooker. Haven't tried it myself yet but I hope to.
I bought my guitar-playing husband a pick punch. It punches guitar picks from plastic credit cards and gift cards. One punch within a circle of musical friends would be enough. Different weights of plastic suit different players. Saves the plastic from buying new picks from the store.
Love your ideas and commitment. Thanks!
Hi. I love this site! After having recently moved from Oahu I have regained my plight to stop wasting so much. Sadly, on such a beautiful island, the amount of extra waste is sickening - Styrofoam take out every where. Anyhow, I truly love your site and feel that it is really a spiritual path. It takes such dedication and commitment. I was wondering about how you feel when eating out with others who don't share your philosophy. I am normally pretty low key but the other day I was at the market and found myself a very heavy presence towards my brother and his girlfriend for drinking smoothes out of disposable plastic cups with plastic straws. I had a hard time even being present with them I got so angry! Any tips?
My strategy is to set an example for others with my actions and to explain to them kindly the choices I make. I believe that people are basically good and just don't understand the consequences of their actions sometimes. But nagging them doesn't help... it often just makes people resentful.
Latest blog post: Think-beyond-plastic :: My Plastic-free Life
Hi Beth. I also noticed you mentioned Yogurt in you list, because of the plastic container. I found two options for that problem. My family LOVE plain yogurt and i had to find a way.
1. Here ia California, I found "saint benoit yogurt" which is in returnable glass container. It is a little pricy for the amount of yogurt we consume.
2. Make my own. I made my own for a while. But the results were very unpredictable. It started to stress me out. So i just invested in a yogurt maker and am waiting for it to arrive. I buy organic milk in returnable glass, so making yogurt will not generate any extra waste. Here is a likt to the yogurt maker i ordered. I made sure it comes with glass bottles, not plastic. As far as the actual machine goes, i am afraid there is no ther chice but plastic.
Here is a link to the yogurt maker
I double checked the link and it links you to my store. I am having a hard time linking it directly to only the yogurt maker.Sorry. But please go to kitchen category and one of the last ones is the yogurt maker. I also ordered extra glasses. This one has an authomatic shut off and has great ratings.
Thank you Beth for everything you are doing.
@ParastooParsa Yes. I think maybe the list is confusing. I meant that I have given up yogurt packaged in plastic, but not all yogurt. Number 28 has a link to my yogurt recipe. I actually use a Thermos instead of a yogurt maker, so I didn't have to buy anything new. The only reason we don't buy St. Benoit is that my husband doesn't like full fat yogurt., and that's all they make. And since he's the main one who eats it here...
Latest blog post: Plastic Challenge: Louise Purnell, Week 2
Thermos is a great idea. I should have checked you receipe before ordering the yogurt maker. I was so bad at making yogurt that my husband and kids gently and nicely asked me to stop making them. LOL. I am going to go through you site more and dig in some more. I just love it. Thank you Beth.
Hi Beth! Thanks for this great list. I work in climate change research and I'm always looking for ways to reduce my waste, but plastics can be so overwhelming. It;s helpful to a list of ideas I wouldn't have thought of, and that have already been tested out. I wanted to offer one thing to add to your list in the kitty section. It's often really hard to find attractive looking cat scratchers in general, much less eco-friendly ones. So I was really excited when I found the sky scratcher on etsy. The designers use a central wooden post on which they stack floors of cardboard, without any adhesives or added chemicals. The floors can be replaced once they're worn out, which means only replacing those specific sections rather than the whole scratcher. Check it out here http://tinyurl.com/skyscratcher.
@ChristinaMinniti This is fantastic. I have emailed Mike to find out when the Empire State Building model will be available. I love that there isn't even any glue used in his products... just wood and cardboard. And that the pieces can be replaced. Really great. I hope he can ship it without any plastic packaging.
@ChristinaMinniti Hi, Christina. I actually made my furballs a catch scratching post that they love scrap wood, rope, glue, and a couple of screws. I bought rope and scrap wood from the scrap wood pile at Home Depot (a couple of pieces about 3 feet long and 2 inches wide). We already had a couple of screws and wood glue at home in our toolkit. It cost around $10.00 or so and a little bit of time. It took awhile for the smell of the new wood and glue to disappear, though. Until then, the furballs would not touch it, but now they use it regularly and with gusto.
What a wonderful list. Loved every one of your ideas. Here is a post about how i have a plastic free freezer. I have been doing it for over a year now without any problems.
@ParastooParsa Hi. I would love to see your post, but that link is not the public URL but I think to the Blogger post editor. Please do post the URL. Cheers.
Latest blog post: Plastic-Free-3D-cover2-300×364 :: My Plastic-free Life | Less Plastic | Life without Plastic
OOps So sorry. Thanks for letting me know. Here it is.
@ParastooParsa Thanks! I left a comment on your blog post.
I was going to ramble on about how stupid this article was, about how chemicals from plastics can only leach from the material when its a molten liquid, how its actually more environmentally friendly to make and transport plastic bags vs. paper bags, and about how outdated some of this material you base these 'facts' on, actually are. Rather, i'll just laugh to myself and know that the dumb preach to the uninformed.
Greg. Making the plastic bag is half the story. Desposing it is the other half that most of us are having a problem with. At least paper is from nature and goes back to nature. But plastic is never going anywhere. Some other problems I pesonally have with plastic is;
1. Is Oil base. It means the wars over the oil will be a never ending story.
2. Making it is create a huge amount of pollution.
3. Because it is so cheap, people will buy more and more junk and this buying habit causes many problems. Like debt, Lack of savings, cluttered homes, Stress,...
4. Even if you recycle it, the pollution and transportation for recycling is very hazardous for the invironment.
Why not get rid of it all together. To me, Using plastic, looks like a bad decision that is not worthed.
Also please see the movie "Bag it" There are tons of information there.
Your first statement may in fact be partially true however the discovery of the Marcellus Shale in PA would be natural gas that could be used to create the plastic so we would have less dependency on foreign countries.
Making plastic doesn't create a huge amount of pollution. The machines used to make plastic parts, bags, etc run on electricity, how is that pollution? That would be like saying turning the lights on in your house is pollution.
You can't say plastic is bad. Its the choices people make that give something a reputation. In this case people not being responsible for recycling and monitoring what the buy give plastic a bad reputation.
Pollution and transportation of recycling is bad for the environment? How do you think your city takes your garbage from your house? The same way they take the recyclable stuff. So you would be implying that the garbage services are bad for the environment as well. Because plastic is so light weight it would actually be better in terms of transportation.
Lastly, you say get rid of plastic all together? Ask Michigan how that worked when they tried to ban Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS). It turns out they would have had to ban Legos, computers, automobiles (dash boards, bumper panels), appliance housings, and various medical plastic components.
@Jere @ParastooParsa @greg56 Hi Jere. Natural gas extraction has some pretty serious environmental impacts of its own, and it is also a nonrenewable fossil fuel. The pollution from making plastic is not simply energy used but the chemicals used to make plastics, which can be very toxic and contaminate air and water. As for energy from transportation of recyclables, please consider that many of us are trying to reduce the amount of all waste we produce in the first place... whether garbage for the landfill or recycling to the recycling center.
@greg56 Well, if you don't agree with this viewpoint, why are you even on this website reading this blog? Go find another blog to read. There are plenty out there with other "facts" and viewpoints for you to read and complain about.
@greg56 I guess you haven't read the studies that show chemicals leaching from plastic containers. And you haven't read my blog because you would know that I don't advocate any kind of disposable bag... paper or plastic.
@greg56 Obviously you have no sense of smell
Hi, ingallsa18. I, too, am gluten intolerant. There are several brands of pasta out there that are gluten free and in a box and don't really cost a lot more than regular pastas. Hodgson Mills makes mostly wheat products, but also some guaranteed gf products. They actually taste pretty good. I have found Hodgson Mills and DeBoles at my local grocery store in the health food aisle. If you don't find them there, check for a diet food aisle or where the regular pasta is. At one store I went to, the Hodgson Mills was in a diet food area separate from the regular pastas and health food. I never could figure that one out.
Hodgson Mills http://www.hodgsonmillstore.com/en/gluten-free/gluten-free.aspx?p=1-12
Vitacost is a big company that carries many products of various brands. They carry several brands of gf pasta. Here is the link to their gf pastas for sale. Ancient Harvest is a good company. They make guaranteed gf quinoa and quinoa pasta.
All of these products are in cardboard/paper boxes. They have plastic windows, but between being guaranteed gf and having less plastic packaging, are very good options.
I would love to buy more bulk items, but my family has many food allergies. I have not ever seen gluten free pasta in a bulk, probably because of the risk of cross-contamination. I also have a deadly peanut allergy and have to be careful of the bulk section if there are nuts. If anyone has a suggestion, or knows of a source of gluten free pasta in a box (even with a window, it would be less plastic) I would appreciate it. I know I could attempt to make gf pasta, but I am already a bit overwhelmed learning to revamp my baked goods recipes. Thank you,
@ingallsa18 Hi. Severe allergies and sensitivities can make buying in bulk more challenging. In fact, I wrote a post about plastic-free, gluten-free diets: http://myplasticfreelife.com/2010/03/gluten-free-and-plastic-free/ Also, I'm wondering if there is the same danger of peanut contamination if you buy from the bins that let items fall from above via gravity rather than a scoop. Do you know what I mean? I interviewed a rep from Whole Foods while writing my book, and she said those bins are less likely to be cross contaminated and explained how the bins are cleaned. But I think that if your allergy is life-threatening, bulk bins just might be too dangerous. It's a judgement call.
Latest blog post: homemade-wheat-paste-glue-01 :: My Plastic-free Life | Less Plastic | Life without Plastic
Just wanted to say, I loved your book and it has inspired me to make a lot of changes in the way we do things around our home. It drives my husband a little crazy, but even he is coming around to the non-plastic lifestyle!
I am also trying to pass on your message down under through my own blog. Thanks for the inspiration
Can't you freeze liquids such as broth and sauces in glass jars? I've not yet mastered canning - my attempted have failed and proved inedible. So for now, I freeze things. I do try to wash and reuse the freezer bags that I do use - it's the best I can do for now.
Yes, you can freeze in glass. Make sure not to fill jars all the way full to leave room for expansion. Tighten lids after liquids have frozen. Do not subject to extreme changes in temperature. We do it all the time.
Latest blog post: Campbells-cream-of-mushroom-soup :: My Plastic-free Life | Less Plastic | Life without Plastic
This list makes my attempts to live a plastic free life look pathetic! Clearly I am not trying hard enough and am going to have to make more of an effort
One of the things I stress in my book is to push yourself a little but don't try to do everything all at once. It's not about being perfect but being mindful of our choices.
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I am so inspired by this list! I have been on a green journey for years now, and there are many, many great ideas here to keep me going and help me continue to make progress. I also have a few suggestions:
-A baby section: cloth diapering/cloth wipes; avoiding prepared baby food: make your own, or do baby-led weaning/baby-led solids; natural rubber pacifiers, breastfeeding or using glass baby bottles–maybe there are plastic-free formula brands?
#29. You can also make soy milk or nut milk in a vitamix.
#44. You can also make deodorant from equal parts coconut oil, baking soda, and corn starch. The consistency is more like store-bought, so it may make for an easier transition for some people.
#50. You can also switch to reusable toilet paper. It's similar to using cloth wipes for baby. You just cut flannel or other fabric into rectangles and keep a little storage container for them in the bathrooms. Then launder. It's just like using hankies.
#52. You can make your own sunscreen as well.
Hi Cotton Bottom Mama. Thanks for the added tips. I do need to update this list. But fyi, almost everything on your list is included in my new book! There is a whole section on cloth diapering and other children's products, as well as different recipes for deodorant, toilet paper alternatives, etc. The book is much more comprehensive than this list. It ought to be... it's over 300 pages! http://myplasticfreelife.com/plastic-free-how-i-kicked-the-plastic-habit-and-how-you-can-too/
Latest blog post: What Can Environmentalists Learn from Bad Kitties?
@BethTerry Excellent! I will have to check out your book. Thanks again for this resource!!
I have 5 abcessed teeth and am thinking I need dentures at this point. The dentures are plastic and are making people sick,,,,any alternative suggestions or people who have found biological dentures that are safe.Help?
@kindredspirit Hi. I am so sorry about your dental problems. I have been reading a little about the toxicity of dentures this morning, and if it were me, I think I would do whatever I could to avoid dentures. Have you looked into alternative dental care and diet?
Hi there, I'm really digging reading your plastic-free tips! I actually found some lunchskins bags at Target and I was so excited!
I was wondering if you have any tips about buying meat, like chicken breasts, without plastic waste. I only ever see it being sold on those styrofoam trays wrapped in plastic!
Hi, Lizzy. I am curious. What sort of material are the Lunchskins made of? I have looked at those online and they looked like plastic, so I was leery to order them and have no local stores that would have them.
Hi Lizzy. We buy meat for our cats in stainless steel containers. We take them to the butcher shop. Do you have a butcher shop or grocery store in your neighborhood with an actual butcher counter? They might be willing to do it for you.
If you find this list useful and want to learn more, check out my new book, Plastic-Free: How I Kicked the Plastic Habit and How You Can Too, a practical guide to ridding your life—and the planet—of plastic, available in beautiful 4-color hardback edition OR digital downloadable format.
The book is an organized compilation of inspiring stories, practical tips, worksheets and checklists, and factual information about plastic and its challenges.
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