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As someone who is concerned about the environment, who educates others about it, and who believes I should practice what I preach, I have made some serious changes in the life of my family. This year I thought I would take it to the next level – go plastic free. And then I went food shopping.

I have made a lot of changes over the years. I use canvas bags for groceries, I got rid of the TV (ok it fell off the wall and broke so I recycled it and haven’t bought another one), I compost, I use cloth instead of paper towels, I have energy efficient washer and dryer, hand wash my dishes, I recycle like a mad women, hell I even make my own laundry soap. So I thought this year, I would take the plunge and go plastic free. I read a whole bunch of advice, including http://myplasticfreelife.com/  and http://noimpactproject.org for ideas, made a plan, got all excited, and then I went to the grocery store.

I am a regular at Whole Paycheck (whole foods) and the farmers market, so right there you would think this shouldn’t be hard. WRONG! Follow me below to read about my journey.

I know plastic is bad for us, for the environment, for the kids 7 generations from now. I do my best, but I really wanted to push myself this year to do better. I wanted to not bring any new plastic into our house. To go plastic free is one of the best things we can do for the environment. Every year tons of plastic pollutes that oceans, the streams, the streets and the roads. Its dangerous and we are consuming more and more in our foods every day.

I can do a decent job at going plastic free with fruit and veggies, as long as I by everything loose and mostly in season. Not a bad start. Of course it means saying no to the cut up watermelon and berries in the plastic container,  tubs of tomatoes, bags of apples and potatoes, and sliced mushrooms – all of which are wrapped in plastic. But once you get through your fruit and veggies, it gets a lot harder.

The Meat Counter

I’m not a vegetarian.  I LOVE meat, even though I have cut back in the last year. I prefer to get my meat at the local farmers market for a few reasons. The first is the treatment of the animals. It’s partially for the hate of CAFOs and partially because I mentally like the idea of my hamburger roaming happily around a pasture, my bacon dreamily wallowing in the muck and the mother of my omelet basking in the sunshine. The second reason is because grass finished meat just tastes better. Finally, because it doesn’t support large ag and I know the money is going right to the farmer. But I PAY a lot more for my meat (which helps me not eat as much of it). It was all good till I decided to go plastic free realized that every single piece of meat is wrapped in plastic at the farmers market. So I head off to the meat counter, thinking it would solve my problem. WRONG! Before it got there it was wrapped in plastic. It sits on plastic with plastic signs and it wrapped in a plastic lined paper sheet or put into a plastic bag when you buy it. Oh meat, why are you all in plastic? I could give up meat, but I’m not going to because I love bacon and sausage and the occasional burger. Maybe I can talk to one of the farmers and see if they have a different way I can get meat, but I doubt it because of FDA regulations.

The Middle

Oh the sea of plastic is endless. Even if you already cut out soda, chips, and cookies, the plastic abounds. The can of beans or soup you think is all innocent is lined with BPA (the plastic that has been banned in baby products). The coffee I refuse to give up – even the whole loose beans got there in plastic and is stored in plastic and if I didn’t bring something to put it in, the bag sitting there is lined with plastic. The oatmeal, flour, rice, and everything else in the bulk section is plastic bags before they were dumped into the plastic bins. My pasta comes in a box, but many of them have plastic windows or come in plastic bags. I can get local flour, so I luck out on that.

The Coolers

I am SO lucky that my whole foods carries milk in glass jars, because 99.99% of milk comes in plastic lined containers. I get my eggs from a friend in a cardboard container for free when I can but if I buy it in the store, the eggs came on a flat wrapped in plastic before they got put into the cooler. Butter, yogurt, cheese, dressings, condiments, juice and a ton of other stuff comes in plastic. I get my bread from a local baker in my cloth bag at the farmers market, but odds are the ingredients for that bread was in plastic before they made it.

The Non-Food Isle

All plastic! My cleaning supplies, even if I make it myself, the initial products come in plastic. My TP comes in plastic. Someone once suggested going cloth, but I have my limits. I stopped using plastic garbage bags because I am not throwing out food and I rinse out trash before I throw it away, so at least that is a start.

The Other Stuff

I drive to the store in my plastic filled car. I store my food on plastic shelves or in plastic drawers in my fridge. I keep my food in plastic Tupperware, although I am working to slowly transition to glass as they die off. If I eat out, which happens more than it should, a ton of new plastic was used for transportation and containers for that food. If I get a t- go container, odds are it is Styrofoam which is also plastic (I have taken to ordering only the smallest portions to make sure there isn’t any left overs). My greatest weakness is to go cups, which are also plastic with plastic lids and plastic straws.

My solution

Revise my resolution. While it was going to be to give up plastic, it is now going to be to do my best to not get new plastic. I am much more diligent at bringing a cup or jar to drink from or to put a drink in when I am out. I would love to be more industrious and make more of my own food, but I know I am not going to churn my own butter or make my own yogurt. But Stoneyfields kid yogurt is in plant plastic, so that is something. I am continuing to get my meat from a farmer, because the amount of plastic is going to be less and the transportation is less as well. To offset the plastic that my TP comes in, I’ll get recycled paper TP, because I am still not going to use cloth. I am working on using glass Tupperware and am going to see if I can bring my own containers to the store for them to put my food in. I am also going to ask the manager of whole food to carry more bulk cereal, because there is just less waste that way. I get what I can in glass, including juice and milk, and we drink water the rest of the time. I have cut back on eating out and when I do, I make sure there is enough time to eat off a plate as opposed to in a box or a wrapper and a to go cup. My family eats off ceramic plates and bowls with real silver ware that I wash rather than throw out plastic plates and silverware. When I have company, I get recycled paper plates and vegetable plastic utensils.

I am also teaching others about two things they can do to make major difference in plastic consumption, which I think is at least as important as my own decisions. I am teaching them and challenging them to not use plastic bottles of any kind and no plastic bags. There at 10 people that making this this change for part of their semester long project. It takes 30 days to make a real change, so after 16 weeks, hopefully they will stick with it. It is something and I hope you too will make a small change, like not using plastic soda bottles or plastic bags, because out of everything else that you can do not using these two items will have a huge impact on the environment.

Mon Feb 18, 2013 at 10:05 AM PT: I wanted to take a second to reflect on some of the comments. I realize that there are uses for plastics that are extremely valuable and lifesaving. The goal of this dairy was to reflect on the sheer volume of plastics that surround us in places we might not even think about it, especially in our food system, where ones choice to not have it is very limited. There are a lot of plastics that cannot be reused and many that can that are thrown out. The waste alone has a significant impact on so many environmental systems. My hope is to get people to think about what is around us and how we use the resources. I greatly appreciate all of your comments and for reading this.  :)

Originally posted to DrSocCrunchyMama on Sun Feb 17, 2013 at 04:59 PM PST.

Also republished by Community Spotlight.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Humans were naturally made... (6+ / 0-)

    ...with the brains to use natural oil and other natural chemicals to make plastic.  Which has improved all our lives.

    Boehner Just Wants Wife To Listen, Not Come Up With Alternative Debt-Reduction Ideas

    by dov12348 on Sun Feb 17, 2013 at 05:12:08 PM PST

    •  According to your irreparably flawed logic ... (4+ / 1-)
      Recommended by:
      Oh Mary Oh, AZ Sphinx Moth, jilikins, samddobermann
      Hidden by:
      craiger

      ... nuclear weapons are just hunky-dory!

      Go away, troll ...

      Penn State - Rug too small, dirtpile too big, not enough brooms.

      by WereBear Walker on Sun Feb 17, 2013 at 08:49:03 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  if you're thoughtful, you can reuse plastic (21+ / 0-)

        soda bottles, for example, furnish the containers for the plants and the water in hydroponics DIY patches from instructables.com.

        Without plastic pipe, though, getting the new gas line I needed three years ago (ran over the old one with the lawn mower, scared myself I'd almost blown up the house; then it turned out to have been leaking about 1/3 of our regular monthly gas bill underground!) or water into the house would be much costlier and more difficult.

        That said -- butcher paper is paper for a reason, and that reason is that it's flexible and can be sealed up -- and unlike plastic, it protects against freezer burn. Not as well as foil, but better than plastic.

        The meat counters at Albertson's stores use it, and so do the ones at United (you do have to get deli or fresh rather than prepacked, but it's probably better to do that anyway -- you can at least be sure what's in the package, other than "ground beef", that way) Supermarkets / Amigos / Market Street. My bet is the same is true of HEB / Central Market.

        I realize glass containers weigh more, but they can be recycled. Why did they go out of fashion 20 years or so ago, and why are we not encouraged to go back to these returnable (refundable!) sterilizable containers that don't contribute to the plastic patch in the Pacific Gyre?

        LBJ, Lady Bird, Anne Richards, Barbara Jordan, Sully Sullenberger, Ike, Drew Brees, Molly Ivins --Texas is no Bush league! -7.50,-5.59

        by BlackSheep1 on Sun Feb 17, 2013 at 09:00:54 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Nuclear weapons are neither good... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        tobendaro

        ....nor bad.  Depends how people use them.

        Name calling, eh?  Afraid to try an actual argument?

        Boehner Just Wants Wife To Listen, Not Come Up With Alternative Debt-Reduction Ideas

        by dov12348 on Sun Feb 17, 2013 at 10:21:12 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  !!! ur doing it wrong (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          jilikins, eddieb061345, samddobermann

          The argument is that nuclear power is neither good nor bad.  Nuclear weapons are bad, by definition.  Hello?

        •  Nuclear power is probably great! (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Justus, melo

          it's the idiots who run things that screw it up. Fukushima, Chernobyl and every other problem with nuclear didn't have to happen if it weren't for the corporate greed and laziness that allowed those plants to become dangerous.
          When nuclear is 100% fool-proof, then I'd be all for it. But right now, if something, anything, goes wrong, you not only  kill people and animals, but whole parcels of the earth - making them inhabitable for generations.
          The trouble with your "arguments" is that they contain very little thought.
          We need answers for how to take care of ol' Mother Earth. 'Cause she's both sick and tired of how man has raped her without thought.

          Isn’t it ironic to think that man might determine his own future by something so seemingly trivial as the choice of an insect spray. ~ Rachel Carson, Silent Spring ~

          by MA Liberal on Mon Feb 18, 2013 at 05:42:07 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  Huh? (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        craiger, eddieb061345, Deep Dark

        Did you think before you posted this absurdity?

        We decided to move the center farther to the right by starting the whole debate from a far-right position to begin with. - Former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay

        by denise b on Mon Feb 18, 2013 at 12:06:06 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Heil Hitler (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        LilithGardener

        How would history be different without nukes?   I'm not sure I want to find out. I still cry over the Holocaust.    I'm glad we were able to stop it.

        Life is full of ugly choices.   Aggression and territoriality is a part of our nature.

        Hitler had to be stopped.

        •  Erm...Germany surrendered in May 1945. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          samddobermann

          Hiroshima was bombed in August 1945...

          So how did nuclear weapons play into the defeat of Hitler, exactly?

          •  Meh, some say Germany pre-emptively (0+ / 0-)

            surrendered to avoid being nuked.

            In any event, this thread offers everyone the opportunity to ponder back just a tad further about the age old question "Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor?"

            •  The Germans didn't even know (0+ / 0-)

              about nukes. WE didn't even know.

              The first and only test of a bomb was in July of 1945. The scientists weren't even sure what would happen. And they placed themselves too damned close.

              The some who say it are really really dumb even while attributing to others.

              I'm asking you to believe. Not in my ability to bring about real change in Washington ... *I'm asking you to believe in yours.* Barack Obama

              by samddobermann on Mon Feb 18, 2013 at 05:28:05 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

        •  Actually, the Russians might have joined Japan (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          DFWmom

          and held off the Germans, and then, those of us who hadn't fled to South America, well, we'd all be speaking some combination of Russian, or Japanese.

    •  And made them worse as well. (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      MA Liberal, Justus, qofdisks, jayden, melo

      I think at best we've traded off problems.  Plastics are most certainly incredibly overused to 'solve' even things that weren't problems, simple because they're handy and cheap.

      Humans actually are completely ignorant and foolish when born. (or 'naturally made', if you will.)  At some point they pick up the knowledge to make all sorts of things.  Later on, they pick up the wisdom to stop making some of those things.

    •  Buth then humans were too lazy to figure out (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Justus

      how to deal with what they made so it wouldn't despoil the earth that those "natural" oils and chemicals came from.
      It's great that humans evolved to the point where they could figure stuff out to create new things. But leaving behind the waste, with no plan to deal with it is just lazy, stupid and childish.

      Isn’t it ironic to think that man might determine his own future by something so seemingly trivial as the choice of an insect spray. ~ Rachel Carson, Silent Spring ~

      by MA Liberal on Mon Feb 18, 2013 at 05:36:36 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  The problem seems not to be the plastic, (0+ / 0-)

        or other waste we create, but the disposition of it - how to dispose of it without causing harm to our world.  And that would seem to be a problem for physicists.  If those geniuses could figure out a way to create - and control - a black hole, we could dump all our waste there and would never have to deal with it again.  Of course we may just be defiling another universe with our garbage, but with most other things created by humans, it would be out of (our) sight, out of (our) mind.  

        Hopefully that other universe wouldn't have physicists who could figure out how to reverse the gravity of the black hole, or create one of their own, and intermittently throw it all back at us.

        "In this world of sin and sorrow there is always something to be thankful for; as for me, I rejoice that I am not a Republican." - H. L. Mencken

        by SueDe on Mon Feb 18, 2013 at 08:49:17 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Can't remember either the title or author ... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          SueDe

          ... but several years ago read an amusing sci-fi short story about just this idea. The main character invented a device that would create a small 2-3' diameter black hole and then threw garbage into it.

          He got the brilliant idea of throwing the plans for the device in, and the next thing you know, an equivalent, small hole opens up nearby (they were strictly one-way things) and garbage started coming out of it, including a "broccoli cat." That last bit is why I remember the story!

          Penn State - Rug too small, dirtpile too big, not enough brooms.

          by WereBear Walker on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 08:05:40 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I had no idea there was a short story (0+ / 0-)

            that included this idea.  Do you remember the name - either the story or the author?

            "In this world of sin and sorrow there is always something to be thankful for; as for me, I rejoice that I am not a Republican." - H. L. Mencken

            by SueDe on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 08:44:44 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

  •  Thank you for being so good! As one (13+ / 0-)

    Who creates tons of plastic waste/recycling, I'd say just don't sweat the small stuff....And, I'm going to try to at least stop all the water bottles and grocery bags!

    “liberals are the people who think that cruelty is the worst thing that we do” --Richard Rorty Also, I moved from NYC, so my username is inaccurate.

    by jeff in nyc on Sun Feb 17, 2013 at 05:14:42 PM PST

    •  What he said! (0+ / 0-)

      Don't sweat the small stuff. You've gone on an admirable campaign to reduce plastic in your life, and I think that's great. But don't substitute one extreme (not noticing all the plastic) for another (not noticing all the glass you use 1x and then toss).

      Limit/reuse glass as ardently as you reuse/recycle/limit plastic.

      Be as conservative/careful with your water consumption as you are with plastic. You what you need but cut out as much  waste as you can.

      Glass is energy intensive to produce and consumes A LOT of water in the process. I love glass jars, but your glass milk jars are killing your effort if you are using them once and tossing them in the recycling bin.

      Bottom line is you save all of us, a little bit, every time you so much as use a container more than once.

  •  I carry bags in my pockets and haven't taken a (19+ / 0-)

    new bag into the house for almost a year. I admit to still using the plastic bags we already had, however, but we do what we can.

    •  We happily take the small plastic bags from (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Lorikeet

      the grocery store, because that is the right size for our tiny garbage, which we take out every day (sometimes more than once).

      For many other purchases I usually say, no bag needed, I've already got one right here.

  •  We Aim to Minimize. (15+ / 0-)

    We use plastic bags for food storage and freezing, but they always get multiple finally going to dog bomb pickup duty when we walk Toto-ess. We run a craft biz in the house so we reuse plastic packing that comes in with the raw materials. As much as possible we use paper and cardboard to avoid buying plastic packing materials.

    We use cloth shopping bags, and for bigger produce items like potatoes, apples etc. we avoid using the store's clear bags for them.

    I buy soda only in aluminum cans but most of the time I drink tea.

    And our town has curbside recycling so several varieties of plastic are able to be dealt with that way.

    There is definitely much we can do to reduce our wastefulness generally and of plastic specifically.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Sun Feb 17, 2013 at 05:29:47 PM PST

  •  Plastic is a necessary evil (21+ / 0-)

    when you have lung problems. Nebulizer tubing; plastic. The albuterol inhalers and breathing treatments, all in plastic. Prescriptions I use every day are in plastic containers and I have a plastic box I keep them in to ration out the doses so I know if I missed one.

    We do use cloth shopping bags, and I reuse plastic containers as much as possible when I can't help but get them. But what do you do about medical plastic?

    "Madness! Total and complete madness! This never would've happened if the humans hadn't started fighting one another!" Londo Mollari

    by FloridaSNMOM on Sun Feb 17, 2013 at 05:32:40 PM PST

  •  Don't forget pretty much all computers and (7+ / 0-)

    cell phones have plastic in them so you would have to give up DKos completely.  Not to mention telephones and many other appliances.  So unless you are willing to go full Amish you will still end up buying new stuff with plastic in it.

    You have watched Faux News, now lose 2d10 SAN.

    by Throw The Bums Out on Sun Feb 17, 2013 at 05:43:02 PM PST

  •  Recycling plastic film (8+ / 0-)

    I found out last year that our local trash/recycle company will accept plastic film (pretty much all plastic that's not rigid plastic containers) but only if you take it there.  And sometimes they want $5 to take it, that's the official price but in practice seems to depend on their mood.

    After I started diverting plastic film into recycle, our remaining waste stream went down by 50% (we had already cut lots of other items out of the stream, we compost, etc)

    I would like to see widespread acceptance of recycling plastic film in ours and other communities.  I guess it's relatively low quality "downcycling" but sure beats just going into the waste stream.

    •  We have also cut way down on our trash so (3+ / 0-)

      we put the trash at the curb less often.  We only take our (large, county provided) trash bin or recycle bin to the curb when full.  We figure every time the trash truck stops and starts up again it uses more energy and pollutes more so we're at least cutting back on that a bit.  We've gone from weekly pickups to monthly ones for the last five years, since our kids left for college.

      It all helps.

  •  Hmm (10+ / 0-)

    Butter is wrapped in wax paper, and making one's own yogurt and cheese is very easy.
    I sympathize with your quest. The meat and fish that can be wrapped in butcher paper comes from the deli, not the meat department.

    Good luck!

  •  Plastic has many benefits (8+ / 0-)

    it's how it's disposed uf that's bad - but there are tons of recyclling programs.

    Rather than give up on it - learn about it - treat it with respect - and be reasonable - McDonalds had a great recycling program for their old strofoam clamshell packages - but the public perception was it was bad - so they switched to plastic coated paper that they have used for years - which isn't recycled - but the public perception is it's in a paper wrapper.

    The care of human life and happiness, and not their destruction, is the first and only legitimate object of good government. - Thomas Jefferson

    by ctexrep on Sun Feb 17, 2013 at 06:53:51 PM PST

    •  Most plastic can't be recycled into anything (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Egalitare, Justus

      useful. As I understand it it's mostly used for those plastic logs (sometimes used to make benches), and those logs can't be recycled a second time.

      Glass and metal can be reused close to 100% to make new glass and metal things.

      Not so with plastic.

      I'm starting to think that plastic recycling is mostly a scam. There's no way there's that much demand for inferior recycled plastic.

      I would be glad to be wrong, so school me if you can.

      It is more important to be a confident and articulate speaker than to know jack shit about anything.

      by VictorLaszlo on Mon Feb 18, 2013 at 03:12:32 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  This isn't true (8+ / 0-)

        I work in the food packaging industry (specifically inspection of plastic and metal cans/bottles/etc.

        A significant portion of our plastics inspection systems include inspections for PCR (post-consumer regrind). This inspects new plastic bottles for inclusion of recycled plastic (and the sort of defects that can be found in recycled plastic).

      •  There are different grades of plastics (5+ / 0-)

        and for certain applications such as film extrusion (an example would be potato chip bags) - typically virgin - extrusion grade polymers are required - but for many injection molding applications - PCR and non virgin polymers are more than acceptable - nd what we don't want to use in the US - countries like India, China and Pakistan gladly purchase (at pennies on the dollar) and use it.  Industry treats it's scrap very carefully as margins are tight and no one can survive with high rates of spoilage - the problem lies with the consumers who don't recycle or quite simply throw it out as a matter of convenience - industry gets a bad rap but at least every company I know, goes to great lengths to reduce and reuse all of it's waste.  It's expensive to throw stuff out - the most efficient are the successful companies.

        If only the consumers would get on board.

        The care of human life and happiness, and not their destruction, is the first and only legitimate object of good government. - Thomas Jefferson

        by ctexrep on Mon Feb 18, 2013 at 06:39:12 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Some areas do not pick up recycling materials. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ctexrep, cotterperson

          Born and raised Californian, it was difficult to live in a town with minimal recycling choices. I had to drive 90+ miles to Tucson with my recyclables. Now, Tucson hss faded out the big public recycle bins because the city has a full curbside program. Sigh.

          Our Public Works just recently was able to entice a glass recycle company to pick up the glass that we have been accepting at our recycle station (a huge pile by now).

          The problem is that our little community is far from the beaten path and the logistics of getting the recyclables to the recycling companies is challenging.

          •  That is a problem (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            cotterperson, samddobermann

            Not sure if the economies of scale will ever be in rural America's favor regarding issues like this.

            One thing I can remember as a "yut" was as  Cub Scout, we had paper drives - where we would go around and collect newspapers and magazines that we encouraged people to save for us - then a company would send in a tractor trailer and we'd load the thing full of used paper and raise money for the troop.

            Things like that may still be an option but the nice thing about newspaper is there's not airspace like you have with plastic.

            Who knows - there could be a business opportunity to figure out a way consumers can grind their own recycle.

            Good luck.

            The care of human life and happiness, and not their destruction, is the first and only legitimate object of good government. - Thomas Jefferson

            by ctexrep on Mon Feb 18, 2013 at 07:30:09 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Thanks (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              cotterperson, VictorLaszlo, ctexrep

              I remember the paper drives days.

              What helps me with my guilt with not recycling what I was able to in CA is the WILD thought that there is a possibility that the historic plastic in our landfill will be considered valuable, it will be mined and reused in the future.

              In reality, the best action for me is not to buy something that is plastic or contained in plastic in the first place.

              We do have paper, cardboard, 1 & 2 plastic, pet & food cans, and now glass that we can recycle. We don't have curbside pick-up but we have several substations (large public bins) around town and in the case of glass and cans we have to drop them off at the recycle center. The recycle program depends on intentional participation basis. For the most part, our citizens are very dedicated to do what we can. I love my little community despite its limitations.

  •  one of our local grocers with a meat counter still (14+ / 0-)

    uses butcher paper...

    I take a lot of teasing at home for my anti-plastic stand, but I put leftovers in glass bowl with a plate over them (or, vice versa, on a plate with a bowl upside down over 'em). There's even an old-fashioned word for that: to "whelve".
    And it can be done even with big things, My wooden cutting board exactly covers my lasagne pan, and those black enamel turkey pans can keep refrigerated leftovers for a week, even, if you don't open it too often.

    My mom was a potter when I was growing up, so I have more than the average amount of stoneware around too, but beyond that, pottery, glass, stainless steel, wood- they're all so much nicer around food than plastic, which stains and hold smells, especially from tomato. And I stopped buying plastic wrap years ago, and use about one box of tinfoil a year, around holidays.

  •  Hey, that's not failing! (15+ / 0-)

    It's succeeding magnificently at reducing.  And that's what matters.

    Everyone needs to commit to having substantially less impact than last year, and then to do this each year.  To that end, a large reduction is great news and something yo can readily teach to others who may not be ready or able to do something like going 100% (or close to 100%) plastic free.

  •  Reducing plastic use is an admirable goal-- (9+ / 0-)

    but by all indications going meat-free regularly even one day a week would be an even bigger help to the environment. On this site beach babe in fl offers wonderful recipes every Monday (Macca's Meatless Mondays) that might help you make a one-day-per-week switch. She also provides some pretty great resources in case you need some to share with your students as well.
    There's always more to be done, isn't there? Mindfulness does make a difference, one step at a time.

    Some DKos series & groups worth your while: Black Kos, Native American Netroots, KosAbility, Monday Night Cancer Club. If you'd like to join the Motor City Kossacks, send me a Kosmail.

    by peregrine kate on Sun Feb 17, 2013 at 07:45:26 PM PST

  •  I know what you mean. (8+ / 0-)

    Like you I recycle madly, buy in bulk, use cloth bags and loathe plastic wrap, but it's well-nigh impossible to get completely free of it. At the workers co-op healthy food store where I do most of my grocery shopping, they used to sell cheese in bulk without wrapping it, but years ago started to use plastic film to wrap it. I think there are laws about wrapping the cheese. And I can't quit cheese!

    As another commenter said above, you haven't failed. You've succeeded in cutting back your impact on the planet, bringing awareness to your consumption habits and bringing awareness to others too.

  •  Local dilemma (11+ / 0-)

    Our (only) hardware store just replaced their big old steel bins of nails, which had a scoop, scale, and paper bags, with (expensive) plastic packages of nails made in China. They didn't want to, but the wholesale distributor demanded it. Reverse progress here. I am a builder and have no alternative, as 79842 is 235 miles from a big city wholesaler.
    Irritating and depressing.

  •  I love your passion (9+ / 0-)

    and I am going to start thinking more critically about the plastic that comes into my life.  

    A shopworn truism, but nevertheless, it's good to remember that we can't make the perfect the enemy of the good.  

    It's the Supreme Court, stupid!

    by Radiowalla on Sun Feb 17, 2013 at 08:03:46 PM PST

  •  I Commend Your Efforts (10+ / 0-)

    You are entirely right that the supply chain undermines any consumer that wants to make fundamental changes in what they consume.

    I've tried to cut down on consumables generally. My target isn't to be totally sustainable, but rather to take the first steps toward that by cutting down where I can.

    One thing I did was to look for glass containers to put food in. Some of those have plastic lids, but by moving from plastic containers to glass ones, I'm cutting down that much plastic.

    I got rid of most facial tissue by breaking out handkerchiefs. I got rid of disposable pens by investing in fountain pens. (This isn't as easy as it sounds, since it took a while to get them working properly. I think I had a case of vapor lock that made it hard to get started. Besides, they can be pricey.)

    I also moved to Sodastream for sodas, which have glass bottles (with plastic lids, sigh). I replaced bottled water, for the most part, with filtered water in metal containers (and glass ones, which I use to cut down on the amount of water I had to waste to clear the filter).

    As for meat, I long ago moved to a largely vegetarian diet. I know, I know. It's not easy to give up meat, and I still eat seafood. The secret to giving up meat is to move slowly and discover the right ways of preparing the alternatives.

    If you are getting your meat direct from the farmer, though, it seems like you could get it wrapped in paper and then put it in the freezer. This would eliminate a lot of the plastic, especially if you specify to the butcher how you want it wrapped.

    Not that I want to encourage you.

    I'm not sure what your fundamental objection is to plastic. I try to mitigate my use by recycling as much as possible. I realize that's not a perfect solution, but it seems like a better one than using paper, in many cases.

    Of course, by carrying a Chico bag, I was able to eliminate a large part of my use of paper and plastic. If anyone wanted to start cutting down, this is easy and effective.

    Good luck on your project. I think it's admirable to make any effort, even an imperfect one. Most people don't get that far.

    •  I hope you are careful about your Vitamin B (4+ / 0-)

      intake as many people who go completely meatless don't take Vitamin B supplements and thus end up deficient.

      You have watched Faux News, now lose 2d10 SAN.

      by Throw The Bums Out on Sun Feb 17, 2013 at 08:30:12 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yes (0+ / 0-)

        Vegans, obviously, need to make sure they get extra B-vitamins. I'm not vegan, but I do take B supplements.

      •  Stop it, not true. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        pdxRita, Liberal Thinking

        You keep repeating this nonsense. It is ONLY vitamin B12 that totally strict vegans can run short of and need to supplement. B12 is actually produced by soil organisms so animals consume it automatically as they graze. Humans who eat meat or dairy products thereby get B12 from the animals. Modern humans who don't eat meat or dairy tend to eat scrupulously clean plant foods so are not getting this nutrient. I suppose if we ate a handful of dirt now and then that would solve it but of course nobody wants to do that.

        B12 is stored in the body and your natural supply can last about 3 years but after that you'd need to supplement it. A small amount of the supplement daily is sufficient. Some people supplement weekly instead.

        Sometimes elderly people, or the very sick, develop a B12 deficiency unrelated to their diet and need to get supplements by injection. This treatment often has very positive effects.

        Up above you also referred to cases where some children may have died of vitamin deficiencies due to meat restriction--this is not true. I know about these cases and they were due to extreme neglect--horrifying, but not evidence of nutritional needs in humans. If you are going to fling accusations like this around you'd better have some evidence of what you are saying.

        A plant-based diet is universally recognized as healthy for humans by all the major medical associations and dietary associations. Science recognizes that humans can thrive without meat or dairy.

        I love it that Obama's channeling Harry Truman: "I don't give 'em hell; I just tell the truth and they think it's hell!"

        by sillia on Mon Feb 18, 2013 at 09:08:19 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  However some people don't supplement their (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          sillia, Liberal Thinking

          B12 at all because the supplements aren't natural.  In fact, T. Colin Campbell says not to supplement at all and respected vegan MD John McDougall says that a vegan’s chance of developing a b12 deficiency (and thus needing any supplements at all is "one in a million" because according to him it takes 30 years to run out, not 3 like you say.

          The recommendation is generally made that you should take a B12 supplement. I have not been in the business of recommending supplements, really, of any kind much. But on this one I listen to my clinical friends, first, who say that if somebody is really low on B12, you do see some symptoms of B12 deficiency, apparently. Or they do. But on the science side of it, I’m not convinced that we really have the science sorted out on that one even then. And B12, incidentally, has been used by the people favoring animal foods as a reason for consuming animal foods because only foods produce B12. That’s silly argument. A silly argument. We’re animals too. And we produce some B12 in the gut.
          From a lecture by Campbell

          You have watched Faux News, now lose 2d10 SAN.

          by Throw The Bums Out on Mon Feb 18, 2013 at 10:44:17 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Dr. Campbell is a highly respected (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Liberal Thinking

            expert on nutrition and very cautious. He may indeed be right that we don't need to supplement this. That's his view.

            Dr. McDougall however DOES recommend supplementing with small amounts of B12, though he never recommends any other type of supplement. (I have ready every book and article by Dr. McD as well as watched his videos, and it is mentioned in every instance.) And he does seem to think there is a 3-year grace period. I do not know if he's right about that, just citing his view for the record.

            Most of the people I know who eat a plant-based diet do supplement with some B12 to be sure. However, if taking a more cautious approach and not supplementing, one could easily get a blood test from time to time to check your levels. This would prevent any long term problems.

            I love it that Obama's channeling Harry Truman: "I don't give 'em hell; I just tell the truth and they think it's hell!"

            by sillia on Mon Feb 18, 2013 at 02:41:30 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

    •  Your fountain pen problem might be caused (5+ / 0-)

      by a safety regulation. Since most fountain pens are bought and used in Europe, the European regulations are germane. They had a problem with infants getting fountain pen caps stuck it their throats (babies will try to swallow anything...) so their regulations require that pen caps allow for some air flow.

      This air flow allows the ink on the nib to dry out, making it hard to get the ink flowing after you haven't used it for several hours (overnight.)

      The 'fix' is to tamp a small wad of softened wax into the end of the pen cap. And keep your pens away from infants.

      "The problems of incompetent, corrupt, corporatist government are incompetence, corruption and corporatism, not government." Jerome a Paris

      by Orinoco on Sun Feb 17, 2013 at 09:08:16 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Thanks (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        samddobermann, Orinoco

        That's good information. Both my fountain pens are Lamys, so that could be a factor.

        I was able to get rid of most of the problem by cleaning out the nibs and filling them very carefully, so as to avoid extra air in the cartridge. Also, I was storing them nib down, and they're supposed to be stored nib up.

        But I was able to eliminate disposable pens. One way to look at this is to think before you buy something that's disposable. Just reducing there eliminates a ton of garbage--so to speak. I also try to get things made as close to here as possible, although obviously the Lamys didn't qualify. However, I expect the slightly increased shipping expense for these light products to be more than made up by the reduction in carbon and other resources saved over the life of the pen.

    •  Paper can be composted - even (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Liberal Thinking

      in dumps it does break down.

      I put nose wipes onto the compost though I wouldn't/don't when I get sick.

      Even paper plates can be composted. Paper napkins give me good black compost to grow my veggies.

      Plastic has many legitimate uses. It's the single use plastics which are the environmental disaster. The debris is killing immense numbers of animals and birds.

      I'm asking you to believe. Not in my ability to bring about real change in Washington ... *I'm asking you to believe in yours.* Barack Obama

      by samddobermann on Mon Feb 18, 2013 at 06:48:46 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  It's Not That (0+ / 0-)

        I'm not so worried about them being compostable as I am about our penchant for cutting down everything alive and grinding it up to make paper. Then there's bleaching it, which is nasty, and the dioxins. So, if I can eliminate a bit of it I will, but I'm not finicky about it.

        Humans will always have impact on the environment. I try to minimize it, but I'm not going to be able to eliminate it.

      •  I have been composting for years (0+ / 0-)

        and have been amazed by what all can be composted.  I've tried composting just about everything that's not metal, plastic or greasy.  

        I have a home office, and despite my efforts to "go paperless," I've come to the conclusion it's just not possible so I use shredded paper for lots of things, such as garden mulch.  All my flower beds and the surface of potted plants are covered in shredded paper (which makes my beds look like they're covered in snow), all of which is composted at the end of the season.

        There are some things I've found that can't be composted, but that stuff is easy to spot when the pile is turned.  It can be picked out, and it takes only once to understand, "Nope, that can't be put in the compost pile."

        We have two large (really large) compost piles:  one is 6'x8' and contains kitchen waste, paper and garden waste; the other is for yard waste (leaves and grass clippings) and measures 8"x8" and is never turned - it's located in the dog yard, and the dogs laze in it, dig nap holes in it, burrow through it and bury toys in it.  One of the feeders and their kiddie pool is right next to it.  All they need is a flat-screen TV and surround sound, and they'd never leave it.

        "In this world of sin and sorrow there is always something to be thankful for; as for me, I rejoice that I am not a Republican." - H. L. Mencken

        by SueDe on Mon Feb 18, 2013 at 10:14:46 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Wide mouthed glass canning jars make ... (8+ / 0-)

    ... great storage containers, whether in the pantry, refrigerator or freezer. They come in half-pint, pint, quart & half-gallon sizes, are microwave safe, and one size of lids & bands fits all except the half-cup jelly jar size. While the ring of sealant in the lids is probably plastic, it will still seal a jar for non-canning use nearly indefinitely, as long as the lids are hand washed.

    Because they're designed to withstand the temperatures & pressures necessary for pressure canning, they're quite tough, too.

    Penn State - Rug too small, dirtpile too big, not enough brooms.

    by WereBear Walker on Sun Feb 17, 2013 at 08:35:37 PM PST

  •  Ivory soap (7+ / 0-)

    The last time I bought bars of Ivory Soap, each bar was wrapped in what appeared to be paper.  

  •  I'm impressed! (7+ / 0-)

    I too try not to use plastic - it's truly a struggle to get much cooperation from staff in grocery stores and restaurants.

    It especially breaks my heart when I see plastic flotsam and jetsam stuck in the reeds in the beautiful bay where I kayak.  I've started collecting  a (recycled) sack of it whenever I go out for a paddle.

    "Patriotism is supporting your country all the time and your government when it deserves it." - Mark Twain

    by Patience is Not a Virtue on Sun Feb 17, 2013 at 08:52:15 PM PST

  •  Some of the bison I buy at Farmers Market (8+ / 0-)

    is wrapped in plastic, but some of it is wrapped in paper. The rancher who sells the meat told me that if he takes the carcasses to the local butchery, they will wrap it in plastic. But, there is a field butcher, who travels from ranch to ranch, who butchers the beasts right there in the field, and wraps the pieces in butcher paper. There is only one field butcher in the area, though, and he is getting ready to retire with no apprentice to take his place when he finally quits.

    "The problems of incompetent, corrupt, corporatist government are incompetence, corruption and corporatism, not government." Jerome a Paris

    by Orinoco on Sun Feb 17, 2013 at 09:01:44 PM PST

  •  Commendable (8+ / 0-)

    This is a great effort, but keep in mind that sometimes plastic alternatives are worse than using something made out of plastic.  Take your milk container example, glass bottles are great but they are slightly larger and much heavier than plastic so depending on how the milk is traveling, the extra weight may result in more fuel being used than plastic containers not to mention the fuel needed to ship used containers back, sterilize them, and then ship them to the dairy.

    Determining the full environmental costs of something is really hard and can't be reduced to something like plastics are bad. Making an honest effort is probably the best thing to do and don't get too bent out of shape if you can't achieve some unreachable ideal.

  •  i am old enough to remember the reason we went (6+ / 0-)

    to plastic in the first place - to prevent the deforestation it took for all the trees to make all the throwaway paper bags.

    now, we are going to canvas, but are you using separate bags for different types of food - or, hopefully, you are WASHING your grocery bags due to the dangers of cross contamination.

    there aren't easy answers - but my way of a workaround is that i try never to use "single use" plastic.  grocery bags are great to bad used cat litter or to carry odds and ends back and forth to the barn until they fall apart.  also, choosing plastic that is biodegradable helps - many garbage bags now break down in landfills.

    tonite i was bad - very bad.  i bought one of those "not milk" ice (something) sundaes from mickey dee's - and, after i indulged in all those artificial ingredients, i washed out the little cup to use for ice cream at home.  smaller portion than a "bowl" - less sugar and calories.  i'll keep it until it falls apart - one more "recycle" effort in the works!

    oh, and the earrings i make are stored in a plastic blueberry container - great for separating stuff and keeping it organized around the work table!

    EdriesShop Is it kind? is it true? is it necessary?

    by edrie on Sun Feb 17, 2013 at 09:59:57 PM PST

    •  cross contamination? (0+ / 0-)

      That's pretty silly.  The only foods to worry about would be meat or fish, milk and the occasional broken egg.  She's getting glass milk bottles, so no worries about the milk leaking.  If an egg breaks the bag gets washed.  The only real concern is a separate bag for meat and fish.

      •  um... you must have missed the recent (5+ / 0-)

        news coverage on the need to wash cloth/canvas food bags.

        here are a few of the articles out there...

        cleaning reusable bags - public health

        from recycle.com on bacterial counts (e. coli and more)

        from cleveland - another report on spreading germs...

        houston chronicle blog on novovirus outbreak traced to reusable bags

        consider this comment your friendly public health/service suggestion:  for heaven's sake, WASH your reusable bags!  you don't sleep on the same sheets without washing them, do you?

        why would you think that reusable bags wouldn't collect bacteria?  and, how hard is it to wash the damned bag?  is it worth it to get sick?  

        EdriesShop Is it kind? is it true? is it necessary?

        by edrie on Mon Feb 18, 2013 at 05:04:33 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  and a bit more to think about... (3+ / 0-)

          from nbc news

          While the risk of contracting an illness from any particular reusable bag is low, Schaffner said, the Oregon study follows a 2010 paper by researchers at the University of Arizona and Loma Linda University that found large numbers of bacteria in reusable grocery bags, including 12 percent that were contaminated with E. coli.

          When scientists stored the bags in the trunks of cars for two hours, the number of bacteria jumped 10-fold.

          Some critics dismissed that study, which was funded in part by the American Chemistry Council, which supports the makers of some disposable plastic bags.

          But few have debated the study’s conclusion, which found that washing the reusable shopping bags regularly decreased contamination by 99.9 percent.

          “You could just wipe it down with Lysol or Clorox,” said Repp.

          NO one is saying not to use these bags - but every single person who has written on the topic has said to wash the bags.  

          EdriesShop Is it kind? is it true? is it necessary?

          by edrie on Mon Feb 18, 2013 at 05:15:32 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  LOL, funded by the American Chemistry Council (0+ / 0-)

            boogity boogity boogity!

            •  bacteria have no clue who suppied the funding. (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Roadbed Guy, mmacdDE

              ignore at your own risk.

              p.s. disclosure here - i have a degree in biology and have grown many a bacterium in a petrie dish - have had the dubious distinction of having food poisoning from some of the best restaurants in ny and elsewhere.  if you think this is laughable, just remember your amusement when you are racing to the toilet every hour on the hour until you have to hit the e.r. from dehydration - all due to bacteria in your food.

              food safety is no laughing matter - it is a life-threatening issue.

              i will now refrain from calling you an idiot.

              EdriesShop Is it kind? is it true? is it necessary?

              by edrie on Mon Feb 18, 2013 at 02:07:43 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Trust me, if I get food poisoning from (0+ / 0-)

                my vegetables, the first thing I will do upon returning from the ER is to wash my reusable bags (that I have used many years without incident).

                •  are you trying to be obtuse? (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  cordgrass, samddobermann

                  let me offer you some additional links... although, why i am botherins escapes me at the moment:

                  fda on raw produce

                  on buying from grocers and cross contamination - fda

                  cantaloupe and listeria - recommended scrubbing fresh produce before consumption

                  from the uk - bacteria on lettuce...

                  10 unexpected food risks

                  one other bit of "food for thought" - does the produce handler at your local food store or at that farmers market wash his/her hands after deficating?  that is one way e coli is spread - lack of proper hygiene.  the salad you buy at the food market doesn't automatically jump out of the field onto the shelves at the grocer - people HANDLE that food - from the pickers in the fields (ever seen those fields and the lack of proper sanitation or use by the field workers?) to the grocery clerk - you really have no guarantee of proper food handling.

                  furthermore, those "farmer's markets" mostly have porta-potties or very very overused restrooms for the vendors - AND the people handling the produce as they select their choice.

                  you really need to consider whether being "right" is more important than being healthy, especially when you are so wrong on this issue.

                  EdriesShop Is it kind? is it true? is it necessary?

                  by edrie on Mon Feb 18, 2013 at 04:00:14 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  sigh... bothering... defecating... cannot yet (0+ / 0-)

                    type with these fingers...

                    EdriesShop Is it kind? is it true? is it necessary?

                    by edrie on Mon Feb 18, 2013 at 04:01:55 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                  •  all right--wash your reusable bags! (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    edrie

                    Happy?

                    I don't buy produce from a store or farmers' market.  Maybe that's why I haven't gotten sick.  I belong to an organic produce co-op--fruit and vegetables magically appear on my doorstep in an alligator crate once a week.  None of it is in bags, except sometimes the potatoes are in plastic bags with airholes.

                    And I go to a butcher store that sells free-range meat and poultry from local farms, and that comes in plastic bags.  

                    •  i'm glad you are willing to consider that this (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      cordgrass

                      is a problem.

                      all i really want is for you and everyone else to stay healthy.  i don't wish on ANYbody the types of food poisoning i've had.  it isn't just uncomfortable, some types are fatal.

                      one of my college professors (in the early sixties) lost three of her family members (either her son or his wife and children) due to botulism in canned food.  botulism is the very scary one - it is tasteless, odorless and lethal.

                      another professor ended up with trichnosis from pork she ate in europe - she was lucky - the cysts settled in her leg and not her brain.

                      food handling is more important now than ever since we are losing effective antibiotic choices.

                      EdriesShop Is it kind? is it true? is it necessary?

                      by edrie on Mon Feb 18, 2013 at 10:07:16 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

      •  a side note here - fresh vegetables carry a number (3+ / 0-)

        of pathogens.  here in california, we've had quite a few recalls of fresh spinach and more - and it's not just limited to california.

        food safety is not as simple as it used to be.  one farm in salinas that produced organic spinach had the unfortunate experience of having their product contaminated by feral hogs a few years back.  

        don't assume it is only meat, fish or dairy that comes with a nasty surprise.

        EdriesShop Is it kind? is it true? is it necessary?

        by edrie on Mon Feb 18, 2013 at 05:10:02 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  I have started leaving empty food containers (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Justus, cotterperson, samddobermann

    in my car so when I eat out and have leftovers, I use my own container rather than a styrofoam one the restaurant offers.  It's taken a bit to remember to use them but my husband and I have gotten much better about it.

    My next project is to find a way to bring pizza home without the cardboard box, since that can't be recycled if it gets any oil on it from the pizza.

  •  asdf (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    VictorLaszlo, jayden, cotterperson

    I have kids who will eat half a ton of snack food all at once. Specifically homemade granola, trail mix, and mini cheese crackers (hooray for the thrift store pasta extruder which cranks those out so easily). So I was looking into what sort of individual snack size containers I could use to portion things out. I considered parchment paper bags, although it didn't seem as if they'd keep things from getting stale. Turns out, waxed paper has petroleum based wax.

    I'm still looking for options to make healthy sized portions conveniently available for the kids.

    Weathering Michigan's recessions since the '70s.

    by jennifree2bme on Sun Feb 17, 2013 at 10:29:10 PM PST

  •  shit that lasts for a 1000 years made to do a job (9+ / 0-)

    that lasts 10 minutes. or maybe a week.

    there's a better way - nobody is interested in finding it.

    if we pass laws that require plastic to be biodegradable, and there are standards for such a test, then the problem gets a lot better very quickly.

    big badda boom : GRB 090423

    by squarewheel on Sun Feb 17, 2013 at 11:05:38 PM PST

    •  San Francisco (6+ / 0-)

      is leading the way in biodegradable waste, at least in restaurants and takeout. Practically everything you get that looks like plastic there (disposable utensils, containers, etc) can go in the compost. It's pretty awesome. If other cities followed suit the cost of compostable plastics would drop.

      Do you not see that it is the grossest idolatry to speak of the market as though it were the rival of God?

      by kismet on Mon Feb 18, 2013 at 03:22:57 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I noticed many of the "Plastic" bags - recycle (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        mmacdDE

        They literally dissolve. I had some cloths ready to donate in these bags , not knowing they recycle themselves stored in the garage. they literally fell apart into tiny pieces. Dont know any more about them than that.  

        Disabled Viet Vet ret. My snark is worse than my bite

        by eddieb061345 on Mon Feb 18, 2013 at 10:13:56 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  depends on one's view of things (0+ / 0-)

      considering that plastics are carbon-based, this is an excellent way to sequester carbon and keep it out of the atmosphere.

      Unfortunately, plastics production lags in scale what is needed to make a meaningful difference wrt global climate change.

  •  I'm actually looking forward to (7+ / 0-)

    finally getting my first proper dishwasher, because while I don't mind washing by hand, I know that over the years I've wasted a considerable amount of water and energy doing so. An Energy-Star-rated dishwasher, run only when it's full, is more efficient (though it's a good question how long you have to use it before you make up for the energy used to make the dishwasher in the first place).

    •  Yes, didn't used to be, but progress in the (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Justus, jayden, cotterperson

      last ten years has made this true.

      We have a Bosch dishwasher which dries using condensation on the metal lining, another energy saving.

      Science is hell bent on consensus. Dr. Michael Crichton said “Let’s be clear: The work of science has nothing to do with consensus... which is the business of politics. Science, on the contrary, requires only one investigator who happens to be right,”

      by Regina in a Sears Kit House on Mon Feb 18, 2013 at 02:54:18 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  The exact brand I mean to get (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Regina in a Sears Kit House

        After considerable research, and satisfaction with my Bosch washing machine.

        Are you happy with yours?

        •  Very, one of the quietest dishwashers we've (0+ / 0-)

          been around.  The dry cycle needs to be fiddled with on the digital settings but we have a one generation older model.

          One nit: the place to put soup bowls doesn't exist, but since there are two levels of spray we just place bowls face down on top of other items on the top shelf.

          The spray wheel for the top shelf can catch on plates or lids that are too big. I think the newer ones have adjustable top shelves.

          Best luck, Regina

          Science is hell bent on consensus. Dr. Michael Crichton said “Let’s be clear: The work of science has nothing to do with consensus... which is the business of politics. Science, on the contrary, requires only one investigator who happens to be right,”

          by Regina in a Sears Kit House on Mon Feb 18, 2013 at 10:29:16 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  I was going to comment (0+ / 0-)

      that a new dishwasher is much more environmentally friendly than washing by hand. Plus, I just wish I had one.

      "No one has the right to spend their life without being offended." Philip Pullman

      by zaynabou on Mon Feb 18, 2013 at 12:37:54 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  see the blog list in my profile (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Justus, jayden

    It is possible to go plastic-free, although you have to find an accommodating butcher if you don't want to go vegetarian.  My butcher uses plastic bags rather than butcher paper, but at least he doesn't use those horrible styrofoam trays.

    Nobody's perfect--the goal should be to minimize; it's almost impossible to eradicate, unless you are the VERY motivated lady in the Zero Waste blog on my bloglist (and I think even she might recycle some plastic some times).

    My two biggest sources of plastic--I buy a few gallons of water to have on hand in case of emergencies every several months, and I buy a lot of vitamins and supplements, and while it is possible to get vitamins in glass jars with plastic lids, the shipping then becomes much heavier and is worse for global warming (unlike milk in glass bottles, which is locally sourced).  For me, worrying about global warming takes precedence.  Although even there, traveling to see my mom in Florida once a year...I should take the extra vacation time to take a train down.

  •  Our CSA meat is always wrapped in paper and (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dr Erich Bloodaxe RN, Justus, jayden

    stamped with the old fashioned blackberry ink. It's neat.

    We were constantly confused and disheartened by having to buy organic greens in large plastic containers our recyclers  would not take.

    We have now found a market which sells greens in open bins we pick out with tongs and use our own bag. yay.

    It's really hard to deplastisize she says while typing on an almost all plastic iPad. ::mutter, mutter::

    Science is hell bent on consensus. Dr. Michael Crichton said “Let’s be clear: The work of science has nothing to do with consensus... which is the business of politics. Science, on the contrary, requires only one investigator who happens to be right,”

    by Regina in a Sears Kit House on Mon Feb 18, 2013 at 02:58:27 AM PST

    •  I looked at those bamboo keyboards and mice (3+ / 0-)

      but they're insanely expensive, and keyboards and mice generally last a heck of a long time anyway, it's not like I'm going through each every year.

      Working on a larger garden this year to cut down on store purchasing.

      And I probably said this at some point before, but you've got the coolest handle, and a seriously cool house as well, apparently.  I wish one of the big chains would start selling kit houses again, maybe even kit Hobbit houses, heh.

      •  That is just it (3+ / 0-)

        even if alternates become available and I'm glad that there seems to be a trend to do that, it is often priced for the 1% consumer.

        I started a kitchen garden for the same reason. Again, plastic abounds in the gardening catalogs. But, changes are happening there too, I'm trying out Cow Pots instead of plastic pots for my seedlings this year.

        I agree, Sears Kit houses was a great idea that shouldn't have died. My little town still has a few around.

        •  We built our 4 x 8 garden beds out of classic (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Dr Erich Bloodaxe RN

          cinder blocks: three courses high, alternating, one rebar rod down each space then filled with small gravel. You can't break them; no chemicals; no need to replace in a few years; bonus = small green houses if topped with plastic tents. Filled them with eight years of composted dirt. They really worked.

          We put small screen under the dirt to keep critters out too.

          We just loved gardening in these, and boy did they produce.

          Science is hell bent on consensus. Dr. Michael Crichton said “Let’s be clear: The work of science has nothing to do with consensus... which is the business of politics. Science, on the contrary, requires only one investigator who happens to be right,”

          by Regina in a Sears Kit House on Mon Feb 18, 2013 at 10:38:26 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  There are LEED rated prefabs being modeled (0+ / 0-)

        that are being worked into under $100/sq. ft. and lower than that. A new house goes for a lot more per sq. ft.  I see possibilities.

        inhabitat

        And schools competing on the DC mall
        2011 Competition

        Solar decathelon

        Science is hell bent on consensus. Dr. Michael Crichton said “Let’s be clear: The work of science has nothing to do with consensus... which is the business of politics. Science, on the contrary, requires only one investigator who happens to be right,”

        by Regina in a Sears Kit House on Mon Feb 18, 2013 at 10:50:40 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Well discussed .. (0+ / 0-)

    Kudos to you for the the target.

    Driving down plastic in modern life is really hard.

    I've certainly reduced -- likely not as much as you (our milk isn't in glass containers) -- but it is hard to do and I haven't done the same efforts you have.  

    Re 'cup', sadly I've lost (have to get another) my collapsible camping cup which was easy to carry around for cup of water/such so that plastic cup wouldn't be necessary.  At least sometimes, the 'to go coffee' goes into a travel mug -- though, not in my hand most of the time.  Sigh ...  

    Blogging regularly at Get Energy Smart NOW! for a sustainable energy future.

    by A Siegel on Mon Feb 18, 2013 at 03:30:55 AM PST

  •  The meat counter... (0+ / 0-)

    If you're lucky enough (and it really is about luck) you might have a butcher around somewhere who mostly takes a cow or pig or chicken and hacks it apart and sets it on paper in a counter, and wraps it in paper when you take it to the checkout, where they don't even ask paper or plastic, because they just use paper.

    (And if this sounds like me merely rejoicing at having a great butcher nearby, you're right ;)

    The best you can usually do otherwise is try and find places they let you dispense your own amounts of dried goods into paper bags, and take your veggies out without bagging them, unless you're lucky enough that they have the plastic made from cellulose that quickly biodegrades for veggie wrap-up.

    But you're right, it's next to impossible when you're buying from grocers instead of directly from the people who actually make things to avoid them putting everything in plastic before it gets to you.

  •  The argument has always been about bags... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Justus

    Everyone hates plastic bags. They're everywhere. And plastic water bottles - everywhere too.
    But I'm not as concerned about things that can be recycled. I am concerned about things like Styrofoam and other plastics that can't be put in my recycle bins. I'm also concerned about the plastics that line canned goods.
    We need to eradicate it from everywhere it does NOT need to be and recycle the rest.
    One of the biggest problems, not discussed here, are plastic trash bags. How do you take your trash out without them? And how many people use them in their kitchen, then gather the rest of the household trash, including the kitchen bag, and then put it all in another, even larger, black plastic trash bag and take it to the street?
    Sigh.

    Isn’t it ironic to think that man might determine his own future by something so seemingly trivial as the choice of an insect spray. ~ Rachel Carson, Silent Spring ~

    by MA Liberal on Mon Feb 18, 2013 at 05:46:31 AM PST

  •  I feel your pain (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Justus, jayden

    and frustration. I have been on the same path for a few years with the same roadblocks. I had to come to the conclusion that reducing my use of plastic is more realistic. As consumers, I hope we can pressure the market to make the change.

    Lately, the second hand stores have been my friend. Recently, I bought 40's Pyrex food storage containers for the refrigerator.

    My pet peeve is that the natural food stores have 90% of the food in contact with plastic one way or another. Like you said the use of synthetic materials is in everything we use and sometimes there is no alternatives like our cars and digital equipment. On the positive note, I buy a lot less because of my desire to avoid plastic. Either because there is no alternative and I decide that I really don't need it or the cost for the alternative is too high. For example, 100% organic cotton socks, underwear, clothes, curtains, etc. are outrageously expensive compared to extensively sprayed pesticide cotton, blends or synthetic materials. Needless to say, I don't have a lot of clothes in my drawers & closet.

    My attitude is that if enough people demand a change, it will. When I became a vegetarian in the late 80s, I had a difficult time finding restaurants that were friendly to my diet. Now, it is easy. Hopefully the same will be true for plastic.

    I guess what I want to communicate to you is that you are not alone in your quest and I'm glad that you joined the "striving to be" plastic free family. Maybe we need something like a Plastic Anonymous support group to help with the guilt that comes with our efforts to go plastic free.

  •  A tiny piece of good news (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jayden, PsychoSavannah

    The "plastic" windows in pasta boxes (and in envelopes) are often actually cellophane, not plastic. Ditto for some of the interior wrappers on items such as cookies (generally wrapped in tubes, not loose in bags).

    It would take a lot of investigative work, but you could probably call manufacturers to find out which they use.

  •  Just do what you can; you won't be perfect. For (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jayden

    example, if you have to drive farther to go to a meat counter that doesn't use plastic, is that really better for the environment?

  •  I had an idea (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    susanala, samddobermann

    As I sat there watching the non profit  I used to work for buy pallets of bottled water for meetings, I thought it would be a good idea to create a website where businesses could sign on to a guarantee that they will not buy bottled water for any of their meetings.  

    If you go to a meeting at your place of work, why should they have plastic bottles of water?  

    Why don't they just put out some pitchers with water, along with some glasses?  

    Especially since the place I worked had a flippin'  kitchen and a dishwasher.  

    We actually were supposed to educate people on recycling and resources as one component of our work.

    Streichholzschächtelchen

    by otto on Mon Feb 18, 2013 at 09:02:12 AM PST

  •  Food grade plastic (0+ / 0-)

    While avoiding it is very hard, a recovering chemist of my acquaintance pointed out to me a while back that at least it is polyethylene which burns away to water and CO2 and nothing else.

    If you can't avoid it, at least use it as fuel and keep its plastic form out of the environment.

    Until inauguration day The USA is in the greatest danger it has ever experienced.

    by Deep Dark on Mon Feb 18, 2013 at 10:07:13 AM PST

  •  The real solution to plastic is (0+ / 0-)

    Getting the Manufacture of plastics to make Plastics safely recycle themselves. I'm sure there is a way to make the stuff dissolve safely, different time periods for different uses etc. It's just a matter of time and that we have very little of .

    Disabled Viet Vet ret. My snark is worse than my bite

    by eddieb061345 on Mon Feb 18, 2013 at 10:24:39 AM PST

  •  try a hospital stay! (0+ / 0-)

    A recent hospital stay was an eye-opener in more than one way. The food trays not only ARE plastic, but many items are wrapped in plastic. Most all the medical things they use on you are in plastic. It has to be that way, I am sure, but it is amazing to see it in action. And this is in the state of Washington, where recycling is very popular and accepted.

    You pointed out very well the difficulty in getting this item out of our lives. And yet, for much of history it did not exist. But then neither did supermarkets or hospitals.

    One should never consider yourself too poor to support the ACLU.

    by oakroyd on Mon Feb 18, 2013 at 11:12:22 AM PST

    •  Actually, Hospitals did from way back (0+ / 0-)

      but mainly for what we call palliative care and those for the mentally ill.

      Hospitals were even more deadly than they are today.

      I'm asking you to believe. Not in my ability to bring about real change in Washington ... *I'm asking you to believe in yours.* Barack Obama

      by samddobermann on Mon Feb 18, 2013 at 08:08:24 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  my motto is "eat less plastic" (0+ / 0-)

    if there is a plastic free alternative I choose it.

    but sometimes it is next to impossible to find an alternative, at least for the money i can afford to pay

    Politics is like driving. To go backward put it in R. To go forward put it in D.
    Drop by The Grieving Room on Monday nights for support in dealing with grief.

    by TrueBlueMajority on Mon Feb 18, 2013 at 06:05:16 PM PST

  •  Watching this film trailer (0+ / 0-)

    on Vimeo is enough motivation for me to try to go plastic-free.

    Midway:Message from the Gyre

    http://vimeo.com/...

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