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Plastic free living for a week...can you do it?

Last post Fri, Sep 6 2013 2:56 AM by wanting. 35 replies.
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  • Fri, Mar 15 2013 3:24 PM

    Plastic free living for a week...can you do it?

    I've been trying to reduce the use of plastics.  As I was researching something else, I came across the concept of plastic-free living and set myself a challenge of living plastic free for a week. 

    Sounded good in theory, but then I realized just how difficult it would be to totally eliminate plastic from my way of life

    • My smart phone which I consider necessary is made of plastic
    • The sports watch I wear daily - plastic!
    • My stainless steel reusable coffee mug - plastic lid!
    • My blood pressure tabs - packed in a ridiculously excessive blister pack!
    • Most of my everyday toiletries are packaged in plastic!

    That's just the tip of the iceberg...plastics are everywhere.  There is no way for me to totally avoid them, especially since I live in a country in which many of the plastic free options are either prohibitively expensive, or unavailable.

    Nonetheless, I've revised my challenge - avoid the use of plastic where I can, and definitely no NEW plastic for a week, starting today. Anyone care to join me?

    Now, here's my list of plastic-free accomplishments so far:-

    • I'm out of deodorant so I'm using a mix of baking soda & cornstarch (applied with a makeshift powder puff - a cotton ball)  Tried it this morning and so far it has held up to the test of living in a hot tropical climate. 
    • I've put a set of reusable cutlery in my bag - I don't expect to do much eating out, but I will be able to refuse the plastic fork etc if I do
    • Using "real" plates, glassware and cutlery at home - I prefer that anyway...it's much nicer
    • Using my bamboo placemats instead of the default plastic ones (The plastic ones are hideous and unnecessary - my "baby" is now 14!)
    • Switch to wearing my metal strap watch instead of the plastic sport watch.  My watch is designed to withstand water and the "rigors" of my daily existence which isn't really that rigorous at all! It will survive a week (and more) of my exericse routine!

    If you feel inclined to join me, please feel free to post on your progress! If you can go totally plastic free, try it!


    Philippians 4:19

    And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus
  • Sun, Mar 17 2013 5:37 PM In reply to

    Re: Plastic free living for a week...can you do it?

    In our world it would be extremely difficult to go entirely plastic free. One of my goals is to cut down on the difference in quantities of what I take to the recycling center. Plastic always "wins." AM
  • Sun, Mar 17 2013 7:23 PM In reply to

    Re: Plastic free living for a week...can you do it?

     I don't use plastic bags since 1988 when I found out I had to pay for them I used canvse bags.

    chrissanne
  • Tue, Mar 19 2013 3:20 PM In reply to

    Re: Plastic free living for a week...can you do it?

     Have you read the book or watched the documentary "No Impact Man"?  I think there is a blog too.  He tried to do "no waste" for a year and plastic was a constant issue.

    I'm wanting to build a natural house but avoiding plastic is probably possible but not practical.  I wanted a solar panel to charge a laptop...all of that is plastic.  Oh well.  I do hope to minimize the plastic.  I can go a week without acquiring MORE plastic but I don't think I can go a week without using any.  Even when I was camping last time....plastic in the car I used to get there, etc.

  • Tue, Mar 19 2013 3:44 PM In reply to

    Re: Plastic free living for a week...can you do it?

    I think trying for a totally plastic-free lifestyle is a bit unrealistic, but we can all reduce our use of it by enough to make quite a difference. Having said that, I'm not very good at it yet. I'm willing to try, though.
    "The business of life is the acquisition of memories." --Mr. Carson
  • Tue, Mar 19 2013 7:08 PM In reply to

    Re: Plastic free living for a week...can you do it?

    I look forward to seeing how things go for everyone.
    $ Dollar Stretcher Community Manager $
  • Mon, Jun 3 2013 4:52 PM In reply to

    Re: Plastic free living for a week...can you do it?

    Going totally plastic-free would be absolutely out of the question for me. It would mean going a week without my computer, which I rely on for work, entertainment, and communicating with friends. I'd also have to go without my glasses, which have polycarbonate lenses (and without which I can't see a thing). And then there's my telephone, my toothbrush, the fan I'm using right now to stay cool...too many things that I consider it neither reasonable nor desirable to give up.

    Here's what I would propose as an alternative: the environmental group Green America posted on its blog back in 2011 that its new official position on plastics is, We’re not saying no to all plastic. We’re saying no to stupid plastic.” The editors then issued a one-month challenge to "say no to stupid plastic." I posted a response on my own blog about which plastics I would consider "stupid" and which I'd consider reasonable to keep, and it's my second most popular post of all time.

    So, rather than trying to go plastic-free for a week, I'd suggest trying to eliminate one source of "stupid plastic" from your life each day for a week. Some possible targets include disposable shopping bags, bottled water, printer cartridges, disposable pens, cling-wrap, and those stupid Styrofoam trays they pack the marked-down produce in.

    My Ecofrugal Living blog: ecofrugality.blogspot.com
  • Wed, Jun 5 2013 12:18 PM In reply to

    Re: Plastic free living for a week...can you do it?

     I too look forward to seeing how this works out for folks, especially as someone mentioned, our computers, keyboards, have plastic.

    I wanted to comment that cloth placements would be much easier to clean than bamboo (from experience).

    I'm not trying to deter anyone from avoiding plastic. It sounds great to me, in theory. I just want to tell about my experience with glass. I had a, not sure if I can say brand name, hopefully Brandy will see this and let me know so I can share it. But a new glass mixing bowl that is a popular brand, said it was microwave safe, dishwasher safe, and even oven safe to a certain degree. I brought it home, washed it, and used it to mix up a big salad for lunch. I used wooden utensils to toss and serve the salad, so it didn't get scratched. I put it on the top rack of the dishwasher, and ran it later that night, and after about 20 min into the cycle heard a loud boom. I looked and the bowl had shattered all over. I spent over an hour cleaning up glass shards. Some got into the mechanism and a repair guy couldn't get it all out. Eventually with enough friction it turned to sand, then no more. When it happened, last October, I took pics with my phone, and reported it to the consumer product safety commission and found out this company changed the compound they use to make their glass to a cheaper ingredient, and that has happened a lot.

    Again, I'm not trying to get anyone to not use plastic. I am encouraging people, especially with children in the home, to consider stainless steel, wooden salad bowls, or another option if they're avoiding plastic.

    At that time I too was wanting less plastic in the kitchen and more glass, stainless steel, etc. Mainly because of all the bpa news stories, and the plastic food containers staining so easily. 

    I am looking forward to seeing what people use to take lunches to work in other than glass, which isn't allowed at some businesses.

  • Wed, Jun 5 2013 12:30 PM In reply to

    Re: Plastic free living for a week...can you do it?

    haverwench:
    Going totally plastic-free would be absolutely out of the question for me. It would mean going a week without my computer, which I rely on for work, entertainment, and communicating with friends. I'd also have to go without my glasses, which have polycarbonate lenses (and without which I can't see a thing). And then there's my telephone, my toothbrush, the fan I'm using right now to stay cool...too many things that I consider it neither reasonable nor desirable to give up.

    Here's what I would propose as an alternative: the environmental group Green America posted on its blog back in 2011 that its new official position on plastics is, We’re not saying no to all plastic. We’re saying no to stupid plastic.” The editors then issued a one-month challenge to "say no to stupid plastic." I posted a response on my own blog about which plastics I would consider "stupid" and which I'd consider reasonable to keep, and it's my second most popular post of all time.

    So, rather than trying to go plastic-free for a week, I'd suggest trying to eliminate one source of "stupid plastic" from your life each day for a week. Some possible targets include disposable shopping bags, bottled water, printer cartridges, disposable pens, cling-wrap, and those stupid Styrofoam trays they pack the marked-down produce in.

     

    Haven't seen you posting on the forum lately, Haverwench (unless I've just been really unobservant, which is quite possible!), it's good to see you.

    I think the idea of saying no to 'stupid' plastic is what plastic-free living should really mean, to be honest. It's just not practical to eliminate ALL plastic. Some plastic is good--a lot of plastic products we use every day aren't in the same category as disposable plastics. I for one refuse to give up my computers just because they've got a lot of plastic in them! LOL Plastic hangers--those things last for decades, unless you hang something really heavy on one and it breaks. My mother still uses some plastic Tupperware that she got as wedding gifts--56 years ago! The little fan blowing blessedly cool air on me as I type this is mostly plastic, and is at least five years old. Just not the same thing as shopping bags, water bottles, too much packaging around the food we buy, etc.

    Now I'm going to go read your blog post. Big Smile

    "The business of life is the acquisition of memories." --Mr. Carson
  • Wed, Jun 5 2013 7:22 PM In reply to

    Re: Plastic free living for a week...can you do it?

    We use plastic for my husband's lunch, zip lock bags and plastic toppers for items. What I do is wash them all out and re-use, re-use and re-use until they just aren't good any ore which I haven't found to happen. I know that plastic is toxic due to some chemical in it. The only time I throw out my kitchen storage bags is when I store my dogs can of meat in there.... Don't think I could go without plastic. This is a great thread and I will think it over more to see if I can make changes...chris
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