How strange to call this planet 'Earth' when quite clearly it is ocean. Arthur C. Clarke

Friday, April 4, 2014

Plastic fast weeks 2--4

It's been a crazy three weeks, and a lot happened that required me to buy some new plastic. See below.

  • Things I needed that normally come with new plastic: Most of the things below.
  • Things I bought that have new plastic (if any; hopefully this will be none): Fuel for a backpacking stove, the label on some iodine tablets, a waterproof map, the lids to glass food containers, part of a paper bag of pasta (why do they have to put a little plastic window in it?), stickers on stainless steel kitchen utensils, Italian sausage (for my boyfriend), a waterproof bird ID field guide, food-to-go containers with plastic silverware (how horrible!), fruit and vegetable stickers, tags on clothing, the pot that came with a tomato plant.
  • Things I bought in plastic-free form: a strainer, food storage containers, plant pots.
  • Things I did to avoid buying new plastic: I refilled a glass peanut butter jar and put produce directly into my backpack. I buy bulk soap. I bought a used bread machine so I never have to buy bread in plastic bags again. I have also been working on growing my own food plants, and started a compost pile so I won't have to buy as much potting soil for my new garden, although it will be several months or years until I get soil from my compost. 
  • Things with new plastic that were given to me: The lid to a jar of homemade maple syrup, a notebook with a plastic snap, a magnet with a plastic picture of a sea otter.
  • Plastic things I politely rejected: The plastic bag some homemade granola came in, but that's about it. I wasn't about to reject the maple syrup my friend from upstate New York spent weeks making, tapping maple trees and boiling the sap, and the notebook and magnet were a gift for graduating my volunteer course, which inspired this plastic fast. I really have a hard time rejecting gifts.
  • People who learned about my plastic fast (optional): my visiting friends, my lab group, and visitors to my lab group.
  • What was the hardest part of my fast this week?: buying food for my visitors and supplies for backpacking. Also paying so much for soap is annoying, even though it smells divine. It's $22.24 per pound! I should look for cheaper bulk soap.
  • What was the easiest part of my fast this week?: buying fresh food. 
  • What can I not find a non-plastic alternative for, and can I give up this item entirely?: I have never seen a bread machine without a plastic exterior, but I haven't looked. Even if I found one, I wouldn't be able to afford it. Also, all salad spinners have plastic.

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