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Blogging about giving up single use disposable plastic


Faithr
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With Aldi, if I forget to bring the bags with me, not a problem. I just bag the stuff outside at my car. If other stores didn't care if I just put the stuff back into my cart without bags, no problem. I'd bag stuff at my car.

Aldi here have these bags you can buy at times that actually hook over the sides of the trolley. So you put stuff back into the trolley but bag it at the same time.0

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Aldi here have these bags you can buy at times that actually hook over the sides of the trolley. So you put stuff back into the trolley but bag it at the same time.0

 

Same here, but I've never seen anyone use them.  My wonderment is if I could lift it fully loaded.  If not, then it kinda defeats the purpose.  And I have to carry stuff up 3 flights of stairs so..again..probably not.

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Tooth powder wouldn't bother me.  I actually hate toothpaste.  I don't like the foaming.  I don't like the mint flavorings.  Although I wonder if just using some straight up baking soda would do the trick.  That nearly always comes in a cardboard box. 

 

Same here - all that foam makes me gag.  I hate it.  (I know I'm weird, but I can't stand frothy textures in general.  Whipped cream, for example.   :ack2:  ) Plus, I'm extremely sensitive to SLS, can't use it in toothpaste or shampoo or anything.  I'm already buying special toothpaste for that reason, so I'm certainly willing to consider switching to a different special toothpaste, not a big deal.  

 

Glad you mentioned this, Faithr!  I do like mint, but I'm already making my own mouthwash (I guess I have crazy sensitive skin, but the standard mouthwashes with alcohol really chap my lips) so that part isn't a problem.

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I'm going to be honest with you -- I'm not planning to give up plastic. :)

 

That said, I really appreciate how graciously you have been responding to the posts in this thread, and you have provided a lot of information for us to think about. We have occasionally had similar threads in the past that haven't ended well because someone got mean or judgmental or overly defensive, and it's so nice to see everyone here being so accepting of the fact that we all make different choices for our families.

It's been my experience that the longer a thread goes on, the more likely it is to wind up going off the rails!  I think we are on borrowed time here!  LOL.  No really, I don't want to rile anybody's feathers.  But as you can probably see I am passionate about this.  (Passionate people can be annoying though!)  But I really just am blogging for myself and thought it would be a good thing to share, just to get others thinking about it too.  If people come to other conclusions, I have no control over that!  And I love the perspective people are bringing to the issue.  It is really making me think.

 

Even if you can't give up plastic (and really who can?  I'm typing this on a laptop made from plastic for instance) we all  can reduce or reuse stuff.  That helps too!  Even if 50% of the time you remember to bring your own water bottle instead of buying one, for example, well that is truly helping!  I don't think of it as an either/or proposition.  Everybody just does what they can from where they are right now.  

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Ideally the ideas/tips are practical ones that are fairly easy to do.  Buying very expensive products that are hard to find isn't all that easy to do.  Like most people could find some way to use fewer plastic bags or buy reusable bags, but buying products that will double or triple their weekly food bill is probably not going to happen.

 

Water bottles....I use reusable when possible simply because I think it's crazy to pay for bottled water.  But there are instances where this isn't possible (which makes me mad).  I read an article yesterday that said bottled water sales have now surpassed soda sales.  Ok good news on the health front, but another article pointed out that people are spending money on water when they could be drinking tap water.  I thought sure, but then there are times when it's not available.  For example, I brought water bottles to the airport when we went on our trip and "mysteriously" (cough) the water fountain wasn't working properly.  The water was warm and trickled out so slowly that there was no way to fill any bottle.  I call foul.  So we were stuck buying extremely expensive bottled water!  Grrrr

 

 

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You know one that always gets me?  (and I don't care that much about recycling, etc. compared to some people).  Trash trucks.  Everywhere I've ever lived, there is more than one trash company.  Now they are doing the same routes, going to the same place, doing the same thing.  Why is that not a public utility?  We do we have to have twice (at least!) the driving done just to do the same thing?  If we all had the same trash company they'd only have to do the route once, and surely that would make it cheaper too?  baffles me.

 

Huh, here it IS a public utility. I've never lived anywhere where you had an option in trash service. Ours is via the city, some other neighborhoods are via the county, but you don't get to pick. you get who you get. 

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Huh, here it IS a public utility. I've never lived anywhere where you had an option in trash service. Ours is via the city, some other neighborhoods are via the county, but you don't get to pick. you get who you get. 

I've lived in both places.  In Arlington County it was a utility.  You got one trash pick up a week.  We moved to Fairfax (a much bigger county) and we had to go private.  The thing about all the trash trucks is that they would still need more trash trucks. Whether they are from one company or several, you still need the amount of truck proportional to how much trash they have to pick up!

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Reporting back on the Lush Shampoo bar. I ordered two, a jasmine smelling one for myself and a lavender for my daughter (who has not yet tried hers out). The bars are smaller than I expected and kind of granular. They have an intense smell and I was worried about smelling like a bordello, but my hair retained only the faintest scent of jasmine after the wash. Despite the small size of the shampoo bar, it took only covering both my hands with the shampoo to wash my long (bra strap length) hair and the shampoo lathered up well. My hair was perfectly clean and shiny (I think the bar I chose was a conditioning one). The one I chose for my tween was for oily hair. I ordered the tins to store them in, but mine was really hard to open in the shower. I don't think they are necessary, but would be important for travel. I will be storing mine on a soap dish with raised bits that will let it air dry. I would not store it in the shower unprotected from water. The prices for the shampoo bar on Amazon are much higher than on the Lush website. It was still very expensive, but my daughter has been choosing a fancy liquid shampoo in a small bottle that does not last long at all so we have been using two a month at $6.99 a bottle. If the lush bar lasts a month, the cost will be equal. The bars did come in small plasticâ€seeming envelopes, but the box says they are 100% biodegradable, I am assuming they are plant based. So this change would eliminate two small plastic shampoo bottles a month/24 per year.

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I ordered lush shampoo bars for my daughter and me to try. I did order the tins. I also ordered conditioner bars, too, because I feel the need for conditioner. (Probably not a need, but, well, baby steps!) Ours should be here this week. That will eliminate 2 plastic bottles/month.

 

In other news, I haven't been using plastic grocery bags since the beginning of the year. It's working great. I have also eliminated sandwich bags. My kids do use plastic containers for their fruit for lunch and sandwiches, but the containers are reusable and we have been using the same ones for years for all sorts of different things. (I still use my grandmother's Tupperware, so it's at least not in a landfill.)

 

Not plastic, but I wrap presents in handmade pillowcases, or use canvas bags that we decorate for the recipient. Those are always well-revcevied. Of course, I know that makes the gift more expensive because fabric and canvas bags cost more than wrapping paper. So yes, that is something I am able to do because I have a bigger present budget than most people. And I sew, which I realize not everyone does. So I am certainly NOT suggesting that everyone does this. It is just an idea I am throwing out there.

 

Next, I am going to make some of the cheesecloth produce bags mentioned earlier. I should probably not buy boxed lettuce, either. It would save me money and plastic. And I realize I can easily tear lettuce myself. But I really do like the mix. (And yes, I could but many different heads of lettuce to get the mix, but we don't go through many heads in a week. I could start growing my own I suppose.)

 

Reporting back on the Lush Shampoo bar. I ordered two, a jasmine smelling one for myself and a lavender for my daughter (who has not yet tried hers out). The bars are smaller than I expected and kind of granular. They have an intense smell and I was worried about smelling like a bordello, but my hair retained only the faintest scent of jasmine after the wash. Despite the small size of the shampoo bar, it took only covering both my hands with the shampoo to wash my long (bra strap length) hair and the shampoo lathered up well. My hair was perfectly clean and shiny (I think the bar I chose was a conditioning one). The one I chose for my tween was for oily hair. I ordered the tins to store them in, but mine was really hard to open in the shower. I don't think they are necessary, but would be important for travel. I will be storing mine on a soap dish with raised bits that will let it air dry. I would not store it in the shower unprotected from water. The prices for the shampoo bar on Amazon are much higher than on the Lush website. It was still very expensive, but my daughter has been choosing a fancy liquid shampoo in a small bottle that does not last long at all so we have been using two a month at $6.99 a bottle. If the lush bar lasts a month, the cost will be equal. The bars did come in small plasticâ€seeming envelopes, but the box says they are 100% biodegradable, I am assuming they are plant based. So this change would eliminate two small plastic shampoo bottles a month/24 per year.

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I appreciate the info on the shampoo bars and I hope that those of you who are trying them will report again after you've had the chance to use them for a couple of weeks.  Generally speaking, I find soap to be far more drying of my skin than the detergents that they use in body wash and shampoo -- well, except for SLS.  I can't use SLS because it makes me itch like crazy, but other detergents seems just fine.  So I'm hesitant to try the shampoo bars, but I'm open to having my mind changed if you guys end up really liking them!

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Another area to explore might be electronics. 

In the book I just finished by plastic free guru Beth Terry, she talk a lot about electronics and how to deal with them.  Right now though, I am so overwhelmed that I can only focus on groceries and food.  But little by little!  I think this whole year will be dedicated to trying to reduce in every aspect.  

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I appreciate the info on the shampoo bars and I hope that those of you who are trying them will report again after you've had the chance to use them for a couple of weeks.  Generally speaking, I find soap to be far more drying of my skin than the detergents that they use in body wash and shampoo -- well, except for SLS.  I can't use SLS because it makes me itch like crazy, but other detergents seems just fine.  So I'm hesitant to try the shampoo bars, but I'm open to having my mind changed if you guys end up really liking them!

I used the Liggett shampoo bar yesterday and it left my hair looking great.  I just got the unscented regular bar.  In fact this morning my hair didn't look as greasy as it usually does.  My hair is long and naturally very oily unfortunately.  But I'll have to see how the Liggett shampoo bar works out over time.

 

Greta did you say you made your own mouthwash?  I think maybe it was you?  How do you do that?  If I am switching from toothpaste to tooth powder, I really need a mouthwash and all the commercial ones come in plastic bottles.  Thank you!

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I used the Liggett shampoo bar yesterday and it left my hair looking great.  I just got the unscented regular bar.  In fact this morning my hair didn't look as greasy as it usually does.  My hair is long and naturally very oily unfortunately.  But I'll have to see how the Liggett shampoo bar works out over time.

 

Greta did you say you made your own mouthwash?  I think maybe it was you?  How do you do that?  If I am switching from toothpaste to tooth powder, I really need a mouthwash and all the commercial ones come in plastic bottles.  Thank you!

 

 

My hair and skin have both been really dry since I moved here (to the desert).  But I look forward to hearing whether it continues to work out for you.

 

Yes, that was me regarding the mouthwash.  My crazy sensitive skin cannot handle the alcohol in conventional mouthwash.  There are tons of recipes online, but mine is just super simple, because I'm lazy.   :001_smile:   Which might also explain why I don't measure my ingredients!  I have this 16 ounce bottle that I fill most of the way with water.  I add a little glycerin (no more than a Tbsp, maybe less) and then stevia and peppermint essential oil to taste.  That's it.  Lots of recipes call for baking soda, which I should try.  And lots of recipes call for tea tree oil, which I don't really want to try, because I prefer that my mouthwash taste good.  :lol:

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I used the Liggett shampoo bar yesterday and it left my hair looking great.  I just got the unscented regular bar.  In fact this morning my hair didn't look as greasy as it usually does.  My hair is long and naturally very oily unfortunately.  But I'll have to see how the Liggett shampoo bar works out over time.

 

Greta did you say you made your own mouthwash?  I think maybe it was you?  How do you do that?  If I am switching from toothpaste to tooth powder, I really need a mouthwash and all the commercial ones come in plastic bottles.  Thank you!

 

I will have to try the Liggett and compare it to the Lush as it seems to be half the price. The Lush bars are 55 grams and the website says 80 to 100 shampoos. Liggetts are bigger, 3.5 oz.. Not sure how long they are supposed to last. Liggetts is also a NH company so very much more local for me. So much so, I bet they will be available where I shop. I will have to do a comparison and report back.

 

I also have to say, no matter what you decide to use, these shampoo bars (which prior to this I did not know existed) are fabulous for travel. No worries about spillage in the suitcase or cosmetics bag.

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I like Liggett's, too, although I need conditioner after anything I use. Two caveats: it does include a small amount of palm oil (which some people avoid because of the damage to Indonesian rainforest) and it stings like crazy if you get it in your eye.

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I dunno, I imagine the weight of the milk is enough to make the weight of the container relatively unimportant.  Having it delivered to your house instead of picking up at a store would make a big difference in gas, though - imagine if we did that individually for everything we ate!

 

 

You know one that always gets me?  (and I don't care that much about recycling, etc. compared to some people).  Trash trucks.  Everywhere I've ever lived, there is more than one trash company.  Now they are doing the same routes, going to the same place, doing the same thing.  Why is that not a public utility?  We do we have to have twice (at least!) the driving done just to do the same thing?  If we all had the same trash company they'd only have to do the route once, and surely that would make it cheaper too?  baffles me.

 

 

 

Our trash is a single public utility. One truck comes for trash. On a different day the recycling and yard waste trucks come. If you schedule it, they'll send a scrap metal truck.

 

 

The mention of possibly changing our diets to become more environmentally friendly reminded me of a study which I believe I first heard about here on the WTM boards.  It was a land-use study which concluded "that under a range of land use conditions, diets with low to modest amounts of meat outperform a vegan diet, and vegetarian diets including dairy products performed best overall. " [/size]

 

Here is the study in case anyone is curious:  https://www.elementascience.org/articles/10.12952/journal.elementa.000116/  I haven't read the details, just the abstract and the conclusion.  And I'm not saying this study is the be all and end all of the debate.  But it also wouldn't surprise me if reality was a bit more complicated that simply "go vegan".  (And then there's the whole issue of what kind of diet is healthiest for the human body, but that's a discussion for another time and place.)

 

 

How strict are the strictest vegans? Do they avoid vegetables where the soil has been enriched with "animal products?" Wouldn't this effect the quality of the soil and the nutritional density of the veggies grown there?

 

 

Really, I think a better solution than spending 5 times as much per gallon of milk just to get it in glass, is going to be just buy less milk.  Now, I have 3 young kids at home and they LOVE milk.  Love it.  We go through a lot of milk.  So I completely understand that when shopping for a family you buy plenty of milk because you know they will drink it.  All I am saying is that maybe every so often, you just buy one less gallon and try replacing milk at one meal with tea or ice water or something like that.

 

When my kids were little, a gallon lasted two days. It easily lasts 4-5 now. It was a natural transition for us, so I didn't have to sell it. I do appreciate less lugging of heavy jugs.

 

  

Thank you for such a thorough reply. Man, this stuff is complex. I've read that a huge amount of food ends up being wasted, just thrown away. And I know that this an area where I definitely have room for improvement! Maybe that's the best place to focus my efforts for now: reducing food waste.

The company that delivers produce to your door does give some choice: choose ten items out of a possible 20-25-ish. Some weeks the selection is definitely better than others! And the most desirable items have an additional charge so it does end up being quite expensive.

If I knew someone with chickens from whom I could buy eggs, I would do that too, organic or not!

Cutting back on food waste is one of my more recent projects. I'm getting better, but still waste stuff due to poor planning. My indoor worms probably appreciate it, but the waste of money seems ridiculous and extravagant. I'm trying to guilt trip myself more in this area.

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Cutting back on food waste is one of my more recent projects. I'm getting better, but still waste stuff due to poor planning. My indoor worms probably appreciate it, but the waste of money seems ridiculous and extravagant. I'm trying to guilt trip myself more in this area.

 

Is it too much of a thread derail for me to ask you about the worms?  Do you find this easier or preferable to just doing traditional backyard composting?  Do they require much maintenance/attention/work?

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Is it too much of a thread derail for me to ask you about the worms? Do you find this easier or preferable to just doing traditional backyard composting? Do they require much maintenance/attention/work?

They're no real maintenance after set-up and I think they're better/faster for food scraps once you build up a population. My outdoor compost is mainly yard waste. I get a ton of leaves, so I shred them, then pile them to layer up when I start getting green waste in the spring. My worm bin is where I toss food scraps. I keep a container on the counter for food waste and dump it in the basement worm bin when it's full.

 

They make some impressively rich compost. I'll probably mix it with the outdoor stuff to spread it because it's denser and wetter. Where it gets fussy is when you want to use it. I don't want to sacrifice any worms in the process, so use a combination of light and food to get them to migrate to one side of the bin so I can use the compost on the other. I'm still rescuing random stragglers, but this is a once a year thing for me where I set up a fresh bin for them. The rest of the year I neglect then except to toss in scraps or steal a few cups to make a compost tea when I start my seedlings.

 

I fancy myself a gardener, but I'm actually just new and enthusiastic. This is Year 4 for me. The worms have been foolproof for about three years now. There's actually a Ted Talk on composting that mentions the worms. Lemme find it . . .

 

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They're no real maintenance after set-up and I think they're better/faster for food scraps once you build up a population. My outdoor compost is mainly yard waste. I get a ton of leaves, so I shred them, then pile them to layer up when I start getting green waste in the spring. My worm bin is where I toss food scraps. I keep a container on the counter for food waste and dump it in the basement worm bin when it's full.

 

They make some impressively rich compost. I'll probably mix it with the outdoor stuff to spread it because it's denser and wetter. Where it gets fussy is when you want to use it. I don't want to sacrifice any worms in the process, so use a combination of light and food to get them to migrate to one side of the bin so I can use the compost on the other. I'm still rescuing random stragglers, but this is a once a year thing for me where I set up a fresh bin for them. The rest of the year I neglect then except to toss in scraps or steal a few cups to make a compost tea when I start my seedlings.

 

I don't understand: what is the benefit of composting the food scraps inside if you have an outside heap anyway? If you dump them in the yard, the worms will come and make compost. There will be an endless supply of worms. You can spread the compost with the worms in it, and they will work their magic in your vegetable bed.

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They're no real maintenance after set-up and I think they're better/faster for food scraps once you build up a population. My outdoor compost is mainly yard waste. I get a ton of leaves, so I shred them, then pile them to layer up when I start getting green waste in the spring. My worm bin is where I toss food scraps. I keep a container on the counter for food waste and dump it in the basement worm bin when it's full.

 

They make some impressively rich compost. I'll probably mix it with the outdoor stuff to spread it because it's denser and wetter. Where it gets fussy is when you want to use it. I don't want to sacrifice any worms in the process, so use a combination of light and food to get them to migrate to one side of the bin so I can use the compost on the other. I'm still rescuing random stragglers, but this is a once a year thing for me where I set up a fresh bin for them. The rest of the year I neglect then except to toss in scraps or steal a few cups to make a compost tea when I start my seedlings.

 

I fancy myself a gardener, but I'm actually just new and enthusiastic. This is Year 4 for me. The worms have been foolproof for about three years now. There's actually a Ted Talk on composting that mentions the worms. Lemme find it . . .

 

http://youtu.be/n9OhxKlrWwc

Thank you so much for the information! I'm trying to figure out the best (easiest!) composting system for us. We have a small, suburban yard but it should be big enough for an outdoor system. Right now we just run the yard waste through the chipper and spread it around and let it decompose in its own time. It's not a very efficient method!

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I don't understand: what is the benefit of composting the food scraps inside if you have an outside heap anyway? If you dump them in the yard, the worms will come and make compost. There will be an endless supply of worms. You can spread the compost with the worms in it, and they will work their magic in your vegetable bed.

It's just more convenient for me. My indoor worms are closer to my kitchen than my outdoor compost. I'm almost never wearing shoes and I'm the world's biggest wimp about going out when it's cold or rainy. Then once I get out there I'm digging in a frozen, wet pile and tracking in leaf litter.

 

I cook a lot, so I'm tossing stuff to the worms once or twice a day. The red wigglers also process the food scraps faster than the earthworms outside do. Maybe my local worms are lazier or have more dining choices outdoors? Of course, this is the first year my outdoor compost has been more thought out than a neglected leaf pile :-/ I do put more stuff in the outdoor pile when the weather is nice, but I still bury it so it doesn't draw pests and getting the shovel from the shed is more of a production than using a serving spoon inside.

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Thank you so much for the information! I'm trying to figure out the best (easiest!) composting system for us. We have a small, suburban yard but it should be big enough for an outdoor system. Right now we just run the yard waste through the chipper and spread it around and let it decompose in its own time. It's not a very efficient method!

Originally, my method was bag it all and let the yard waste truck haul it off, but then I started gardening and would pile the leaves in the back yard. I vacuumed them with my leaf blower and piled them up. In a year I had beautiful, loose compost with no effort. But now my garden is expanding and I want it sooner. I have two chicken wire circles out there that are 4 feet high and four feet deep layered with nitrogen and watered. In order to get enough green stuff, I think I have to have a pile of leaves reserved to layer with lawn clippings. I probably end up with enough leaves to fill 100 bags a season.

 

In the spirit of the original topic, I'd love to have this greenhouse made of recycled bottles, but I don't see myself being patient enough to save up the bottles :-/ maybe cold frame covers would be a more realistic goal for me.

 

https://dengarden.com/landscaping/How-to-Build-a-Greenhouse-Made-From-Plastic-Bottles

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