Thursday, January 26, 2017


India has now banned all disposable plastic in its capital city (here). However, I saw in a comment that this likely won't be enforced. The issues relating to plastic use and disposal are controversial worldwide.

Winter continues; sunshine predicted for tomorrow.
Perhaps I’ve gone on long enough about containers and recycling, but it’s still winter, still cold, still not much happening -- a good time to research and set goals. Hallie’s original premise seemed to be about eliminating plastic altogether, but that’s just not going to happen, so we need to learn to manage. Hopefully, we will have help from inventors, manufacturers, and government entities. Through consumer awareness and participation, we can “reduce, reuse, and recycle,” perhaps with more emphasis on reducing. And meanwhile, as we become aware, we’ll have to toss some plastic, one way or another.

For instance, the other day I cleaned some old plastic Rubbermaid containers out of my cupboard. They say you shouldn’t use it when it looks old, and I had some that fit that category. I don’t think it’s recyclable, though – I know it isn’t in my community – so there it is in the landfill. All I can do is pledge not to replace them with plastic. (I won't have to worry about it for awhile because I just bought a new set six months ago.)

Glass begins to replace plastic in my cupboard.
I love the concept of “reduce, reuse, recycle,” but what is viable reuse? For instance, use (and reuse) of plastic bags for garbage still constitutes throwing a plastic sack into the landfill. Perhaps my biodegradable scraps would disintegrate more quickly if left unwrapped, but then there are other issues. (I like to keep the odor down, and occasionally I have to “dumpster dive” for some receipt I shouldn’t have tossed.) Well, one obvious solution is to be more zealous about composting. I am now seeking a small compost bin for our town house.

Nellie and Bess curled up for their afternoon naps.
I’m sorry to say that I occasionally come home from shopping with items in plastic bags, for one reason or another, and then I return them to the designated bin at Albertsons or Walmart. But I’m thinking that I could re-use those lightweight see-through plastic bags we pull off rolls in the produce department. Even reusing them once would reduce my usage by half. But once used, are they really clean? On the other hand, does it matter when I’m going to wash or peel the produce before eating it? It’s probably more questionable to reuse plastic bags for bulk products. I buy oat bran from bulk stations, but that’s about it.

And did you know? You can buy reusable produce bags. Has anyone tried those? These are the ones I ordered (here). KW


Hallie said...

Why, yes, we have reusable produce sacks. I like them quite well. We got a couple sets of different sizes and they are light enough that I don't feel that I am adding meaningful weight (cost) to my purchase. Also, they are easy to wash, but as you mentioned, I don't worry about it too much because we rinse the produce before eating.

I sort of lost sight of them when we moved, but discovered them in the bottom of a kitchen drawer the other day. Now the trick is remembering them because we're currently trying out grocery delivery, making full trips to the grocery store less frequently.

What I"m willing to do:
- carry my muffin snack in cloth rather than a sandwich baggie (already doing it!)
- start using a safety razor rather than a disposable razor
- switch from a plastic water bottle to a steel one (I did this a long time ago due to the BPA scare. Water in steel also tastes better, in my opinion). I still occasionally use the BPA bottle because I still have it and don't have the heart to discard it.

There are probably other things, but those are a few to note. I know my electronics have plastic components and I don't feel that I can make changes there at this stage in my life. Someday when I'm a hermit living in an off-grid permaculture tiny home, I'll also eliminate electronics.

Chuck said...

What? And leave your little tudor? That will be something to see.

Kathy said...

Hi Chuck! Hi Hallie!

I believe plastic is here to stay, and there's only so much one person can do. The challenge really is to reduce your own plastic footprint, and if you do that, you're doing all you can.

Chris said...

There's not a lot of plastic in my kitchen. I got rid of most of my tupperware years ago and whenever I'm tempted by new sets of Rubbermaid, etc., at Costco, my common sense asks where I think I'll put it. LOL So it remain on the store shelf. We are, of course, proponents of paper bags and hope to keep people employed in the making of them. I'm pondering if there are other places I can reduce my usage, but right now I'm thinking I'm pretty okay.

Hallie said...

Oh, we won't leave our Tudor any time soon. ;)