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Floss

Dental floss containers are troublesome because they too have a number of various plastic parts within the floss container that are likely NOT the same grade of plastic.  Thus, most of these containers are tossed into the trash heap.   I have been using Dental Lace for the past year with mixed success.  The floss is biodegradable, but breaks easily while I floss my teeth.  I would say I can go without the floss breaking every other session of flossing. The container is gorgeous! It’s glass with a nice design on the outside. However, I believe the label is a non-recyclable sticker.  I have tried the regular dental lace product as well as a charcoal floss.  I have noticed the charcoal floss is slightly stronger.

Last weekend I found this floss and have been extremely pleased! The floss is made of bamboo and the container is compostable! It took a little bit of work to get the floss through the compostable contraption, next stop but really wasn’t too difficult and I’m off to the races! I’m so excited about the solution and the effective bamboo floss that comes in the compostable packaging that I was inspired to blog about it!  Every choice you make in favor of the planet will make an impact. Give this class a shot and tell me what you think! I purchased this floss while filling up on my bulk supplies from Central Market in Shoreline.

 

Goal accomplished: Only 20 gallons of plastic in 2019!!

Happy New Year!   I am happy to report I did it – I managed to get through the year using just 20 gallons of plastic!   What does 20 gallons of plastic look like?

Like this:

That’s IT.   One ENTIRE year of plastic fit into that little trash bin!  You can’t imagine how good that feels!  My kids and I learned SOOOO much in the process, too!

Where did it come from, you ask?  Let’s find out!

Biggest offenders to smallest:

1. Shipping supplies: 

2. Snack food: 

3. Miscellaneous clear packaging: 

4. Dining out refuse: 

5. Produce packaging:

6. Home supplies (tools, light bulbs, etc..):

7. Health supplies (contact lenses, etc.): 

8. Twine: 

Key learnings (numbering here is wonky… novice WP user… bear with me):

  1. My commitment to reduce plastic led to less trips to the garbage bin.  It would take me 2 weeks, in many cases, to fill my entire (small) kitchen waste can.
    2. It also led to more cooking.  Baking bread, making soups and other meals from scratch, which was a very good thing!
    3. Cheese is quite expensive when purchased from a deli.   I’m still looking for ways to purchase cheese more economically.
    4. Bulk is the way to go!  We ended up giving up a lot of our creature comforts, but survived by finding new bulk snacks we enjoyed or by making our treats from scratch, like these protein bars that replaced my beloved Zone bars.
    5. You’ll carry more containers around with you.  It gets a little clunky, but it’s worth it.  I’m determined to find a better way to organize my shopping supplies, which consist of a variety of jars, empty plastic containers, reusable produce and shopping bags.
  2. Helpful Shopping kit: the following items are tremendously helpful when shopping bulk to reduce the plastic in your life: rubber bands, twisty-ties, sharpies, small and large plastic bags (we’ve washed and reused our plastic bags for the past couple of years), small, medium and large jars.
    7. Dedicated product vessels.  Write the name of the product you’d like to store in your jars on the jar itself.  When you run out, simply take the jar to the bulk food store of your choice to refill. A wonderful way to remember what you need to buy!
    8. I feel lighter.  It feels so nice to significantly cut down the waste  we produce.   Less garbage to handle, using things again feels good.   Walking lighter on garbage day feels so much better.   Easier on my body, and my conscience.
  3. Giving up plastic led to some very cool activities with my kids, like baking our own bread in a Dutch oven or making a humongous pumpkin pie, from scratch, for Thanksgiving, and using a huge plastic pie container from Costco to serve it up.  I assure you I’d have not attempted that otherwise!   It challenged me to do things I wouldn’t normally do, and it felt really good to get out of my comfort zone.
    10. I’m learning to honor the seasons.  Giving up plastic means going without raspberries in the winter time.   This forced me to explore new desserts and enjoy whatever is in season.
  4. Both kids were NOT on board.  My oldest hated the decision to go plastic-free having a strong affinity towards Ruffles chips and Oreos.  These are my decisions and even though I feel strongly about them,  I wanted to honor my kids’ opinions too.   We compromised by having my kids use their own allowance to purchase anything encased or packaged in plastic that fit into the “want” category (like sugary snacks).  She complied, but complained much of the year… until last night.   Something is changing!  She told me how proud she and her sister were of the work I’m doing to raise awareness.   ✅Year made. ♥️
    11.  Berry picking is a new family tradition!  Continuing to enjoy my favorite green smoothie recipe throughout the year requires picking 182 cups of berries!  That’s a lot of blackberry and blueberry picking.  I thoroughly enjoyed the two occasions I spent harvesting berries with friends and family!

    12. Overall quality of life improved.  We eat better, produce less waste and the “slow life” has not only led me to spend more time with family and friends but has forced me out of my comfort zone.  Learning to do things in a different, sometimes challenging, more sustainable way has been good for me.  It’s forced me out of my rote “convenience stupor” and I like that.  I’m more aware and appreciative of the natural rhythms of life.I’ve been asked if,  after accomplishing this feat in 2019, I’d stop.  No way.  It feels too good to live this light.   ♥️

My mission

Every year I like to set big bold New Years’ Resolutions. I mean – goals that seem impossible and really put the fright in me!

I’ve been enjoying a couple of books recently by the inspirational Hal Elrod: The Miracle Equation and The Miracle Morning.  Each book has tremendous advice for making your way, first thing each morning, to realizing your potential and your loftiest dreams.  This brings me to my latest share: my mission.  It scares me to share this with you because it’s very personal. It also brings me joy because I look forward to the day with great excitement that these things come to pass (tips, inspiration thoughts and advice please share!).   Until that time, I hope you enjoy my blog and invite you to join me on this journey!  Every decision to forego plastic, regardless of how small, can make a difference. ♥️

My mission:

Mission:  To help ______(keeping this confidential for the time being out of respect) and other corporations to provide alternatives to plastic packaging for the benefit of our planet.  To work as a Sustainability and Change Management professional to help companies find ways eliminate their plastic waste and decrease their CO2 footprint by 50%.

 

Big? Yes.
Bold? Yes.
But wasn’t it the great Michael Jordan who said “You miss 100% of the shots you never take”?   Yes.  So I’m warming up near my hoop this morning… 2020 is a great year to start.

Last summer  I found this item stuck to the wall of my basement during a remodel.  I’m taking it as a sign it’s time to start taking some shots. 🌏♥️

 

 

Plants and soil

I have a couple of gardening goals this year:

1. Replace the potted plants I killed last year

2. Declare war on my dandelions.

These projects require potted plants and soil, and both of these items come packaged in:

P   L   A   S   T  I  C  !  !  !

What’s a person to do?  Let’s talk about that.

Potted plant options:

1. Get plant starts from a friend who enjoys gardening

2. Buy a larger plant… they are sometimes sold in nice porcelain or terra cotta pots or have their roots wrapped in burlap.

✅3.  Start plants from seed!   This method is the most time-consuming, but let me tell you.  I’ve bonded with these little seedlings!

Soil options:

1. Find out if a Local zoo or farm gives away animal poop

✅2. Find out if there’s a place nearby that sells dirt and ground filler by the bucket or truckload.

I filled 3 large buckets with type 2 topsoil, and it was a bit of work moving them from the car to the shed (and I won’t talk about how one of the buckets tipped over and  now there’s dirt  all over my car)!!

So…. work?  Yes.  But rewarding and excellent way to increase one’s heart rate!

The folks at Ballard  Dirt  Exhange were courteous, knowledgeable and helpful as could be!

Pots:

Terra cotta and metal are gentler on the planet than plastic pots.  You can go a step further and pick out some used pots at a thrift store.  Frankly, I’m always looking for a reason to stop at my local Goodwill!

So…. work?

Yes. But I rate this project high on the adventure and exercise scale Added bonus: Now I know where to go for all of my topsoil needs.  Planting all of my new plants from seed will be kind of a pain, but I’m willing to learn and will continue to look for Earth-friendly alternatives.

🌱♥️.

PS: Added bonus!!  My search for a salt and pepper shaker has finally come to an end, thanks to my Goodwill pot run (plant pots, silly!)… doesn’t get much better than these.  Added bonus: there’s still pepper in the toast, LOL!!

Shampoo

Oh my goodness. Shampoo aisles are teeming with plastic bottles. Their life span is too short (~6 months) and their fragments, once discarded, last for centuries:

Can it really be true that half the plastic ever made was produced in the past 15 years? That a trillion plastic bags are used worldwide each year, with an average “working life” of just 15 minutes? That some nine million tons of plastic waste go into the oceans every year? And that estimates for how long plastic endures range from 450 years to forever?

The answer, unfortunately, is yes— those grim facts, and more, are all true.”

National Geographic, Planet, or Plastic?

There’s another way: shampoo bars!

Not all of these are created equal. I’ve tried two so far:

Ethique:

Pros:

  • Great sample sizes
  • Excellent bamboo container for your bars that protects and enables them to air dry easily so you can avoid the “soap slime” blues
  • Assortment of scents and bars for hair types
  • Cons:
    Left my colored hair dull and lifeless
    Not easy to lather
    Samples disappeared quickly

Lush:

Pros:

  • Amazing scent!!
  • Tin recyclable containers
  • Easy to lather
  • Cons:
    Unbreathable containers increase the “soap slime” factor
    Heavily scented…hazardous to health?

Miss shampoo?

When you’re done with your bottles, rinse them out and take them to your local PCC, Recology store or bulk grocer (I love Central Co-Op on Capital Hill in Seattle). Fill it up with a bulk brand shampoo or other useful bulk soap product, like dish soap! Castille soap is a cool option as you can customize the scent by adding drops of essential oil. I’m down to my last shampoo bottle and will be reusing it – with its handy pump – for dish soap when it’s empty! The way I see it, I can toss it and hope it gets recycled, but there’s a very real chance it won’t (over 40% of plastic is used just once), so I think I’ll let my bottle hang out for awhile and work for me. 💪

Plastic Sandwich Bags

I have a two tiered approach for plastic bags. I’ve had a lot of friends ask me whether I would be throwing away all of my plastic this year based on my plastic free goal. The answer? No! Of course not! The way I see it, the plastic can either continue to exist in a useful way, or exist in a garbage dump. Since it’s going to be around for 30,000+ years, I opt for the former because I would rather keep trying to use it in a constructive way rather than clogging up our landfills. I will use and reuse plastic until it breaks down and becomes unsafe for my family, or a nuisance (holes in the plastic bag that leak what I’m trying to store).

Unhealthy: when plastic sandwich bags are introduced to acidic or oily materials, they begin to break down. When they begin to break down, they can release harmful chemicals into the food you’re attempting to store. I highly recommend throwing away plastic that becomes soiled with any oil or acidic foods like spaghetti sauce.

Onto my 2 tiered approach:

1. Wash and reuse plastic bags.

I know of of 3 ways to wash plastic bags:

  • In the dishwasher (haven’t tried this)
  • In the washing machine (ditto)
  • By hand: my method! I fill the sink up with soapy water and let my bags soak for awhile. After they’ve soaked sufficiently, I rinse them out one by one and hang them to dry on nearby plant leaves I have stationed near my sink. I’ve also taken to putting chopsticks in my plant soil and inverting my bags atop these to dry.

2. Use plastic bag alternatives:

These are my favorites:

  • Glass/metal containers. Baby food jars are fantastic as they present a wonderful “no plastic” option! Daiso also carries some nice small metal square, rectangular and circular options, but their lids are plastic.
  • Etee: These muslin bags are covered in bees wax and pine resin. They hold food quite well and biodegrade nicely over time. Like them quite a bit!

Added bonus: reusing your bags means buying a lot less and this translates to savings over time.  Not a lot, but every little bit counts… it all adds up.

♥️🌱🌎♥️

Airplanes serve 5.2 million plastic cups a day

Plastic abounds on airplanes.  Every passenger receives a plastic cup, sometimes TWO (if you order tea, they hand you one for your teabag!!)that’s promptly thrown away after a few hours.

“Every day, the FAA’s Air Traffic Organization (ATO) provides service to more than 43,000 flights and 2.6 million airline passengers across more than 29 million square miles of airspace. With an airspace system as vast and complex as ours, it is helpful to have an easy-to-reference source for relevant facts and information.”

Air Traffic by the Numbers, Federal Aviation Administration

Solution: Bring your own!  I was delighted to find that when offering my own, they not only filled it up, but I received more when they did!  More water for tea, more tomato juice!

 

Toilet Paper – UPDATE

Purchase from “Who Gives a Crap,” a natural, dye-free, earth-friendly toilet paper wrapped in… paper!

From their site:

“We’re determined to prove that toilet paper is about more than just wiping bums. We make all of our products with environmentally friendly materials, and we donate 50% of our profits to help build toilets for those in need. To date we’ve donated over $1.8m Aussie dollars (that’s the equivalent of over $1,300,000!) to charity and saved a heck of a lot of trees, water and energy. Not bad for a toilet paper company, eh?”

They have an incentive where if you order using this link, I’ll get $10 off my next order,and so will you when you order your TP.  https://www.talkable.com/x/6FPR1p

Happy plastic-free wiping!

UPDATE:  I am down to my last roll of Charmin.  I must admit, I will really miss  it.   But just 1 of those wrappers from my favorite Costco-sized package would take up a significant amount of space in my 20 gallon wastecan I’ll allow myself for plastic refuse this year. Though the “Who Gives a Crap” sheets are not as soft and thick as my beloved Charmin, I am determined to keep my plastic use to a minimum, and you can’t beat the fact that 50% (!!!) of their profits go toward building toilets for people that need them.  ♥️🚽