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Month Less Plastic: New plastics tally, week one.

We’re on day 8 of our month less plastic, and here’s what we brought home this past week. I’m not including the plastics we picked up along the roadside the other day, since we declared those lovely finds in my last post.

new plastics from week one

These are the new plastics we purchased or received over the first 7 days of our self-imposed challenge:

Ring from a bottle of San Pellegrino water. I chose this brand to mix with our raspberry shrub because it was 1. On sale, and 2. Looked plastic-free. But NO, there was a ring of white plastic hidden beneath the metal cap.

Broken plastic hanger from the kids’ closet. This wasn’t a new purchase, but it became plastic trash this past week when the hook snapped off (I’m still looking for that piece). So much of what’s in our house is plastic, and when it breaks it cannot be repaired the way an item of another material might be. Nor can this be recycled, and we haven’t come up with any good re-use ideas for it, so it’s off to the landfill.

Crusty old bouncy ball the kids unearthed during their search for bird bones. The girls are freshly obsessed with archaeology, thanks to our friends at Pioneering the Simple Life, and our yard shows the impact of this new interest. They dug down about a foot into the soil near our fence, looking for a long-dead robin’s skeleton, but found only this plastic ball that we don’t recognize. We think it came from a previous occupant, but it’s ours now; it’s too crumbly to play with, and cannot be recycled, so it’s off to the landfill, too.

Plastic wrappers from fruit candies. We picked up our car from the mechanic this week, and the girls were offered two candies each from the office treat jar. They accepted and now we have 4 wrappers. I think Miss M is hiding the wrapper from the cherry candy because it’s “so beautiful”. The others are headed to the landfill since they’re not recyclable.

2 new plastic parts for our car (not pictured). We recently tangled with our friends’ rock wall and lost a couple of the bumper’s bits. Our friends recovered the pieces for us, and our mechanic friend was going to fit them back into place. My parents kindly offered to deliver the car and bumper bits to the mechanic, but along the way, through a classic comedy of errors, they moved the pieces to the roof of the car and drove off. During an hour of searching the roadside, they found one of the original pieces, but the others went missing. So, in addition to needing two new plastic bits, the original bits have joined the island’s ditch detritus, and will eventually find their way to the sound. Maybe someday we’ll pick them up on the beach.

Clear plastic from individually wrapped Jelly Belly jelly beans. I’d never seen these before – Who wrapped each tiny bean?! We brought these home from our friend’s bat mitzvah celebration last weekend. It’s traditional to shower the new bar or bat mitzvah with candies at the end of their Torah reading, and these little fellows were the sweetness we were given to throw at our friend. It was inevitable that a few handfuls found their way into the girls’ pockets. Since this plastic is not recyclable, it’s off to the landfill.

Plastic packing tape with a coating of cardboard. We received a lovely care package this week, and recycled the cardboard box it was packed in (it’s lining the bottom of a new raised bed in our garden). We pulled the plastic packing tape off, and won’t be able to re-use or recycle it, so that’s headed to the landfill.

Polyethylene bag from the raw sugar I bought for our bat mitzvah macaroons. Finally, an item from our tally that is recyclable. Even though I think that recycling of plastics is a sham in the end, it’s all we’ve got for now. I still sort things into my recycling bin and send them off, hoping they’re headed for a longer useful life.

dairy group new plastics from week one

Plastic milk jug and half-and-half carton. I’m working on local, plastic-free sources for our milk. Until I figure that out, we’re still buying the only milk M will drink, which comes in a recyclable plastic jug. The rBST-free half-and-half for my coffee comes in a polyethylene-lined carton with a plastic lid and pull-tab.

re-used plastic bag

Re-used plastic grocery bag filled with peas. Our wonderful neighbors gave us a bag of peas from their garden, and we’ve been eating them with glee all week. We love peas; these are almost as sweet as the candies we brought home, and much healthier. We’ll take this bag with us tomorrow morning to the Bainbridge Barter potluck, just in case there are fresh greens to bring home.

So, that’s our week of plastic. We noticed this same trend during our month less plastic last year, too: The majority of the plastic items we ended up with each week were ones that came free as packaging for gifts and treats, followed by packaging from our dairy products. We don’t say no to gifts, whether or not they’re wrapped in plastic. And there just isn’t a readily-available plastic-free option for milk unless you milk the cow or goat  yourself, straight into a metal bucket or glass jar. Last year, I stopped buying milk and half-and-half during our month less plastic, but this year we’re going to keep drinking it while we look for a less-plastic option. Anyone have a milk cow or goat to share?

4 comments on “Month Less Plastic: New plastics tally, week one.

  1. Our raw dairy here bottles their milk in huge 2-qt mason jars with metal lids. We take them back each week and get another big jar. In Colorado, if you want raw milk you must belong to a “cow share” program. Works for us!

    • I love cow share programs! There are a couple of secret goat shares around here, but I think they’re all off the record; I don’t know if WA State allows them. I’d love to get fresh raw milk in glass jars with metal lids. It’s pretty funny, the things I dream about these days compared with my younger self.

  2. UGH, I was hoping I wouldn’t see that bag on here! For the record, I almost always bring my own bags and if I don’t I get paper. I wish I would’ve quickly put those peas in something else before I gave them to you! K

    • I forgot to include it at first, then the girls reminded me about it…We ALL have these bags in our lives, and I think you get major points for re-using this one, and for growing such delicious peas. Really, the longer we re-use the items, the better. This one has been keeping our peas fresh, and we’ll go on to re-use it some more. I wanted you to give me this one to show that these plastic bags have a way of going round and round, visiting us all.

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