Author Topic: Reducing my plastic consumption  (Read 4483 times)

greaper007

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Reducing my plastic consumption
« on: December 03, 2014, 10:32:00 PM »
I've had it with plastics for non-durable goods.   I bring my own grocery and produce bags to the store.   I never touch bottled water.    And I try to use mason jars or glass tupperware for food storage.   Still, I can't seem to be able to stop using plastic and save money.   

Case in point, the peanuts at costco are considerably cheaper than the ones in the bulk food section at the grocery store.   Yet they come in a plastic container.    The same goes for a lot of items that I buy.    What happened to the ubiquitous cardboard and paper containers from our childhood?    Things that I could at least compost.    After touring the local recycling plant last year it's really mind boggling how much we can't recycle in the plastic department.     Things like clam shell containers are out now because they clog up the machines.    Even the stuff that's recycled often ends up in China or India.    All that diesel fuel is far from carbon neutral.

So, what are you guys doing to stop the flood of non-durable plastics into your homes?

 

markbrynn

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Re: Reducing my plastic consumption
« Reply #1 on: December 04, 2014, 03:35:41 AM »
I have the same problem. Our plastic recycling is the dominant component of our waste.

One comment regarding your example of the peanuts: doing the right thing often costs more. It is because of people's constant drive for lowest prices that better environmental options often get ignored. If you care about your environmental footprint, then why wouldn't you be willing to pay somewhat more to lower it?


1967mama

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Re: Reducing my plastic consumption
« Reply #2 on: December 04, 2014, 03:48:19 AM »
"Zero Waste Home" by Bea Johnson is a really
inspiring look at this very issue! I'm really enjoying it (and borrowed it from the library)!

smalllife

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Re: Reducing my plastic consumption
« Reply #3 on: December 04, 2014, 05:01:55 AM »
One comment regarding your example of the peanuts: doing the right thing often costs more. It is because of people's constant drive for lowest prices that better environmental options often get ignored. If you care about your environmental footprint, then why wouldn't you be willing to pay somewhat more to lower it?

+1

I willingly pay the higher prices to get all dry goods from the bulk bins, the milk in glass bottles, and the refillable shampoo (make my own conditioner, my hair doesn't respond well to baking soda).  Our main source of plastic is meat, for which Bea Johnson has some good ideas.  It's something I truly care about and I vote with my dollars.

NeuroPlastic

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Re: Reducing my plastic consumption
« Reply #4 on: December 04, 2014, 05:16:02 AM »
We've been able to reduce plastic somewhat by getting things directly from the source.  When we were using peanuts, we would buy a 25# box directly from a producer.  The quality was better and the bulk price was good.  We would store them in the freezer (to maintain freshness), or sometimes divide it up with other families.  The same approach can help with meat, too.  If you buy meat by the side or quarter, you can specify how you want it packaged - vacuum sealed (still plastic, but no styrofoam) or wrapped in butcher paper.

greaper007

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Re: Reducing my plastic consumption
« Reply #5 on: December 05, 2014, 10:53:36 PM »
Good replies.   I do try to re purpose a lot of things.   My son is super crafty so we use a lot of old jars for art projects or holding supplies.   

Still, it's fricking difficult to avoid disposable plastic.   I'm glad that I"m not the only one who is concerned.

TerriM

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Re: Reducing my plastic consumption
« Reply #6 on: December 06, 2014, 03:10:05 AM »
Funny that you posted this.  I had an "Ah ha!" moment today when I was checking out at the supermarket and a glass jar fell on the floor and broke.  Luckily it didn't make a mess, but I realized how much money plastic containers must be saving the supermarket in lost goods.

We have a slightly different problem here which is that we have single stream recycling. My understanding is that glass is a bad thing in this method because too many glass shards in the paper can get a shipment of paper rejected which costs the recycler (and the environment) since it has to be trashed.  So I've taken to boxing my recycled paper in efforts to keep it clean.

I wish I had a better solution regarding plastic, but I think the best you can do is make sure that when you have a choice, you choose something else.    You can also, if you drink soda, choose to use cans instead.  But most items, you don't have a choice.

The biggest irony for me, regarding meat, is that it I get pastured meat via a farm share (yes, this is not cheap, so probably not very Mustachian, but it solves a lot of environmental problems and is healthier for multiple reasons), but the meat is sealed in plastic.  Can't think of any way around it as it's delivered frozen and it would probably not last wrapped in paper.  But the irony is getting environmentally "clean" meat wrapped in plastics that are probably leaching something :/

MayDay

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Re: Reducing my plastic consumption
« Reply #7 on: December 06, 2014, 05:28:28 AM »
You people are my tribe.

I am lucky to live near a very environmentally conscious grocery/general store that I can source stuff from. Often it's a big money saver. Sometimes I pay a bit more. They actually do not have bulk bins as bulk bins are a huge source of food waste- which may be part of why the cost is higher.

Anyway my store just sells in 5/25/50 lb bags. Even so there is plastic as most foods need to be in a moisture barrier. But there is way less in a single 25 lb bag than  25 1 lb. bags. Before I lived near this store I was able to order 25 or 50 lb bags of items that were sold in the bulk bins, with a discount.

For me the biggest thing is junk the kids acquire. 

GuitarStv

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Re: Reducing my plastic consumption
« Reply #8 on: December 06, 2014, 08:14:59 AM »
Funny that you posted this.  I had an "Ah ha!" moment today when I was checking out at the supermarket and a glass jar fell on the floor and broke.  Luckily it didn't make a mess, but I realized how much money plastic containers must be saving the supermarket in lost goods.

We have a slightly different problem here which is that we have single stream recycling. My understanding is that glass is a bad thing in this method because too many glass shards in the paper can get a shipment of paper rejected which costs the recycler (and the environment) since it has to be trashed.  So I've taken to boxing my recycled paper in efforts to keep it clean.

I wish I had a better solution regarding plastic, but I think the best you can do is make sure that when you have a choice, you choose something else.    You can also, if you drink soda, choose to use cans instead.  But most items, you don't have a choice.

The biggest irony for me, regarding meat, is that it I get pastured meat via a farm share (yes, this is not cheap, so probably not very Mustachian, but it solves a lot of environmental problems and is healthier for multiple reasons), but the meat is sealed in plastic.  Can't think of any way around it as it's delivered frozen and it would probably not last wrapped in paper.  But the irony is getting environmentally "clean" meat wrapped in plastics that are probably leaching something :/

It's not just the breakage and waste that's avoided.  Plastic weighs much less . . . Which means shipping in plastic reduces the fuel waste associated with glass.  I wonder at the net trade offs between shipping in recyclable plastic vs glass.

horsepoor

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Re: Reducing my plastic consumption
« Reply #9 on: December 06, 2014, 08:22:08 AM »
The biggest irony for me, regarding meat, is that it I get pastured meat via a farm share (yes, this is not cheap, so probably not very Mustachian, but it solves a lot of environmental problems and is healthier for multiple reasons), but the meat is sealed in plastic.  Can't think of any way around it as it's delivered frozen and it would probably not last wrapped in paper.  But the irony is getting environmentally "clean" meat wrapped in plastics that are probably leaching something :/

It's fine for a year wrapped in paper.  The place that processed our beef and lamb this fall offered paper of vacuum pack for an extra surcharge, and said to do paper unless you need it to last more than a year.  Also, the vacuum pack seals fail occasionally, leading to freezer burned meat.  Maybe you could contact your farm share and express your concerns and see if you can get paper wrap next time.


TerriM

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Re: Reducing my plastic consumption
« Reply #10 on: December 06, 2014, 09:16:03 AM »
For me the biggest thing is junk the kids acquire.

Yeah!!!!  The $1 crap from China for birthday gift bags and Halloween parties drives me NUTS.  I'm at a point of "regifting" some of this stuff at the next Halloween.

I used to be all about no candy for toddlers, but now I feel like "at least it's better than the $1 unrecyclable plastic crap."  That's pretty low.

TerriM

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Re: Reducing my plastic consumption
« Reply #11 on: December 06, 2014, 09:20:12 AM »
The biggest irony for me, regarding meat, is that it I get pastured meat via a farm share (yes, this is not cheap, so probably not very Mustachian, but it solves a lot of environmental problems and is healthier for multiple reasons), but the meat is sealed in plastic.  Can't think of any way around it as it's delivered frozen and it would probably not last wrapped in paper.  But the irony is getting environmentally "clean" meat wrapped in plastics that are probably leaching something :/

It's fine for a year wrapped in paper.  The place that processed our beef and lamb this fall offered paper of vacuum pack for an extra surcharge, and said to do paper unless you need it to last more than a year.  Also, the vacuum pack seals fail occasionally, leading to freezer burned meat.  Maybe you could contact your farm share and express your concerns and see if you can get paper wrap next time.

Interesting.  Thanks.  I will write them and see what their thoughts are.

1967mama

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Re: Reducing my plastic consumption
« Reply #12 on: December 06, 2014, 01:03:49 PM »
I have my beef from the farm in paper this year, and have in the past as well. It is just fine at 1 year plus a few more months.