Lucky for you, the best distraction seems to be another blog contest!
How to Enter – Just submit a comment that shares one of the following:
- One new thing you plan to do to cut your plastic use (don’t worry if you submit a repeat).
- An idea on what we can do on a larger scale to cut packaging waste, be it through better packaging methods, better urban planning, etc.
- Your favorite product on the Reusablebags.com website and what you like about it (an obvious thanks for their sponsorship)
To decide the winner, I’ll do a random drawing from all those who enter.
The entry deadline will be April 6, and I’ll post the winner the following day.
Good luck everyone!
p.s. I was just joking about the thoughts of mortality thing…sort of.
To claim your prize, Heather, just send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks to everyone who participated.
Walmart recently put out a commercial that introduces some seriously flawed logic.
The ad starts out okay. They talk about protecting the Earth and show us a cute little Bissell carpet cleaner that’s made from 50% recycled plastic.
Okay, I’m on board.
But then they try to convince us to buy said carpet cleaners by saying: “If every Walmart customer—all 200 million of us—bought one, it would be like recycling 2 million bags of trash. Now that is some serious cleaning power”
When I heard first heard that, I wanted to pinch my arm to be sure I was awake. I asked myself, “Did they seriously just say that? Seriously?”
Walmart is trying to convince people that buying 200 million new carpet cleaners made of 50% recycled plastic (a.k.a. 50% virgin plastic) is good for the environment?!?! You’ve got to be kidding me!
You know what would be better for the environment? Renting a carpet cleaner or borrowing one from a neighbor, or, dare I say it, buying one used.
But I guess I don’t expect Walmart to share these types of ideas with people.
I do expect, however, that they don’t run around telling people who don’t need or want a carpet cleaner that the best thing they could do for the environment is to buy one.
I mean, seriously! That’s just wrong.
Heck yeah! This was a clear message from my neighbors. It read, “Hey everyone. I’m throwing this thing away, but it’s in perfect condition, and I know one of you will want it.”
They were right.
Immediately, my natural instinct to acquire perfectly usable stuff that other people are throwing away took over. I snagged the drainer and brought it back to my house, where it joined all the other things I’ve gained from garbage picking.
As I stowed my new-to-me contraption away, I happily thought, “How perfect! I really needed a dish drainer.” (I’m moving to a cozy new apartment on July 1. The place doesn’t include roommates with useful kitchen gadgets.)
Yep, because of my find, I was enjoying a nice little high–like the one you get when you chance upon a dollar bill on the ground.
But then all of the sudden my high started to wear off. And I got annoyed.
I got annoyed because people look down so much on dumpster diving. They think it’s gross and dirty, but what these narrow-minded people don’t understand is that it almost never is.
Just like my neighbors, many people leave the “good stuff” outside their garbage cans, making it clean and easy to grab things. That means you don’t have to do anything untoward, yet you still get to enjoy all the benefits:
- You prevent the pollution and resource waste that results from making new products
- You divert “good stuff” from landfills
- You get cool shit for free!
Below are pictures of things that were all once trashed. They are now my treasures. I hope they’ll inspire you to do a little alley hunting yourself and to always leave your “good stuff” on top of your garbage can.
The reasons are many, but today it is because the city has so many cool stores. For example, I just heard of a new place called Green 11 that seems super amazing.
Located on Union Street in the Cow Hollow neighborhood, Green 11 sells organic beauty products and household cleaners that you can buy and take home in your own reusable containers.
Specifically, the store is offering concentrated organic shampoo, conditioner, shower gel, lotion, liquid soap, kitchen cleaners, bath cleaners, and laundry detergent.
In Chicago, you absolutely can’t get these types of products in your own containers. I swear if I had the cojones I’d open a store simply so I could get them.
Anyways, check out the additional pictures below as evidence of how cool San Fran is.
Darn you, San Francisco!
What I hear is something like, “So, Jeanne.”
It’s not a question, but I know there’s more to it. I know what’s coming. I say, “yeeeaaaah?”
Then he asks, “So, when are you gonna write another blog post?”
“Uhh…I don’t know!”
But that’s not totally true. I do sort of know why.
I moved into a new apartment last month and was transported into an anti-blogging state of preoccupation, confusion, and plastification.
Excuse #1: Preoccupation
I spent a good portion of June packing up my old apartment and moving into my new place. Then I had to unpack (Secret: I’m still not 100% done. I have one box to left to unpack and I still haven’t figured out how to organize my closets).
On top of that, it’s the summer, and my usually-super-busy boyfriend has tons of free time, and I went to visit my friend’s farm for a weekend, and I’ve been working on a new photo project. And, and, and.
Excuse #2: Confusion
It is not just the preoccupation. Now that I’m in a new apartment and location, I’ve had to figure out how to shop again. I had to assess the general plastic-free-ness of the products at my new grocery store and figure out the best way to get to a Whole Foods. I had to reform my routine—the exact routine that allows me to be (nearly) plastic-free in the first place.
Excuse #3: Plastic
I’ve used some plastic during this busy and confusing time, which left me un-motivated to write. Here’s a list of the things I recall using:
- A Starbucks ice coffee cup
- Two coffee cup lids
- A carry out container (from delicious thai food)
- Blue corn chips bag
- A few straws
- Two plastic forks and two plastic knives (at continental breakfast while on a mini-break)
- Plastic bag (from cherries at a farmers’ market)
That’s all I can remember for now. I know it’s not so bad, but I felt terrible for each and every one of these things.
Summer Break Is Over
So that’s it. Summer is over, and it’s time to say “adios” to preocccupation, confusion, and plastic.
And it’s time to say “hello” to my blog! HELLO BLOG!
Thanks to Nick for allowing me to make fun of him in this post. If you’ve got time, check out his marketing strategy blog, Never A Lack of Ideas.
A Life Less Plastic reader recently emailed to tell me about a project he undertook—to save an entire year of his family’s plastic usage.
This is what it looked like:
Scott, the plastic-saver, explains his endeavor.
“I heard all the talk about plastics being bad for your health and the environment but wanted to know what my family (single parent, twin daughters) was using. So the best way to do that was gather the facts, save the plastic, and see.”
His result was a decent-sized, although probably much smaller than average, hill of plastic. He laments, “I’m fairly conservative with waste and I still got this big pile.”
“I have [enough] plastic forks, spoons, knives, and straws to last a long time.”
Quite enlightening. Thanks, Scott, for sharing photos and info on your project.
You know what I mean. You’re standing in your kitchen tossing utensils and cans of kidney beans into a box and you come across something you can’t imagine bringing to your new place. Maybe it’s a half-full box of pasta or a stray teabag. Who knows.
Either way, you’re so exhausted that the very prospect of carrying eight ounces of pasta or a half-ounce teabag the thirty feet out to the moving van seems like a serious waste of energy.
I think it happens to everybody, but I’m happy to say that I resisted the temptation to trash everything and start over. Instead, I mustered up the strength, put everything I had into boxes, and moved it all to my new apartment. I didn’t toss a single thing out…except for one mostly dead aloe plant that someone ended up rescuing anyway.
And I have to say, moving those extra few boxes really wasn’t bad, especially when you consider that I probably saved myself a fair amount of money by keeping those useful things.
Mind you, I did give a lot of clothes and shoes to Goodwill, but I didn’t ditch everything in the dumpster.
THIS, I must point out, is more than I can say for the guy who moved out of my building last weekend. I’ve never seen anything like it. The day he moved out, he scrapped the following:
- a beautiful vintage couch (which got rained on before I could put up an add on Craigslist’s free section)
- an antique radio
- a drying rack (this is mine now, I needed one)
- nice wooden hangers
- a bucket (mine now, too)
- a plant stand
- a cooler
- and much, much more
It was ridiculous. He threw away things he surely could have used in his new home, like food and hangers, as well as things he could have donated or sold to other people. It was really sad.
But why be sad? Moving doesn’t have to be wasteful because the following resources and organizations can help you make your next move more eco-friendly.
- Freecardboardboxes.com – Connect with people who are giving old moving boxes away.
- Usedcardboardboxes.com – Buy moving boxes that have been rescued from large companies that might otherwise recycle them or simply throw them away.
- Freecycle – Give your unwanted things to others who will cherish them. Note that people give moving boxes away on this site ALL the time.
- Craigslist – Sell unwanted items or create a post in the “free” section. You can even do this for stuff you’re leaving in your alley.
- Salvation Army
It’s a distant memory now, but long, long ago, I made my first attempt to avoid plastic at the grocery store.
It was an endeavor that changed my life and empowered me to do something different. To take a stand and to show the world (or a least anyone who happened to land on my blog) that creating so much garbage, plastic or otherwise, is not necessary. It’s possible to live a good and happy life without sending 4.5 pounds of trash to the landfill each day.
I’m happy that I started my less-plastic experiment that day, but after almost two years of blogging about it, that must be obvious.
But now I feel I must also admit something. That day was also the start of a horrible reality. That’s right. It was the start of life without cookies.
No Oreos. No Nilla Wafers. No Big & Soft Chocolate Chunk Chips Ahoy.
Life would be cookie-less, or at least I thought it would be until, soon after my experiment began, I stepped into my local bakery and discovered a precious secret—local bakeries make delicious cookies that can be acquired with little or no packaging.
That’s right. A shop that might just be right near your house can provide you with delicious cookies that are better for the environment and help nurture the local economy. Who ever thought cookies could be so good?
The moral of the story: The next time you consider buying a box of Keebler Fudge Shoppe Mini Fudge Stripes cookies, put them down and pay your local baker a visit. You won’t regret it (unless you eat too many cookies, which, actually, you might regret, but I can’t help you with that).
p.s. You can also make your own cookies. Those are good, too.