Sunday, March 16, 2008

What I'm Doing to Be Mostly Plastic-Free

I think it's time to provide a list of stuff I'm doing to be mostly plastic-free. Here it is:

1. Bringing my own cloth bags to the store and not accepting any plastic shopping bags.

2. Buying food from bulk bins to avoid plastic packaging. Some of the foods I regularly buy include cereal, granola, rice, nuts, beans, and quick oats. I've also purchased couscous, steal cut outs, rolled oats, Bulgar wheat, barley, and nutritional yeast.

3. Eating more fresh produce since it has no packaging (and is super good for you).

4. Using cloth bags instead of plastic produce bags for my fruits and veggies. I also bring along old plastic grocery bags just in case I'm buying a lot of stuff.

5. Giving up the plastic-packaged convenience foods that I so love, including ramen noodles and frozen pizza.

6. Using vinegar rinse instead of conditioner. Right now I'm alternating between the vinegar rinse and the conditioner I still have and it's working quite nicely.

7. Making my own bread. BTW, why do fresh bakery breads in stores always have a plastic window in the bag? It's so pointless!

8. Making my own yogurt to avoid plastic yogurt tubs. Note: making yogurt is SUPER easy--you should try it!

9. Cleaning with baking soda and vinegar instead of harsh household chemicals that come in plastic bottles.

10. Washing my dishes with Dr. Bronner's bar soap. It works! I'm not kidding!

11. Bringing my own stainless steel coffee mug to the coffee shop. This is important because paper cups are lined with plastic.

12. Bringing along a reusable water bottle or mug for water, and NEVER drinking bottled water.

13. Bringing my own takeout containers to restaurants in case I have leftovers. This sounds embarrassing, but no one has ever even noticed that I've brought my own container except for the people I'm with.

14. Not buying aluminum food cans, excluding canned tomatoes and vegetable broth, which I haven't been able to give up yet. Hopefully, I can/jar some tomatoes this summer and do away with this plastic use, though.

15. Not drinking soda from aluminum cans, although I'll admit that I've probably had about 10 cans of soda since I started trying to go plastic-free. This is a real improvement over my old habit of drinking soda every day, though, so that's good. (Update 3.19.09 - I've been drinking too many cans of soda lately. Arg!)

16. Composting in order to use fewer plastic garbage bags (and because it's awesome). Note that I use 7th Generation bags from a minimum of 55% recycled plastic right now.

17. Bringing my own tupperware container to the store for buying cheese at the deli. Note: One commenter pointed out that tupperware is plastic. Totally true, but I don't want to go out and buy replacements for these containers until they wear out since I think it would be wasteful. Just thought I'd mention it.

18. Having meat wrapped in paper at the meat counter. Sometimes they give me little plastic sheets, though, without my noticing, which is unfortunate.

19. Getting more serious about gardening so that I start canning locally-grown vegetables for use during the winter. This will help me avoid aluminum cans for tomatoes for sure.

20. Buying toilet paper that doesn't come in a giant plastic bag, but instead comes individually wrapped in paper.

21. Eliminating use of paper towels for wiping hands and cleaning. It's all cloth towels and rags for me these days.

22. Eating finger food if real silverware isn't available. It's sounds silly but it's perfectly do-able. One of these days, I'm going to start carrying around my own silverware.

23. Not eating off of plastic plates. Sometimes this requires me to a bit rude and take a ceramic plate from someones cupboard and then wash it when I'm done, but not one has seemed to mind this yet.

24. Always telling the waitress or bartender, "no straw please."

What I Haven't Given Up

1. Aluminum cans of tomatoes and vegetable broth, as I mentioned earlier.

2. Trash bags, which I also mentioned earlier.

3. Organic milk from Nature Valley, which comes in a paper carton lined with plastic. I figure it's way more important to buy organic when it comes to dairy and I can't get organic milk in a returnable glass jar.

4. Medicine, including my beloved ibuprofen.

5. Toothpaste. I tried using homemade toothpaste for a while, but I quit recently because I haven't had a chance to ask my dentist if she thought it was an okay thing to do. I'm using Tom's of Maine now, but I'd like to try homemade toothpaste again when I run out of the tube I have.

6. The occasional box of pasta with a plastic window. It's very hard to find bulk pasta in Chicago, and right now the only two stores I know that sell it are about a 25-minute drive away.

7. The plastic on the underside of metal lids and the occasional plastic seal on the outside of jars.

8. Plastic lids on jars of food. I've gotten pretty good at avoiding these, but I have purchased a few food items with plastic lids when it was my only option.

Future Challenges

1. Running out of makeup. It's gonna be sad.

2. Using the last of my shampoo. I have a Burt's Bees shampoo bar that I haven't tried yet. I hope it works!

2. Using my last disposable razor. I suppose I'll have to buy a safety razor, which scares me.

3. Running out of deodorant. I'll have to experiment with Lush deodorant more.

In Closing
Well, that's a pretty good summary of how my project has been going so far. If you're a regular reader, you know I'm not perfect, and sometimes I fail, fail again, and then fail again, and then fail some more, but in general, I'm definitely pleased with the amount of plastic I've been able to rid from my life since I started this project. Yep. It's been a good thing, and it really hasn't been that difficult. Of course there have been a few challenges here and there, but ever since I initially identified the big changes that I had to make and then figured out how to make them, Life Less Plastic has felt pretty good.

130 comments:

Green Bean said...

Great list. I always love to see what you guys who are really focusing on getting rid of plastic are doing. I'm working on getting rid of plastic too but I feel like I've got so many irons in the fire that I sometimes miss stuff.

I have the shampoo bar - totally awesome! I too wish for more choices in bulk. I can't find much more than basic staples (flour, beans, rice, oats and one kind of cereal) by me.

Anyway, thanks for sharing. I need to double check again to make sure there isn't anything more I could be doing. :)

Fake Plastic Fish said...

You're doing great. I just failed in a really embarrassing way today. It'll show up on next week's tally.

Hey, are you still using Ecover laundry detergent? We just got some today. Had to special order it from Whole Foods because I guess they're not regularly stocking it anymore. Anyway, my husband went to pick it up, and when he got home, he told me they brought out 4 boxes that were shrink-wrapped together in plastic.

So that's how Ecover laundry detergent is shipped I guess. But I think that's probably how most things are shipped, including the stuff we buy from our bulk bins. We can't eliminate all the plastic from our purchases... the plastic wraps and packages before the products hit the shelves. But I just thought I'd share that with you so I would have a partner to cringe with me.

:-)

Beth

Grant said...

This list looks almost identical to my own, with only a few exceptions. My wife and I have only been trying to live plastic-less for a few months, but I think we've made a huge impact so far.

My wife has tried both the Burts Bees and Lush bar shampoos and prefers the Lush brand. If you have a store nearby you should give it a shot.

We also found out yesterday that it's not too hard to get plastic free bread. Our luck at baking our own bread hasn't been too great, so we resorted to store bought Safeway bread during our weekly shopping trip yesterday. The woman at the bakery counter was all too happy to give us a farm loaf wrapped in a paper bag normally used for buying a dozen bagels. Then we put the bread into a large airtight bin when we got home. Easy peasy and no plastic.

Theresa said...

You are sure avoiding a lot of plastic! I've taken a few steps in this direction, but clearly I have a long way to go. One thing I can attest to is how easy it is to make vegetable broth. Just simmer the heck out of veggies that you like, and add some herbs and spices. In a few hours you have soup stock! I put mine in glass jars I have saved, some are actual canning jars and some are jam or pickle or salsa jars, with ordinary lids. It keeps for weeks in the fridge. Even though the lids do "seal" I still keep them in the fridge just in case. It's cheap, easy, tasty and no plastic!

Reenie Beanie said...

I know that you're not a huge fan of recycled plastics either but have you thought about this option for razors?

http://www.recycline.com/products/preserverazortriple.html

Fake Plastic Fish said...

The thing about Preserve razors is that you still have a plastic cartridge to throw away. So even if they themselves are recycled plastic, the waste process is slowed, but the loop is not closed.

Safety razors are not scary. I used one back when I first started shaving my legs as a teenager. Buy the blades from the guy on eBay that I recommended in my post, if he's still selling them. Somehow, they last a long time, don't rust, and you can buy a cardboard box of 100 with no plastic.

http://www.fakeplasticfish.com/2007/08/plastic-free-shaving-part-1.html

LifeLessPlastic said...

Green Bean, I'm getting really close to running out of shampoo so I'll be testing the shampoo bar very soon. Naturally, I'm glad to hear you like your Burt's Bees shampoo bar. It sounds like there is hope for my hair yet!

LifeLessPlastic said...

I'm still using the same box of Everyday 365 detergent that I bought back in November, but I'm planning on buying Ecover when I run out.

Yep, I'm not suprised that Ecover comes in shrink wrap. It always makes me sad to think that tons of the stuff I buy was actually shipped in plastic. I guess that's why I'm glad I'm doing a CSA this summer. At least I will have some idea of how much plastic my farmers use and whether they ship veggies around in plastic, which is obviously a stark contrast to the grocery store where you usually have absolutely no way to find out.

LifeLessPlastic said...

Grant, glad to hear that the Lush bars are good too! Also, I'm jealous that you can find plastic-free bread at your grocery store. That's impossible for me! I have to go to an actual baker for that.

LifeLessPlastic said...

Theresa, I definitely have to try making veggie broth now! I guess I always sort of knew that it was easy somewhere in the back of my head, but I chose to ignore the idea. But now I have no excuse! Once I buy some canning jars I'm going to make up a batch and toss some in the freezer. And then when I have a pressure canner, I can even make jars of the stuff. That will be cool.

LifeLessPlastic said...

Reenie, Thanks for the link! I think I'm going to try a safety razor first and see how that goes. If that doesn't work, though, I'll definitely go with those recycled razors.

LifeLessPlastic said...

Beth, I remember reading your post about safety razors a while back, which is actually how I even knew it was an option in the first place, so thanks for that. I'm relieved to hear that you still find it to be a good option, especially since it does seem a bit crazy. Once I run out of disposable razors, I'll have to let you know how the safety razor is going for me.

Fake Plastic Fish said...

OMG I'm only 43, not 103! Shaving with a safety razor only seems crazy because you are probably too young to remember them. The first time I ever shaved my legs was with my dad's safety razor, back in the late 70's.

But then, advertising convinced me that I needed my own "women's" razor, which was the Personal Touch razor billed as the first razor specifically for women. After that, I wouldn't touch my dad's razor. Not because it didn't work but because marketing convinced me that it was wrong.

Oooo. I'm getting worked up. I think I'm gonna have to write a post about it tonight! Thanks for the inspiration.

:-)

Beth

LifeLessPlastic said...

I had to chuckle at this because it is sooooo true that I have been convinced by marketing gurus that I need to be using special disposable razors (and it's also true that safety razors are a smidge before my time). I mean, it sounds like you're doing fine with a safety razor, but since they last forever, I assume, we've all been convinced that it's simply not a suitable option and we must use ultra-fancy, amazing super-razors to shave.

You should definitely write a post about your success with your safety razor! I'd love to read it!

Trian said...

I get my deo online from Oyinhandmade.com My husband & I both use it and have no funk. The baking soda can be too much for some people though.

I personally hated the Burts Bees shampoo bar. I now get my shampoos from chagrinvalleysoapandcraft.com her soaps don't last long enough for me to buy them from her, but her shampoo bars are great. She doesn't use plastic & doesn't even send a packing slip to save paper! Now if I could just find a solid conditioner!

Michelle said...

On the subject of shampoo, (this is going to sound totally pathetic in comparison to the changes other people have made) I've taken to washing my hair every other day, and I'm thinking about going every 3 days.

This means
Shorter showers= less water. and
Less shampoo. and
My hair actually looks better, although it took a couple days for my hair to adjust (but only 3 or 4)

jen said...

Hello, just thought I'd offer some input on your upcoming dilemmas. Physicians Formula has organic make-up packaged with 93% less plastic, I've never used it and kind of wonder why if they special package one product of theirs why not all, oh well. I used to use (and will return to) a bar of soap on my hair, along with a vinegar rinse, and I loved it. I just used Sappo Hill (?) or something, ie regular soap, that I get unwrapped for .59 a bar, I've never tried a "shampoo bar". For deodorant...I will NEVER return to anything sold as a deodorant....ever. I started using just baking soda in a box with a puff about 8 years ago and it is the best thing ever. I tried some regular stuff a few years ago thinking maybe I was weird and ew. I also use a combo of the same soap I used for my hair, peroxide and baking soda to brush teeth and will never go back to paste lol. I never asked my dentist, but the first time I went after switching he wanted to know what I was doing because my teeth looked great....I didn't tell him just shrugged and gave an inner evil laugh.

LifeLessPlastic said...

Michelle, Quite on the contrary, I think what you're doing is a huge deal--taking shorter showers is great for the environment for the reasons you mentioned and because you're using less energy to heat your shower water. So go you!

I personally have been trying to take fewer showers all together and am down to about 5 per week most weeks (note that I don't sweat or smell too much so this works for me...at least I think it does...um, I hope it does). It's taken a while to get used to going to work without a morning shower, but I usually just put my hair up really securely and completely can't tell that I didn't shower that day. I guess I'm just used to it now...

RLM said...

Congratulations. These are great ideas for reducing plastic consumption, and very well presented.
I have linked to you in my new blog on environmental issues, Wild Orchids for Trotsky (named for an essay by Richard Rorty - the blog is here: http://trostomaten.blogspot.com)
I linked to your composting posts in the resource section of my soil science/Gaia theory post, and also I made a general link to your blog in my most recent post on plastic pollution and the Laysan albatross. So, thanks for a great blog!

Carla said...

I have to second the baking soda as deodorant idea. I've been using baking soda for deodorant for about 6 months and it works great! I just pour a little on my fingertips and rub it on while I'm still damp from the shower... but the powder puff idea sounds like a good one too!

I also use baking soda for shampoo too. You've probably heard of this. But I'm intrigued by the shampoo bar!

Robj98168 said...

Try using Dr Bonners Peppermint Organic Bar Soap for you hair washing- keeps my mane looking good as you can see by my pic!!!

polythenepam said...

Hi I too have given up plastic - see www.plasticisrubbish.wordpress.com - for Rok deoderant soap flake shampoo and pure lush do a solid conditioner which doesnt work for me but others swear by it

polythenepam said...

also forgot to say but yours is a great site and I am writing about it on my site along with any others I can find so the world will know we are a force to be feared - bit too strong? well listened to at least. Any else want to join the list go to www.plasticisrubbish.wordpress.com

stephanie said...

This is absolutely impressive. I am an avid recycler and have been fed up with all the plastic I use and have vowed this year to learn more and reduce my plastic consumption--it's just disgusting. While doing my research I came across your blog. Cheers and happy plastics reduction!

greenmama said...

Okay, so I am soooo *not* trying to be a jerk, but...isn't tupperware plastic? Just wanted your thoughts...b/c in January I invested in a bunch o' Pyrex so I could get rid of my tupperware.
Keep up the good work! Seriously, you rock!

LifeLessPlastic said...

Greenmama, No jerkiness interpreted. It's a good point. In reality, I don't want to throw away my tupperware and buy stainless steel because I think that would be wasteful. When my old plastic stuff wears out, though, I'll get plastic-free replacements.

Based on your comments, I'll adjust how my post is worded, I think...

amanda said...

wow...this is a pretty amazing list!

Lindsay said...

Thanks so much for this blog! I'm on a quest to use less plastic and chemical-ly stuff around the house and your posts on vinegar rinse and baking soda deodorant were really helpful. I come from a family of really sweaty people, so I'll let you know how the baking soda goes... And a tip for kicking your canned broth addiction - I'm in Mpls and all the chain grocery stores carry "Better than Bouillon," a paste for making stocks. It comes in veggie, beef, and chicken and is packaged in a small glass jar with a metal lid (and plastic around the lid, groan) and truly is better than bouillon. Add a bit of the paste to boiling water and it's just as easy as broth from a can.

Julia said...

Is it worth it to buy the toilet paper that is individually wrapped to forego the one plastic bag? Going to only paper is not necessarily the answer every time. I'm all for a life less plastic, but there are some instances in which plastic helps out. Like tupperware, for example. If you use it every day for years, isn't that a good thing? That said, we do use entirely too much plastic and I am with you on the crusade.

Anonymous said...

Love your list. I am also trying to reduce and have used many of your same techniques. If you can stand another veg. stock tip . . . I actually recycle twice! I think it is a waste to use vegetables for stock. I save up all the ends and "non-edible" parts of veggies and fruits from meal prep. These go into a container in the freezer until I have enough to fill a stockpot. These include: ends adn skins of onions, garlic residue from the press, stems/leaves/bits of broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, etc., stems of herbs, stems/seeds/trimmings of bell peppers, apple & pear cores, skins of organic potatoes, wilted lettuce, any veggie that is a little past its prime, but no rotten. No citrus -- too bitter. I simmer the frozen heap covered with water for about 45 minutes; let cool. Strain the broth into plastic containers that can't be recycled or glass jars -- pop into the freezer. Recycle the solids into your compost heap. Everybody's happy!!

Anonymous said...

Another veggie broth option is "Better than Bouillon" which is an organic veggie concentrate that comes in a glass container. In only takes a couple spoonfuls in a pot of water, so it lasts forever. Check it out on http://www.superiortouch.com/btb.htm

Sara said...

I second the vote for Better than Bouillon! I haven't tried the veggie version, but we love both the chicken and mushroom varieties. In fact, the chicken broth got second place in a taste test by Fine Cooking magazine ahead a bunch of the fancy brands! It comes in low sodium and organic. They're just as easy as out of a can, and the jars last FOREVER. Fair warning, I think there's a little strip of plastic around the lid (holding it on? what is it doing there?) BUT it is certainly less waste than buying the cans or cartons every time and you can reuse the glass jar. Also, our regular grocery store has only a smaller size, but CostCo has a giant size jar that has seemed to last forever in the fridge, so that's another route if you want that lid-plastic to go a longer way.

Anonymous said...

Check out the angry chicken www.angrychicken.typepad.com for a deodorant recipe. Haven't tried it yet myself, but it is definitely on the to do list.

Jane O said...

I use a razor I bought from Vermont Country Store, and am happy with it. I do remember before plastic razors.
vermontcountrystore.com

Ashley B. said...

I'd love to hear what you decide to do re: deodorant. Also, what did you decide to do about the tooth brush? It seems like they all have bristles made from some kind of plastic.

Thanks so much for your blog, it is so inspiring. Keep it up!

HeatherE said...

in regards to the tupperware and not wanting to waste it...what i did when i gave it up was donate it to the goodwill. then i know its not going to waste. then i just bought a bunch of pyrex/corning ware. :)

Anonymous said...

Over a year ago we went to IKEA and purchased all glass containers to replace the plastic storage containers. They have a great selection. When I buy milk, OJ etc, I pour it into glass containers. I wrote to all the major companies such as Heinz, French's, etc. asking what they were going to do about plastic containers. I GOT NO RESPONSE. NOT ONE.

Anonymous said...

baking soda is a great alternative for deodorant. Just dust a little one after your shower and it works all day.

angelahirschauer said...

How do I know if my OJ carton is lined with plastic or my canned tomatoes can is lined with plastic?

James said...

How do I know if my OJ carton is lined with plastic or my can of tomatoes is lined with plastic?

Anonymous said...

Phytologie makes a line of great shampoos all packaged in glass bottles....

Anonymous said...

Are you just reducing in the areas of food/bathroom stuff? At first I thought you were completely taking plastic out of your life, and I began to think, 'what kind of computer is she using that doesn't contain plastic?' and 'how does she have wires in her home w/o plastic insulation?' , but now I see you're not that radical, just trying to do your part in reducing what you can. I think that's very commendable :)

Anan said...

Hi,
Very interesting blog :), i wish that everyone can do like you do(at least: Trying ^_^)...
by the way... Why there is still no "Automatic Filler" for our daily foods, drinks etc... ??

Hope to see one day an Eco-SuperMarket :)

Anonymous said...

Try LUSH hair products! You can buy solid shampoo bars and keep them in metal tins. They have an online website.

Jason said...

What you are doing is amazing and commendable. Here are some suggestions (and a question):

- Tom's of Maine toothpaste comes in aluminum packing. The cap is plastic #5, which is recyclable. They say just cut off the threading and throw the tube in the aluminum bin.

- Preserve makes razors from 100% recycled plastic. It also sells refills. I don't know what you are using as shave lather, but you may want to consider shaving oil (e.g. Pacific Shaving Company). Although it comes in plastic, one only needs several drops as opposed to handfuls of cream, as it is very concentrated and does not foam. Because its packaging is so small, it is likely more eco-friendly than all-metal shave lather containers.javascript:void(0)

How do you replace ink cartridges?

Jason said...

Oops, I just read the other comment about those Preserve razors. But, I just though of something else: They also make toothbrushes with replaceable heads. I think, though, I've heard of wood toothbrushes before, but I'm not sure.

Another thing: if you need binders, consider Rebinders, which are made from recycled cardboard and whose covers can be replaced without throwing out the rings.

Anonymous said...

I use the Burt's Bees Rosemary Mint bar and it is excellent!

Side note: You are doing a very admirable thing and you have inspired me to cut a lot of the unneeded plastic out of my life.

Anonymous said...

Hey...Read about your site in TIME and I think it's awesome. Quick question....how do you get the bulk food items home? Do you bring in your own tupperware (yes, I know it's plastic, but I have it already and might as well use it) or do you take it home in paper bags or what? Thanks. :)

LifeLessPlastic said...

Anonymous, I use my produce/grain bags from Ecobags.com to get my bulk bin food home. They work great!

Anonymous said...

I'm really impressed with your quest to be plastic free! I'm on the same quest and got some great ideas from your blog - thanks!

Anonymous said...

I read your article in the time magazine today, and I think it's really the example that you are setting for everybody else. I am also trying to reduce the use of plastic, but as I live in South Africa, a lot of the products you mention in your steps are not availabel here, but I am looking! If anybody could give me some more pointers, it will be greatly appreciated!

Anonymous said...

I think the effort that you are putting into making your life plastic-less is really great! I just have one question though, if you buy meat in bulk, how do you freeze it without using plastic bags? If anyone can help me on that one, I will appreciate it!

Anonymous said...

For makeup, see "Indian Earth" www.indianearth.net. No mineral oil, and no plastic (I believe). Excellent product, easy to use. Your site is encouraging. Thank you. Muriel (Belgium)

Anonymous said...

If you are eating a healthy diet with little or no processed foods, you might find that you no longer, um, stink. (referring to your deodorant habit.) Just try it, and you'll see. If not, you can always use a natural deodorant rock. Great suggestions, thanks! Trying, and mostly smelling like roses in AZ.

Anonymous said...

Love your tips, but what is with sanitary towels? Do you recommend using washable, textile towels instead of the paper ones, that are lined with plastic? Same for diapers?

Joey said...

Your blog is great! I really admire what you're doing!

Someone mentioned the Physician's Formula line of makeup that is organic and packaged in cardboard. I thought it would be a great alternative to the what seems like hundreds of makeup containers that i am going through every year. BUT when i tried to foundation and bronzer, they had a very funny smell. They made my face smell so funny that my boyfriend noticed.

It wasn't necessarily a bad smell, just sort of weird. I bought mine at Walgreens and since i had a receipt, they were happy to take them back even though they were already used.

I thought that was too bad and hopefully some more options for organic/reduced plastic makeup emerge.

Anonymous said...

Read about you in Time today. Great ideas. I have been trying different deoderants for some time now, not to reduce plastic but to avoid parabens. I haven't found anything that works as a great deoderant AND antiperspirant. I'll have to try the baking soda. What are your ideas for trash bags (we reuse the plastic grocery bags)? I've started making bread (not great so far) and freezing it. What do you freeze bread in (I've been using plastic produce bags)?

Angela said...

You can also buy bulk lotion, shampoo, shower gel, carrier oils, etc. at herb shops that you can have put into your own glass bottle that you bring in. If you order glass bottled shampoo online, then you have all the negative effects of transportation to think about.

Anonymous said...

Instead of razors, have you considered making your own wax at home? There are some recipes online which are supposed to work well. I decided to go to a professional last week for my first experience and picked up a lot of tips. Over time (for better or worse) waxing damages the hair follicle so that it stops growing in much or at all. That certainly saves plastic in the future!

AK said...

Hi I have just become green and trying to reduce plastic as part of my personal mission. It's so inspiring to read your blog, and your list has given me more ideas of things I can do for the environment, thank you so much!!

Carine said...

Try the potassium alum as deodorant http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Potassium_alum
Be careful the aluminium sulfate is sometimes called alum: it is not natural.

Anonymous said...

Regarding detergent: use half the amount suggested on the box/bottle. Anything you can stretch farther, will use less plastic and other resources in the long run.

Also, not for any particular topic, I'd like to suggest that those who follow your blog might also be interested in a site about living simply (living simply and spending less, usually translates into being greener): http://www.simpleliving.net/main/

Erja Wiltse said...

About the tooth paste..
I don't think you should worry too much about your doctor's opinion when it comes to switching into homemade toothpaste, after all your practitioner probably thinks adding fluoride to your drinking water is a great idea. It falls into same category as consuming diet products that contain aspartame, which both are poisonous to human body if swallowed(digested). Ever tried equal parts of spearmint, peppermint and oils? Or baking soda mixed with powdered cloves, thickened with peppermint oil? Just saying, doctors are there to treat the problem, not the cause. Maybe you should start treating the cause.

green path said...

Hi, I love your list and found I am already doing many of them but appreciate your figuring out the things I was still working on. I found a deodorant that is in a mostly metal container (the little tube inside is plastic): Burt's Bees Herbal Deodorant.

Also, I don't buy any plastic bags: use wax paper sandwich bags for my kids' lunches, plus line my trash can with newspaper at the bottom like my grandmother used to do (and then wash the trash can every once in awhile) which is helped by my composting.

Anonymous said...

So I just read some of your blog and thought you might "digg" Tucson's "Green Times", though it occurred to me you might contribute to this weekly already. I thought you might be able to give up your "precious ibuprofen" as you noted in your blog, by replacing it with Chamomile tea, and drinking water usually helps headaches as they are sometimes "signs" of dehydration. I believe Whole Foods has drawers of pasta in the bulk area...just thought I would share. And thought it was fabulous your using Dr. Bronner's soap which can also be homemade in liquid form or refilled at a co-op that carries bulk soaps(laundry, dish, etc.) And your probably aware of the Poo Free movement away from using shampoo bottles, but it really results in healthier hair at a lower cost than any product on the market....a lot of ppl use baking soda & apple cider vinegar as a rinse. It's been a pleasure reading your blog, and thank you for enlightening others by sharing your experiences.

Anonymous said...

While I applaud everyone who thinks and acts on what they believe, you all have a long way to go before you will be plastic free. A few things to consider:
cars, trucks, buses, planes, bicycles,etc all contain large amounts of plastic.
Your houses contain plastics - PVC and polyethylene pipes, vinyl windows and screening material, carpet (even wool carpet has plastic backing) Wood floors are covered in polyurethane (plastic). Appliances all have plastic in them. Wiring is coated in plastic, clothing contains a lot of plastic (polyester, nylon, PET) and the list goes on...
I bring all this up, not to refute your lifestyle choices, but to give you more to think about. The conscientious use of plastic makes life better.

LifeLessPlastic said...

Anonymous,

Thanks for your comment. I just wanted to affirm that after a year of reading about plastic and its uses, I know where plastic lurks, and I definitely know that there is lots of plastic in my life that I will never get rid of.

I think the spirit of this project is the idea of not buying NEW plastic whenever possible and being, as you put it, a conscientious user.

Thanks again for you comment!

Anonymous said...

Can you post how to make one's own yogurt please?

Crystal | Studio Rosse said...

i linked this article to my blog...i hope that is ok with you. If not let me know and I can take it off. Good work!
Crystal

Millermouth said...

Have you considered packing chopsticks instead of regular silverware? They'd probably take up less room in a purse and are easier to wipe off with a napkin. Of course, you'd probably have to get a plastic set...

Olcountrylawyer said...

Great list! I'm surprised you're still using canned vegetable broth, though. It's so easy to save the broth whenever you boil vegetables. I pour it into glass jars and keep in in the refrigerator or into special glass containers and freeze it. That way, I've always got some on hand. It's packed with vitamins.

.. said...

Great job! Right now i'm just getting my family to recycle and i sometimes sneak things like Swiss water bottles in but they still sometimes buy plastic water bottles.
Someday i may break them of that habit but i don't know when. But i do know that when i move out in two years i will try to do your list, so keep up the good work!

swettie said...

Great Site...I do alot of what you are doing and some other things as well about the makeup thing I stopped using regular makeup about three years ago for alot of reasons what they put in it and how it is manufactured but I have just recently in the last six months began using this great organic makeup it comes in almost all paper and very little plastic it's from Physicians Formula Organic make-up packaged with 95% less plastic. Also, I replaced those old makeup brushes I had gotten rid of with wood and bamboo brushes the come in hemp and cotton bags they are great I love them I even have one big brush that is in plain metal with a bamboo brush that goes into this plain metal tube for my purse. You have got to try them they are a really good quality brush. So keep up the good fight! ;)

melody said...

you are an inspiration to us all! :)

some tips:
shampoo bars are great. the ones from Lush are expensive but great, and you can buy them unpackaged - zero plastic!

physician's formula has a green line of cosmetics with minimal if not zero plastic in the packaging.

Heart of Stone said...

about taking silverware with you.... walmart sells a hobo tool. i dont remember how much they are, but anyway its a spoon knife and fork made of metal that all fold up together. so you can easily take it with you. BUT im pretty sure it comes packaged in plastic.

Anonymous said...

the idea of using soap bars to clean dishes works great - i will no loger get back to plastic bottles.

Anonymous said...

This is awesome!
In regards to finding an alternative to razor, have you thought of waxing? It is resuable, biodegradable and you won't have to do it everyday!

I don't use any plastic/garbage liners. Instead, I wipe the inside's with paper towel once a week (which is compostable).

For shampoo, soaps and other liquids, we have a great store in Seattle called PCC and I buy those from the bulk section.

Thanks for sharing. I am happy that there are lot of us out there who are thinking of reducing plastics!

Tiffany said...

I know this isn't for everyone, but it is always an option to give up shaving. It's a social expectation that is particular to certain cultures and seen as necessary for certains genders and body parts. The more you think about it, the sillier it is and I promise that once you start paying attention to it, you will find more and more women and girls who don't shave. I haven't gone totally cold turkey though. I would say I shave maybe four times a year and it is always related to formal events. Other than formal gatherings, where body hair is generally taboo for men and women (expect that men tend to have clothing that more easily covers their body hair), I don't worry about it at all. My friends and family have been supportive and I save a lot of money and create less waste than the average shaver. Also, since most people wonder about this, my partner doesn't care at all. He honestly could care less. He finds a lot of the items sold to women as if they are necessary to be a waste of time and money.

Just thought I would throw that out there.

Anonymous said...

Found you via the NPR story today on hair and the no 'poo movement. Great website. Thanks for posting your ideas and progress. I already use Dr. B's for a body wash and will definitely try it for dishes. For body wash, I find that it dries my skin out too much, so I eyeball the addition of some almond oil and shake the bottle every time I go to use it.

On bringing your own silverware - Don't laugh or get grossed out, but in college I used to always have my hair up in a bun. I used "hair chopsticks" (a little shorter than eating chopsticks). There were many times that I found myself eating with my hair sticks...

What do you do about feminine products? I've been toying with the idea of buying a Diva Cup, but no one in my area carries them. Of course, since it's a buy it once, use it forever kind of thing, I could justify the shipping. Have you tried the reusable cotton pads/liners (like Glad Rags)? I'd be interested in hearing what anyone has to say on that topic.

Thanks so much!

Claire said...

Fantastic blog! have you heard of the Baltimore Free Store (www.freestorebaltimore.org) or blackle.com (google with a black background to save energy)?

Bethany said...

Regarding #17 being plastic tupperware...It's also recyclable! So, when it gets old and dingy or cracked it can right into the recycle bin.

Brit said...

I think your site is great. I'd like to comment on shaving. Jason (16July2008) is correct in regards to shaving oil. You can also use olive oil and that will be much LESS expensive and is great for your skin.

I'm a guy and I shave with straight razors and DE (double edge) razors. Another option is to purchace a double edge razor, which is safer than you might think, and spend somewhere around 0.50 a week on a blade, which you can recycle.

Additionally, by using shaving soap instead of cream (you'll need a shave brush), you'll use way less plastic (a small plastic wrapper, some even come in paper). Put the Shave Soap in a metal bowl. It'll last you 3-6 months depending how much you shave. Most shaving brushes come with a plastic base, but i think it's ok considering you'll only replace it every 8-10 years of so.

I suggest you give it a try...

bhn said...

Deodorant -- crystal (a salt) or tea tree oil which comes in a glass bottle. Tea tree is a natural anti bacterial and keeps your underarm bacteria from multiplying (at least this is what I believe happens.) I used it until I went through menopause and it worked great. Of course if you have a maleluca allergy (which is tea tree) it's a no go. Great list.

Mikey said...

I make my own bar soap out of olive oil, palm oil, and some other vegetable oils. I was on a motorcycle trip for three months and I was packing light. That meant I used my bar soap in my hair the whole time. It worked great and I'm sticking to it at home now too. I'm a guy with short hair, about 1". Not sure how it would work if I grew my hair out again. The other nice thing about it is I know what all the ingredients are. Even a lot of the so called natural liquid shampoos have all sorts of unpronouncables. I have a beard, and I don't usually shave my neck but a few times a week, but I lathered up with the bar soap for a shaving lube also.

Brigitte said...

Hi, Yes I do agree with all the comments, what a great blog! I live in Shanghai, China and am also doing a plastic diet! Thank you for the shampoo bar tip, I will be going to Singapore in two weeks and will buy the Lush bar there. I do many of the things on your list. Here are some more tips: I make a big effort to buy natural fiber (cotton, linen, wool, etc) clothes as well as shoes that are all leather (harder to find nowadays, specially running shoes). I also use handkerchief at home to blow my nose and, to answer one of the earlier questions asked by someone, since the last 8 months, I have been using the Diva Cup with cloth sanitary pads and it has changed my life! This has been the most rewarding change I have made in a long time as I have 50% less bleeding and no more blood cloth! the fact that I don't fill a garbage can with all this plastic for a week every month is a big bonus. I have been slowly converting even the most reluctant of my girlfriends! For all of you that are wondering about the pads, I just give it a quick rinse and toss it in the laundry basket - as simple as that! I travel a lot and the Diva cup is my single best traveling item in my suitcase! There are many companies out there and perhaps in the USA you could even find them in health shops. Congratulations to all of you that try to make this planet a bit better!

Brigitte said...

About food storage in the refrigerator: I bought 4 sizes of silicone lids (silicone is made from glass), so when I have left overs, I can leave the food in the bowl and put a lid on, it almost seals it and even seals my coconut bowls! No more Saran Wrap!

Anonymous said...

Heard about you on NPR also. I've been trying to do plastic free for years, and every once in a while I hear a great idea. Thanks for blogging about it.
I've been using Lush for about 6 years now...I love the Karma Komba shampoo bar! We don't live in an area where they make the bar or near a store, so I purchase online for about a year's worth. It's nice to have a stash of these...I also occasionally give them as a gift (to someone who is open to the idea, of course!)
One idea that may not have been mentioned that I do occasionally (it's not a habit yet, like shopping bags)is to bring a Rubbermaid containers or a couple with you when you eat out. There always seem to be leftovers from at least one of us (family of 4)and then now styrofoam to fret over afterwards.
In regards to Rubbermaid containers...while they are plastic, they offer you an easy way to freeze foods. I double batch an awful lot when I cook or bake. They go into the containers and then in the freezer, and next week or month, I don't have to cook dinner (using more energy). Same with baking...double batch muffins, eat some now, some next week. Same with blueberries bought or picked cheap in the summer, other summer produce is a joy in the winter. Some of my Rubbermaid I've used for 20 years, and it still is fine.
You don't have kids, I presume, but there are so many things to think about with children, so here are a few:
BREASTFEED!
Cloth diapers
Teach them the taste of water when they are 5-6 months old. If you start them on juice...it's hard to make the switch to just water. We buy water in 5 gallon jugs and it pours out of a crock. The jugs and bottles can be used for years and years, so that the water is purer than tap.
Packing lunches...a good quality lunch bag with drink containers from either Rubbermaid or other group can literally used for years...both of my girls have very limited trash, unlike their school counterparts.
We use wax paper to wrap sandwiches, rather than plastic baggies. IT's good, too because they have a little placemat when they open their sandwich up, too!
Teach them to walk. If you are in the market to buy a house, one of my considerations was where can we walk to from our house. We bought a house 1/2 mile from our elementary school, and throughout their elementary years, we walked 90% of the time, in all kinds of weather. This isn't a plastics reduction, but oil and air pollution issue. And they learn they CAN walk or ride their bike...they don't need to be driven as many neighbor kids are (sigh!).
As for soap, bar soap is an obvious choice (if you like small bars for handwashing, cut a bigger one in half!). I used to use liquid soap, but too much plastic.
We have cats...litter is purchased in cardboard boxes only.
Laundry soap and dishwasher soap is only in cardboard...thanks for the bar soap tip for handwashing dishes...I'll try that!
I use the baking soda for deo, as does my teen daughter...works fine for us.
I'm a Girl Scout leader, and at the beginning of our troop in 1st grade (they are almost done with 5th now) I purchased plastic cups that we have used for every meeting. I lug in a gallon pure water and they usually drink that up. We did a calculation at the last meeting, and found that we (by using the cups instead of juice boxes)saved about 700 juice boxes from the trash! They were pleased with themselves! (and hopefully learned a green lesson!)
At mine and a few other church goers request, we stopped using styrofoam cups at the coffee hour after church. We have a combo of ceramic mugs and paper cups for people to enjoy their beverages with.

Elizabeth said...

Just thought I would mention if you want to cut out the pasta you could make your own. I make mine, and pop it in the freezer. It is way better and not at much wast. I don't live in a city so thankfully I can even get local flour and eggs.
Good luck to you, it is really interesting on garbage day when you see how less full your trash bin is than your neighbors, it is kinda satisfying, except you wish more would follow suit.

Amy M from Australia said...

Hi, Heard about the blog from the NPR article that was linked in the No-Poo yahoo group. Cool blog and a great thing to do - you've given me inspiration! Some thoughts for you:

#18 - What about taking containers for them to put your meat straight into. They would have to "Tare" the scales but that shouldn't be too hard.
#20 - This might sound weird, but we use cloth baby wipes for our children and wash them with the cloth diapers, so someone suggested cloth family wipes rather than toilet paper. So now when the girls in our house do a pee we use cloth that has been cut into rectangles and throw that into the wash after. We reuse old t-shirts and underwear that way also.
#22 - Army disposal or camping stores usually have cutlery that clicks together. It's very handy to take with you.
#2 on your not given up list - i've heard of people just lining their bin with newspaper rather than plastic, but check with your trash collectors to make sure the trash is compacted and contained after collection so you don't have things flying around the garbage tip.
#2a on future list - what about waxing rather than shaving? or even better, laser hair removal - it's more expensive initially, but once you've completed the treatments then you don't have to worry about any more hair removal.

Birthblessed said...

I take my own tupperware or old yogurt containers for meat-- but mostly we very rarely buy meat.

And FTR my Tupperware is all inherited from Grandma, and probably is all from the 50s, 60s and 70s.

I use reusable bags for everything from the bulk bin, too. Even sugar- I pour it into a glass jar when I get home and wash out the bag.

cloth wipes on the toilet eliminates half your use of T. P.

Make your own laundry detergent with bar soap, washing soda and borax.

I love Burt's Bees shampoo bars but can't find it anymore.

Amy said...

I heard about this blog on NPR. I have been trying to reduce my consumption of plastics for at least 10 years and I find that it is only getting more difficult. I recently had a grocery store associate throw a package of (free-range) chicken at me when I declined the "extra" plastic bag to "prevent it from contaminating everything!"

Great Blog! Keep it up. There are a lot of great bar soaps out there for shampoo, dishes and dog shampoo too!

Fat Cat said...

I believe plastic is bad only when it ends up in the landfill but perhaps I am being naive. My problem is that our local recycling facilities only accept #1 and #2 plastic, so I won't buy anything in a plastic container that can't be recycled.

I also use cloth bags in the grocery and struggle with my endless desire for soda. I recently discovered Mexican Coca Cola, which comes in recyclable glass bottles, and is made with cane sugar instead of high fructose corn syrup. Still, it's not exactly a health food, so I try to limit myself to one a week.

Great blog and lots of food for thought!

Planet Fat Cat

Deepa said...

great list!

I come from India and we use a lot of natural stuff for hair conditioners: hibiscus leaves soaked in hot water and the juice squeezed out works to be a great conditioner; yogurt; egg - Yech! I know but hair looks gorgeous! egg and yogurt has to be washed away with shampoo.

we also use mung bean and shikakai as shampoo

Anonymous said...

Noticed the brands, Burt's Bees and Tom's of Maine. When asked if they use any ingredients from China, neither brand would say "no"--just tell me all imported ingredients were "inspected."

witchy said...

If you pack lunches, do consider reusable bags. Etsy.com has lots of pretty ones, and they're easy to clean. Just do a search for "sandwich bag" :)

Den grønne sti said...

What do u do with menstrualpads?
I live in Norway, and here the pads come with a plastic-coat on the underside. It is also wrapped in plastic.

Lorri said...

For menstral pads - you can buy luna pads, or moon pads (same thing, different name) or you can make your own. The pattern I found that I like the best is at http://www.sleepingbaby.net/jan/Baby/PADS.html. You can make them with PUL or a layer made from a basinet pad to help cut down on leak-thrus if you need to. Hope that helps -

Kirsten said...

Glad to find this blog and that I am not the only one trying to cut plastic completely out of my life. I found this when I was searching for alternatives to liquid dish soaps, and since I already use Dr. Bronner's in the bath, I'll now use it in the kitchen, too.

Two suggestions:

First, regarding platic eating utensils: Try carrying wooden chopsticks in a small cloth drawstring bag. They are smaller than a set of silverware, and work on mot things except soup (and you can always drink that).

As for toothpaste, some people use bar soap. I personally use plain baking soda that I keep in a glass jar, and then rinse with plain hydrogen peroxide, which really has no flavor. Do this for a week and I promise your teeth will be whiter and regular toothepaste will taste overly sweet and gross to you.

Melanie "Gluti Girl" said...

Great post and wonderful blog! I think I would be impossible to completely eliminate plastic from your life, but you are doing a pretty good job of it and have inspired me! Today I just purged my kitchen of plastic storage containers. I can use them elsewhere, but I am going to use glass containers for storing food items. You have given me many new things to think about. Thank you!

lindz said...

I have also been trying to eliminate plastic from my life and a friend showed me your blog.
I always use reused paper bags for my trash and it works fine.

meagan Greif said...

Hello I just found your blog today and I love it! I have question though, you mention LUSH do you mean the national company LUSHUSA.com? I tried one of their shampoo bars and I really liked it, but then I put it in the Skin Deep database, (a database that ranks cosmetics for the toxicity) and it was really bad like 8 on a scale of 10. have you checked out the soap on the database?

Anuradha said...

Hi,
Thumbs up to your efforts in going the anti-plastic way. I too do most of the thingns mentioned here and I am big in composting too ....
Way to go,
Anuradha

Modern Green Living said...

This is a really good list, it's opened my eyes to a lot of things I could be doing, like substituting vinegar for conditioner. And I never knew shampoo bars existed until reading this! It doesn't look like they do them in UK branches of Lush which is such a shame!

Anonymous said...

I’m conducting a short survey to determine what consumers know about biodegradable bottles. It only takes a moment and doesn’t gather personal information.

http://www.surveymonkey.com/s.aspx?sm=fktlqEFDW1aNgZgWodfrRA_3d_3d


Thanks.
Max
http://www.ensobottles.com

Erica said...

Good on ya! I don't drink milk anymore (slowly phased it out, but before I did, I was able to find a farmer's market which sold goat milk in a glass bottle and they let me trade my glass bottle in for a dollar off the next bottle)

As for toothpaste, ever since I was a kid, I didn't like the strong minty fake flavoring, so I used to brush my teeth with just water every so often and a thorough job faked out the parents well enough. I switch back and forth brushing now with toothpaste and baking soda. Good luck in your continued efforts to de-plasticize your life!!

Celeste said...

Hi,

I, too, am glad to see I'm not the only one trying to cut back and eliminate so much plastic in my life. I have to try the Dr. Bronner's on dishes - never thought to do that. Great tip!

Right now I need dishwasher soap, but trying to find a natural one with a neutral ph that doesn't come in plastic.

And also you can brush your teeth effectively with soap. Bar soap only. Been doing it for years. You can even get a mint natural soap - I like that best. Supposed to clean better than toothpaste and be better for your gums, also.

Julia said...

What an inspiring story! I recently took on the zero waste week challenge & then turned it into a 4 week challenge to reduce how much waste my family produces. After 2 weeks our 13 gall. garbage is only half full.

Your tips & ideas are great. I would have never thought to bring my own container for deli cheese!

Can't wait to read more!

Anonymous said...

I admire the desire to use less plastic, but I don't know about showering less often to conserve water. The body accumulates odors very quickly (and not just from sweat!). In order to maintain the same standard of cleanliness, one would need to wash clothes more regularly (or wear them with odors), and washing them uses water. So, what's the point? I'm not going to go around with odors in my nether regions!

Anonymous said...

- If you ever come to London, there's a shop called Unpackaged that doesn't have plastic bags etc and you bring your own and can buy all sorts of things without package !

Should be something similar in america as well . . ?

Lizliterarius said...

Just wanted to point out that #22 just got easier! I was at whole foods last week (buying Dr. Bronners and Castor Oil for my skin care) and at check out they had the greastest little set of bamboo utensils that come in their own cloth carrying kit that can attach to anything with a carabiner clip! Thought it sounded perfect for your needs and would be easy to keep in the car or bag for those meals on the run. I applaud the ideal you're working for and love the tips.

Lizliterarius
http://makinglifeup.blogspot.com

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for sharing this information with the world...nice to know there are many others out there doing what they can to use little or no plastic in an effort to be kinder to our beloved planet.
Jacqueline Milner, Earth Matters
http://cornwallfreenews.com/category/opinion-editorial-letters-to-the-editor-op-ed/jacqueline-milner-earth-matters-environmentalist/

jamiesutter said...

Maybe some one already mentioned this, but in case they haven't, you can use baking soda as deodorant. it totally works but do a skin patch test first to make sure it won't irritate you.

misterhomebiz said...

Nice effort with avoiding plastic usage, i applaud you. I buy a lot of bulk food, but you shuld be aware that most of the stuff you see in the big barrels at your store have actually been decanted by the stocker from plastic containers. For example, my grocer routinely cuts open bags of M&Ms to stock the M&M barrel. they also routinely receive large wuantities of bulk foods in plastic containers, some of which is a much heavier grade then you will find used in the individually wrapped products. I don't know how we will ever get aorund this, but keep in mind by buying bulk, you are supporting the decanting process they use to stock the bulk barrels.

Victoria said...

check out LUSH for cosmetic stuff (including shampoo)

Æthelbera said...

Im currently experimenting with home made deodorant made from baking soda, tea tree oil and witch hazel. It acts as a deodorant quite well, as well as an antibacterial to kill the stink at its source and the witch hazel is a pseudo-antipersperant as it gently constricts the pores(not clogs though).

I also make my own bulk soap with hemp seed oil to cut down on packaging. I don't see why this can't be done with things like make up, though I don't know the logistics of it.

I confess Im crazy about pop though and I've been buying glass bottle pop and recycling the bottles for charity refund, but I think the lid has a sealer liner in plastic.

Edwin said...

At our home we got rid of toilet paper and installed bidets. They cost about $30-$40 each and are attached to our toilet seats. Not only is this better for the environment but actually cleans better, is more hygienic, saves money, and helps when cleaning the toilet. Fancier units run in the hundreds of dollars.

elizabet said...

I'm thinking of doing the same thing! I'm about 50% there.

I second LUSH shampoo bars. I've been using them for years. And I clean EVERYTHING (my hands, the toilet, dishes...) with Dr. Brommers—I love it!

Anonymous said...

For your "canned tomatoes problem": Buy fresh tomatoes and freeze them for future use. You just have to peel them before use (pass them trough very hot water).

Safety razor said...

Used to use disposable razors but now, safety razors and straight razors work best for me. Plus, in my own little way, I am also helping the environment

Make it Happen said...

I just found your blog and I love it! I read through all the plastics you gave up! My husband and I are working towards new "green" ways of living this year!
-Melanie www.givebacktoday.blogspot.com

Trisha said...

If you want to avoid the paper and plastic, try using family cloths instead of paper towels and toilet paper. You can cut up old towels or buy flannel and cut it into 4 by 6 inch pieces and use it to wipe with; use a peri bottle or other squeeze bottle to spray off solid waste and then blot with the fabric. Lots of times we use cloth diapers on our babies but insist on wiping with paper ourselves. Also, using cloth menstrual pads saves a lot of waste that is at least partially plastic. I've been using cloth pads for quite a while and even sell some in my Etsy store. I also sell wipes for babies and family cloth.

Trisha said...

Try switching to cloth instead of toilet paper and avoid the paper wrappers as well as plastic. If you go to Etsy and search for cloth wipes you'll find plenty of them, or you can use wash cloths or old towels. I sell them in my Etsy store. They also do good in place of paper towels. Instead of paper and plastic pads, use cloth menstrual pads. I use them as well as selling them. People who use cloth pads report less cramping as well as lighter and shorter periods.

faithskiJ said...

I love people that are original and follow their convictions. You are totally cool. I have started a blog of "adventures", meaning strange challenges such as not using shampoo, doing the Whole30, and trying to reduce my environmental impact by 90% next year. I am now going to try to follow your footsteps for one of my next challenges :)

A few tips if you haven't already heard: be careful to wash your cloth bags between grocery store trips. I have read that bacteria from raw food can spread easily on the surface and contaminate your future purchases.

I have seen makeup from Physician's Formula that is cased in a bamboo container.

Thanks again for your ideas! I love it.

faithskiJ said...

I also meant to add that you can use baking soda and apple cider vinegar as shampoo and conditioner. That's my current project and we shall see how it goes. But I have read countless blogs (which are listed on mine) of how it worked out really well for other people.

Sleepwalker said...

Great website. I'm not giving up my soda, coca cola can be bought in glass bottles and so can Fentman's http://www.drinkfentimans.com/

There's appletise and J20. I'm all for reducing plastics but I like my juice.

Great blog, will be following. I'm just starting out reducing plastics so I'll learn from you.

marjie said...

Homemade laundry soap recipe:
1 cup grated soap (I make soap, so I use my own, but fels napa works well)
1 cup Washing Soda (not baking soda, should be available in most grocery stores)
1 cup Borax
Low sudsing, so great for front loading machines. I have a top loader and I use 3 Tbl. For front loading machines use 1 -2 Tbl. This stuff really works, I use it exclusivly. We live on a cattle ranch and my husbands clothes get really dirty. Good luck :)

Native American Art said...

Stop eating Raisin Bran haha. My nutritionist says that one of its ingredients is used in making plastic! If I wasn't so lazy I'd look it up for you.

Anonymous said...

Great job less plastic
you have spurned me into action.
I had been thinking just today about the plastic bags in the produce section. I've used cloth bags for some time now without thinking about the produce bags. I'll stick some of the bags I have into the cloth bags to use for apples, etc.

Anonymous said...

Don't worry about the safety razor thing! I've been using one for a little over a year now and I prefer it. You do have to be careful because it is easier to cut yourself though. It makes a great smooth shave every time. I actually went to an antique shop and bought one cheap and I found a box of original blades in another antique place. You can also get blade sharpeners for them. My husband bought me an old shaving mug with a boar bristle brush and everything... It is definately a unique experience shaving now!

I also have been making my deodorant. I searched for so long for one that had ingredients that I was happy with and that didn't have a plastic container... I gave up and just started making my own. I was really skeptical at first but honestly I love it. It works better than the store bought kind. I just mix equal parts of baking soda and corn starch (or arrow root powder). It is not an antiperspirant but it does stop you from stinking. I can be sweating and not smell a thing. It is wonderful!

Jennifer Sakchalathorn said...

I just discovered another product for doing laundry off another blog, Crunchy Betty. We will be giving a try with cloth diapers even! They are called soap nuts, and can be bought at http://econutssoap.com/. The company does seem to strive to use very little plastic, the nuts come in cardboard and the liquid detergent comes in aluminum containers. I guess better than shrink-wrap or giant plastic jugs.