Friday, September 26, 2008

Blog Contest: It's Life Less Plastic's Year Anniversary

It's hard to believe, but it's been a year since the day I composed the first Life Less Plastic post and started this blog. It's been a hard road, but it's also been extremely rewarding, in part because of the support so many of you have given me.

As a bit of a thank you and to get new people involved, I've decided to have a blog contest! Everyone is invited to participate.

The prize: A set of five produce bags from Ecobags

How to Enter: Just submit a comment that shares one thing people can do to cut their plastic use. And don't be afraid to be creative. Oh, and don't worry if you submit a repeat. That's okay, too.

To decide the winner, I'll do a random drawing from all those who enter.

The entry deadline will be October 3, and I'll post the winner the following day.

Good luck everyone!


jennconspiracy said...

I like tofu but I don't like the plastic around it. I found a new Japanese deli place in Berkeley that sells tofu - they'll put it right in my own container!

Debbi said...

One way I've reduced the plastic in my life is to quit getting my newspaper delivered daily. Not only am I reducing the number of plastic bags I have to recycle, but I'm not relying on dead trees to get my news.

rachel said...

I've reduced plastic by using canvas bags & Envirosax (although remembering to actually bring the bags into the store with me took some time).

Neal said...

I've switched to using a straight razor on my face. No more plastic cartridges going into the trash.

Sandy said...

I use canvas bags for shopping, and if I forget them, well, if I can carry my stuff, then I do!

Jessica said...

I stopped using plastic bags at the grocery store all together - it won't hurt the potatoes if they mix with the tomatoes!

Ashlyn said...

I use solid shampoo and conditioner from LUSH, which I love. I've just started on my deplasticating journey, and I've been eyeing those particular bags, so I had to enter!

A Slice of the Pie said...

Congrats on the anniversary!

We been making little changes over a long time to ease the transition. I've been phasing out plastic plates and cups, bags and baggies, disposable wipes and cleaning products that are packaged in plastic, and just really thinking about what I am buying and why.

We also use reusable shopping bags, some of which are homemade, or just carry our purchases.

Those are a few things, but there are more. And there are still so many more things to be done.

Anonymous said...

We've switched from liquid laundry soap to powder--we're using Ecover because it uses a little cardboard scoop instead of including a plastic one. (Thanks to Beth of Fake Plastic Fish for this one.)

tcalvin said...

Congrats on the 1 year anniversary!
I've tried to cut my plastic consumption lately by -
- purchasing baking soda in bulk and using it for laundry, household cleaning and hair wash.
- using a stainless steel tiffin instead of plastic for food storage
- keeping a plate, cloth napkin and coffee mug at work, so I'm not tempted to use disposables.

ThreadBeaur said...

Fantastic! I love the cloth produce bags. I use my cloth bags every time I go to the store whether it the grocery store or target! I take my own containers when I go out to eat so that if I have left overs, I don't have to get yet another plastic container! I am currently switching over to the old school glass pyrex. I pick them up at yard sales when I can. I will use the plastic ones that I already have until they completely fall apart!

RGW said...

Congrats on the anniversary, and I've just discovered your blog and love it! I have lots of little ways I've tried to reduce and reuse, here are the three I think most people could do pretty easily -

- If you buy lunch out at work from a canteen or cart, take your own plate or bowl - I've found most places are so happy to use your own rather than their disposable container

- In the same vein - carry around in your purse a compact knife and fork (or bamboo spork like I do!) so you don't have to use plastic cutlery if you are out eating.

- Reusable bags - my favorite are Envirosax - though an expensive outlay at first (though you can get cheaper, these are compact) I bought a bunch and leave some in my purse, backpack, car and at work - so I am never without!

Anonymous said...

We've nixed the sippy cups and kid's plastic plates and bowls in our house. We use Corelle stuff (from the thrift store) so it won't break or just give our 3 year old breakable stuff and coach her on taking care not to break them.

AB said...

I pack my husband's lunch in a canvas lunch bag every day. I use all kinds of different sizes of glass jars (left over from this or that) to pack his food in. Mason jars have a tight enough seal that his drink doesn't leak even if I pack it on its side that day. I also picked up an extra stainless steel fork and spoon at a garage sale for 5 cents. He washes them every evening then puts them back in his bag for tomorrow.

Jesse said...

Congrats on your anniversary!

I've found a beeswax-based moisturiser in a glass bottle at my local health shop; and lip colour and mascara in metal containers on Etsy - these did unfortunately arrive in plastic packets, which I've saved, but when I re-order I'll ask the seller to ship without plastic. And I'm keeping my eyes open for similar products that I can buy locally.

DramaMama said...

Use cloth diapers! I know there's still debate on the eco impact but it will definitely cut down on plastic packaging. Thanks for collecting suggestions =)

tupelo said...

First- Happy Anniversary! I have enjoyed reading your blog.

Like so many others, I've been making small changes. We have eliminated all of the tupperware from our kitchen and only use pyrex or empty glass jars for food storage.

Thank you for the giveaway. I've been eyeing those produce bags...


Anonymous said...

What a neat contest and congratulations!

I use Wal-Mart bags for my smaller trash cans.

Anonymous said...

This is not another entry to the contest on my part, but I wanted to point folks to an etsy shop that sells amazing fabric bags for your bulk items (rice, beans etc). She also makes velcro topped fabric sandwich and snack sacks to replace your plastic baggies in lunches. I'm biased, of course, because the gal who runs the shop is a friend of mine, but I think they are REALLY well made and cute too. I don't think she packages stuff in plastic when she mails it, but you can bet she'd avoid plastic if you ask her to.

PleaseRecycle said...

Hi! Got here via RGW and I am really enjoying your blog.

If you have a baby, it's hard to avoid plastic. Have you ever seen a carseat or stroller without any plastic parts? You can reduce the amount of new plastic you use by borrowing or buying used.

Another tip is to buy frozen concentrated juice- make it up a in a pitcher at home and avoid the plastic bottle.

Anne said...

I use plain vodka alcohol instead of isopropyl (rubbing) alcohol. It works for anything I'd use isopropyl for, and I can avoid buying the plastic isopropyl container.

Fran said...

We've drastically reduced our plastic consumption over the past year, and we're still finding ways to reduce. My 2 favorite, well 3 favorite are as follows...
-cloth diapers (OMG fantastic!)
-cloth zippered bags for items that go in the kids lunch boxes. They hold a sandwich, pretzels, anything really. Much better than Ziplock baggies.
-steel water bottle

Cousin Yellowstone said...

During the months when local farmers sell fresh fruit from their farms, I now eat whole fruits instead of drinking juice. All the juice cartons sold around here include pieces of plastic, so eating whole fruits instead of drinking juice means using less plastic.

I buy nuts and dried fruits from bulk bins, and eat those when I want a snack. I also talk to store managers about what could be done to induce me to buy more food from bulk bins, e.g., putting ingredient lists on the bins that hold breakfast cereal and other processed foods.

I keep my eyes to the ground while out walking. Mostly I do that so I can pick up recyclables and take them home for recycling, but I also find so many plastic bags that I never have to purchase trash bags. Sometimes I find pens, and recently I found a big roll of packing tape. The packing tape's cardboard core had disintegrated in the rain, but the tape itself was still usable. I realize that the plastic bags, plastic pens, and plastic packing tape I've found are (duh) plastic, but the point is that I'm not going out and buying new plastic.

I always, always carry multiple cloth bags with me, no matter where I go. That way, I'm ready if I do any impulse shopping.

I always bring a sealable container with me to restaurants in case I have leftovers.

When I needed to buy a new flashlight, I chose a model that would accept the rechargeable batteries I already owned. The model I had originally planned to buy required batteries of a kind that can't be recharged, and there's no way to buy them except in packages with lots of unnecessary cardboard and plastic. I still feel like an eco-sinner for buying any flashlight, but at least I don't have to buy a package of batteries every few months. Honestly, I was more concerned about the environmental impact of the batteries themselves than I was about their packaging, but the plastic and cardboard packaging were a factor in my decision to avoid new batteries.


I think the contest you're holding is great! However, I already own plenty of produce bags so please don't include me in the drawing.

I am a Monkey's Mama said...

Use Fertility Awareness instead of the pill. :) Not only better for the environment, but better for your body too.

Lisa said...

Reusable grocery bags, stop eating out so much (much of it is wrapped in plastic, etc), and hey - I homeschool so we don't use any baggies anymore for school lunches! :)

ehmeelu said...

Switch to wearing glasses instead of contacts, avoiding all the plastic use to package the contact lenses and solutions.

Jennifer said...

I keep utensils in my desk drawer at work so I don't use the disposable plastic ones there. I carry water with me (Nalgene, sadly) instead of using disposable plastic water bottles people keep trying to give me. I still use plastic containers, but I recycle them!

Anonymous said...

In addition to my knock-off Sigg water bottle, I usually carry a travel coffee mug to avoid disposable cups at coffee shops and at work. Another trick is to fold an empty sugar packet to use as a stir stick (more like a stub, but it works).

Going Crunchy said...

Congrats you! Um, I'm going the things that people mentioned like canvas bags and a refillable water bottle.

- I try to buy only wooden toys for the guys.
-I only get plastic toys if they are used so I don't promote "NEW" plastic.
- We only eat out (rarely anyway) that use real silverware and plastes.
- Look at food packaging choices.

Have fun! Shannon

Sew Bee It said...

I've been looking for a no shampoo option and, imagine this, I found you! I've so wanted to live a life with less plastic in it; I've always struggled with throwing things away. You are really imspiring! I've started making my own cloth bags for the super market but never know what to do about produce. I still end up with all those stinking produce bags! This would be a great way to take yet another plastic free step.
One interesting change for me was to start buying real maple syrup. Not only is it better tasting, without all the gunk, but it comes in glass containers!
Thanks for spending a year on this project... Hopefully it doesn't take me that long to catch up on all that you are doing!

Ruth said...

In order to avoid using plastic cutlery, I used to carry around silver cutlery from home. But that was somewhat noisy and added weight to my bag. So I switched to a pair of chopsticks and only carry a spoon with me in case I am eating soup or yoghurt. It looks cool to eat with chopsticks, too.

Rita said...

I only use fabric bags to go shopping (actually I have made shoppings bags to give my friends for Christmas last year, and the left over fabric got me into patchworking and quilting this years Christmas presents :)

skymetalsmith said...

We have a local Community Market that allows us to bring in our own containers. If you don't bring in your own container then you have to pay for the container! So for instance, if you want cooking oil, you bring in your own bottle. This is also the process of getting refills for Honey etc. I would like to see more places offer this bulk option. It saves so much money for the store because they are not paying for packaging, and it cuts down on plastic being put in the landfills.

areyougonna said...

I send my kids and hubby to school with stainless steel utensils. The schools and his cafeteria both have plastic utensils wrapped individualy in additional plastic. I just stick a fork/spoon in with their cloth lunch boxes and stainless steel water bottles.

Also using reusable menstral products cuts down on packaging.


areyougonna said...

I can't believe I didn't think of this one first...Give birth at home, or at least with as few interventions possible.

The amount of packaging and plastics in each IV kit, epidural kit, amnio hook, etc is staggering and that is before all that stuff causes mom to have a csection which produced even more. A standard hospital birth can fill several trash cans with plastic packaging and used supplies.

Maria, a doula ;-)

Christine said...

#1: don't have kids! (Just kidding, sorta..)
We use cloth shopping bags, metal water bottles, we used cloth diapers (mostly), I take my own travel mug when I go out, try to buy in bulk, sometimes get produce from an organic delivery (everything comes in a cardboard box), diva cup, cloth pads... but we have a long way to go. I have to take one small step at a time or else the sheer enormity of the undertaking makes me want to lay on the floor and weep :o)
Great blog--just what I was looking for!

Jamie said...

-charlie's soap laundry detergent in paper bags
-pyrex glass storage instead of tupperware
-canvas grocery bags
-recycled glass jars to store bulk goods in

chandra said...

We are using stainless steel lunch boxes and glass jars for storage. slowly trying to get rid of the ziploc plastic collection and replacing them with pyrex.

terpgirl23 said...

I accidently stumbled upon your blog one day and I am so glad I did! I am pretty new to this movement and am more in the “assessing my plastic life” phase, then “acting on my plastic life” phase and making big changes. But. I am making small changes (and after all, that’s the way to start anyway, right?).

The one thing that I do to reduce my use of plastic is actually an idea that I got from your site – I use wax-paper bags for food storage instead of resealable plastic. The cool part, though, is that for our family – two full-time working parents and one snack-hungry toddler – it serves multiple purposes. First off, Boo’s snacks go into these bags, so we have stopped using the plastic ones. But there are multiple additional benefits to using these types of bags:
o They are easier for little hands to get into. If I put snacks into plastic bags, they tend to fold back onto themselves once you open them. Plus, they are clear, so it’s often hard for a hungry toddler, who just wants to jam their little paws into the grub to find the right “entrance” into the bag.
o They make great toys! They crinkle, they fold, they bend, they keep their shape, their texture changes….all things toddlers love! Done with the snacks in the bag? Bam, roll it up into a ball! Get some crayons and draw! Make puppets out of them!

So, all you parents out there – get out and find yourself some wax-paper bags! You will be so glad you did.

Cindy said...

We use cloth shopping bags, cloth napkins, cloth diapers (when the kids were babies), metal/glass food storage containers, etc. But to really reduce our use of plastic I'd have to eliminate my husband since he hasn't come 'round yet to the life less plastic. And I'm not about to do that! I'll keep working on him however...

Beth DeSombre said...

I bought a metal coffee cup with a clip on the handle and attached it to my bookbag (which I carry everywhere) so I'm never without a cup when I find myself wanting to drink something.


Allison said...

Aluminum drink bottles, canvas shopping bags, glassware, recycled wood pencils, and shipping with recycled/recyclable paper for cushioning.

Happy Anniversary!

Jen said...

No more water bottles for us! Aluminum, baby.

Lindsay said...

I think its too late to enter, but I have a few things I've done...they may seem small to you and some of your readers but I'm slowly getting in to being more green...your blog was one of the ones that inspired me to start my own

* I use the canvas bags when shopping, and if I forget and get plastic bags, I make sure to reuse them as many times as I can!

* I went "wipeless"--a former diehard fan of clorox wipes and swiffer, I am no longer going to be using these products.

* Making the clorox hard surface cleaner myself (b/c its basically diluted clorox) and eventually as my supplies dwindle, look into using vinegar as a cleaning agent.

Brooke H. said...

First, I scared the crap out of myself by watching "An Inconvenient Truth"...which then led to:
x. Buying a Klean Kanteen, which I love and use all the time!
x. Taking my own bags to the co-op.
x. Using a stainless steel coffee mug.
x. Bring my own silverware to school, so I don't have to use the plastic kind.
x. Bring my own plates and bowls, so I don't have to use the styrofoam kind.

Anonymous said...

Hey Jenn. Berkeley Bowl also sells bulk tofu that you can put in your own container.


Joe said...

OK where to post this?

I (male) do not buy shaving creme any longer.

I maintain a bar of soap and a plastic bottle (with push nozzle) of the cheapest hair conditioner I could find).

So to shave...
(a) wet face with warm water.
(b) apply hand soap to face (Do not rinse off!)
(c) one pump of the conditioner bottle gets me some conditioner, which I apply over the soap.
(d) shave with razor.
(e) when complete, rinse face.

Cheap! Works! Easy!

Anonymous said...

uh. attractive style :))