My Non-Plastic Journey – Unconclusion


Posted by Wendy | Posted in Environmental, Me | Posted on 24-08-2009

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Day 5 was supposed to be my conclusion but I felt it was getting a bit lengthy hence this post.

So after a week of my non-plastic journey I have to admit that I don’t necessarily have one final conclusion (I suppose the scientist in me desires that) but I can say I’ve learned a few things:

  • I learned that the rise in our use of plastic coincided with World War’s I and II1.
  • I was also reminded that plastic is a by-product of petroleum and that without petroleum, we wouldn’t need to find a use for this by-product.
  • I learned that plastic fuels our convenience and throwaway culture.
  • I agree with Katherine Sharpe and her hierarchy of plastic. There are items that have single uses and are extremely wasteful. Then there are items like credit cards, computers and microwaves that seem like a decent use of plastic.
  • I learned there are areas of my life where I can make non-plastic choices.
  • I was reminded of the various types of plastic.
  • I asked a lot of questions.

I suppose this whole experiment was about the journey – what I learned and how it will affect my future choices.

1Fellow blogger’s plastic history entry and American’ Chemistry’s History of Plastic

My Non-Plastic Journey – Day 5


Posted by Wendy | Posted in Environmental, Me | Posted on 24-08-2009

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So it’s been over a week since My Non-Plastic Journey ended and I have yet to post the conclusion. I have to admit, I’ve had a hard time concluding. The thing is, day 5 (official end of my non-plastic week, hey she did it?) was pretty aggravating. Let me recap:

  • 7pm on Day 4 I’m starting Day 5 with a non-plastic shower. I wash up using a bar of soap that is carefully wrapped in wax paper. I then condition my hair using apple-cider vinegar.1 Needless to say I and the upstairs stink like vinegar. Dave and the cats are offended by the smell.

    Cranky level: Low.

  • 6am I wake up the next morning and still smell like vinegar albeit not as strong. Maybe my fruity hair product will cover it up? I then fry my egg in butter. Not necessarily a bad thing but I wasn’t able to use my plastic-bottled ketchup. For those of you who don’t know, it’s my favorite condiment.
  • OK so it’s 6:30am and I’m doing alright. That is until I pack my lunch. Since I work for a food company I’m not allowed to have glass in my lunch bag.2 That means I’m forced to use paper bags to pack my sandwich, blueberries and other food items. I’m annoyed to have two constraints on my lunch.
  • 7:00am All my hair product comes in plastic containers. So not only can I not cover up the vinegar smell with Fructis, I’m also left feeling a bit insecure about my flat and not-put-together hair.

    Cranky level: Moderate.

  • 7:15am I made coffee and thought I had stainless steel travel mugs. Oh I do have stainless steel containers but they have plastic inside – ARGH! I’m left with bringing my coffee to work in our at-home ceramic mugs.
  • 8:00am Can you imagine what happened next? Yup the coffee splashed all over my center console while I was driving to work.

    Cranky level: High.

  • 8:30am While everyone is asking me about my weekend I can only think of the stinky shower I took the night before. Mondays suck already. Why did I have to make this one worse by doing this non-plastic thing?
  • 12pm I need some salt for my lunch so I go for the paper salt packets instead of the plastic salt shaker. Is that really better?
  • 12:15pm My co-worker points out that the binder clip3 I am using has plastic on it. Argh! Can’t I get away from this stuff?

    Cranky level: High.

  • 3pm Time for the afternoon snack and it’s crushed blueberries. Apparently the paper bag doesn’t offer protection for the blueberries. O well, it’s still edible.

    Cranky level: Low.

  • 5pm Absolute elation as I drive home and realize I’m going to shower this smell away with all of my plastic bottles!

    Cranky level: Non-existent.

As I re-read the events of the day I don’t know that I can capture the emotion of how I was feeling. I can only describe it as a day when all the little things don’t go exactly right and annoy you little by little.

It’s really hard to escape plastic.  I suppose that’s where my trouble forming a conclusion occurs. Is plastic so bad?

To Emily’s point, is it really better to throw away all of our current plastic items in exchange for non-plastic, doesn’t that just add to our current problem?

Unfortunately or maybe fortunately, when it comes to the environment it doesn’t seem to be black and white.

1 I know you think I’m crazy but I got the idea from another blogger who was also doing a week without plastic. She was my inspiration for this whole thing.She was also the motivation to count a week as five days.
2For a thorough discussion on the topic, see Day 1.
3I later learn that the clip is made of spring steel.  Score!

Quote on Waste


Posted by Wendy | Posted in Environmental | Posted on 21-07-2009

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“Waste is a natural resource in the wrong place. Change the place or the context and you have usable objects.”
-Daniel Freitag

This quote was taken from a favorite blog of mine, Replayground.