discussion thread on plastic/trash reduction/elimination

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mntnhousepermi's picture
mntnhousepermi
Status: Silver Member (Offline)
Joined: Feb 19 2016
Posts: 159
discussion thread on plastic/trash reduction/elimination

Most plastic is not recycled, even if it is possible as it is not cost effective. We are having horrible pollution problems, especially in the oceans and waterways. Microfibers from synthetic ( plastic) clothing are also part of this problem as the plastic fibers shed off into the wash water and end up in waterways. We can do something about this. This is a thread to offer ideas, ask for ideas, share successes and frustrations in our journey to see "how low can we go"

 

I will start with the "easy" list to do, I will likely forget some of them, so please add. My hope is that those of us interested in solving this can start by agreeing to not buy all the easy's, then move on from there. And, in learning how to live without these, we can share with people outside this forum, friends, schools, etc... So, we can share in comments ways we have worked around not using these items and what we did instead.

- Never buy a single serving drink in a plastic bottle. Not even water.         Substitutions: Refillable metal and glass water bottles. Buy beverages in cans or glass. Bring a large 5 gallon refillable (yes, it is plastic, there is nothing else on the market yet, and it will last forever and save a ton of single use plastic bottles) water dispenser to the kids soccer practice and games for them to use to refill their water bottles, like the contractors do, like this, you should be able to buy one at your local hardware store https://www.amazon.com/Igloo-Cooler-Five-Gallon-Brand/dp/B0031DARRY?SubscriptionId=AKIAILSHYYTFIVPWUY6Q&tag=duckduckgo-ffsb-20&linkCode=xm2&camp=2025&creative=165953&creativeASIN=B0031DARRY  Bonus: influence your local area to put in more public drinking fountains again.

- Never bring home store bought items in a plastic bag. Not even a multiple use plastic bag.           Substitutions: Bring a bag from home, a natural cloth bag of cotton or hemp or recycled (sewn out of a chicken feed or other pet food bag that is woven poly that you havent figured out how to replace yet). Easy bag to make from an old T shirt, I have done some like this, but I have sewn the bottom seam https://www.mommypotamus.com/no-sew-t-shirt-tote-bag-tutorial/  You can buy canvas bags, a cheap place is Dharma trading company https://www.dharmatrading.com/clothing/purses-bags-and-totes.html?lnav=clothing.html  I seem to forget my bags in the car, or even at home, so if I am not buying much, I just carry it out with no bag. If I have alot, I put the groceries or hardware store items back into the cart, and bring the cart to my car, and unload the stuff into the car with no bags. The cheap reusable bags sold at the store should be avoided, they are synthetic, so add to the plastic microfibre problem, so dont buy more.

- Never use a single use plastic bags in your lunches and kids lunches.      Substitutions: alot of reuseable options you can buy. If you have to have a "throw away" packaging, use waxed paper bags. They still do sell these, at least at health food stores. They work realy well.

- Never get a plastic to go coffee cup lid or clear plastic cup for cold coffee drinks.    Substitutions : Buy refillable coffee to go cups. If you feel realy stuck and have to get a throw away cup, do not get a lid for it. Take a few minutes and drink it there. Somehow humanity survived until the last few decades without so many plastic lids being tossed out daily.

- Check clothing labels, how much synthetic (plastic) can you forgo ? 100% cotton instead of part polyester. Likely you cant go plastic free here yet, but can you cut down ? Wool is much nicer than polyester fleece for outer wear. I use base layers of Merino wool or silk instead of polypro and save the synthetic for the rain barrier needs...

- choose glass jars and not plastic jars.    Mayonaise, mustard, peanut butter, pickle relish, cooking oil, olive oil can all be bought in glass jars. Liquor in glass and not plastic handles. Sugar can be bought in paper bags, if we keep buying it in paper bags, they will keep carrying it. Are there any non-beverage food items that must be bought in plastic ? How many can you find where you dont have to get the plastic ?     Substitution: I now make yogurt at home, I do it once a week. They sell yogurt in glass jars, but that is too expensive for me.

 

Yoxa's picture
Yoxa
Status: Gold Member (Offline)
Joined: Dec 21 2011
Posts: 285
Carry your own spork

Carry a metal spork to use instead of plastic cutlery if you'll be eating in a fast food joint. My colored titanium spork has started some interesting conversations.

That said, give preference to restaurants that use real dishes and cutlery.

When you travel, bring your own shampoo, bar of soap, etc.. You'll have the brand of your choice and you can avoid those single-use toiletries that the hotels provide.

Regarding glass vs plastic bottles, find out what is most likely to be recycled in your area. In some places glass is a lot harder to recycle than people assume.

Quote:

 seem to forget my bags

Yup!

mntnhousepermi's picture
mntnhousepermi
Status: Silver Member (Offline)
Joined: Feb 19 2016
Posts: 159
packaging choices

Seems to me packaging is a larger issue than just recycling. For example, what happens if the item is thrown out or escapes from the system.

Glass is "seen" by the ecology as a rock. If a glass bottle or jar does not make it to a recycling facility, it would break, get weathered, and be tumbled beach glass rocks. Further wear would eventually wear it down to sand, which is what it started out as. The plants and animals are not adversly affected by it, they do not confuse it for something else, it is just "rock".

 Paper is seen in the environment as carbon, as dead leaves or decomposing tree or bush. It can be used as mulch in the yard and garden, used in worm composting bins, etc....

Metals like steel or aluminum. I have never heard of harming the ecology, but I havent heard much either way. usually the problem is what else is with the metal, like a WW2 mothballed ship that was painted with lead paint, or a vehicle with oil, antifreeze, paint. But, it is not the metal, it is the other stuff. a steel can with a paper label has none of those toxins.

Plastics do break down into smaller components and eventually to very small particles. At all stages it is not identified by organisms that try to use it as food. Even the very small pieces are eaten as if they were plankton in the sea, and the equivalent on land by soil organisms. We are then eating it as it is already part of the food we eat, but it has no nutritional value. The ecosystem is very much harmed by plastics in the system.

Local recycling facilities are an interesting item as we subsidize them. So, a municipality like mine has decided to not have trash and mandated to recycle, so they charge more for trash and subsidize some recycling of plastics even though that is not cost effective, they give money to recyclers, it is not recycled around here. They have given up on alot of it, too.

Glass can be reused at home or we could have refillable bottling facilities again, like when I was a kid. It is also straight forward to be recycled. I actually have shower tile in my house that is made 100% from recycled glass, in my case it is window glass breakage from a window company that was used as the feedstock. This is very low tech, they crush the glass, then they put the crushed glass into molds and into the furnace and get wall tile. They did a whole line of CRT glass tile when all the old TVs and monitors hit the recycle stations a few years back. This is like what the fused glass artists do, pretty mush same process and temps.

Yoxa's picture
Yoxa
Status: Gold Member (Offline)
Joined: Dec 21 2011
Posts: 285
Quote:  glass bottle or jar
Quote:

 glass bottle or jar does not make it to a recycling facility, it would break, get weathered, and be tumbled beach glass rocks

Broken glass is dangerous stuff and animals (including humans) are indeed harmed by it. Natural weathering is real but it takes a long time.


Quote:

 refillable bottling facilities

Yes.

mntnhousepermi's picture
mntnhousepermi
Status: Silver Member (Offline)
Joined: Feb 19 2016
Posts: 159
Yoxa wrote:Quote: glass
Yoxa wrote:
Quote:

 glass bottle or jar does not make it to a recycling facility, it would break, get weathered, and be tumbled beach glass rocks

Broken glass is dangerous stuff and animals (including humans) are indeed harmed by it. Natural weathering is real but it takes a long time.


Quote:

 refillable bottling facilities

Yes.

 

Of course, But they dont eat it and starve to death. I am not advocating littering, just thinking about problems caused by it. Avoidance of glass bottles when out and about is a good thing, I live by waterways ! Take your beer to the river and ocean in cans, and take them home when done ! I dont want any of our packaging out as litter or in the ocean, but in my opinion, even though broken glass is dangerous, we have caused ourselves even worse environmental problems with littered plastic. We need to not have any of it littered !

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