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A life without plastics

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 

In today's world it seems impossible not to be in direct contact with it.  Is it possible to live a plastic free life?  And what are some alternatives and are they safer than petroleum products or plastics? I am so sick of plastic to the point where I can't look at it without being disgusted.  

post #2 of 12

 Yeah we're such a long way for this world to get rid of plastic, but the recycling of plastic has risen quite a bit in the last decade.

You know I worked at a folk festival as a recycling captain, and all the food vendors were supplied with biodegradable silverware and plates.

Beat plastic forks and spoons in the trash!!

 

Some parts of the country we are minimizing the use of plastic bags at the grocery stores. I definitely am. I hate getting plastic bags now. Wish more grocery store would give it a chance.

 

 

post #3 of 12
Thread Starter 
post #4 of 12
Thread Starter 

 Looks like there are more and more movements around the world to biodegradable food packaging.  :)  Go to youtube and type in the search field, biodegradable food packaging.


Edited by seattlite - Sun, 01 Feb 2009 17:03:55 GMT
post #5 of 12

Fake Plastic Fish is a great blog about plastics.

 

In terms of biodegradable food packaging...I actually did some work a while back for the County of Santa Clara, looking into transitioning county facilities from plastic to biodegradable flatware, take-out containers, etc.  It's pretty cool to see municipalities make it part of their puchasing plans and to make it required for businesses to transition.  I know Santa Cruz, CA is doing this.  It's interesting to see big chain places transition.  You would think that if one restaurant could do it, the rest in the chain could.

post #6 of 12

I think its not possible to live wiothout plastic. When it comes to handling garbage, I tend to stick with plastic garbage bags. Some of the grocery stores have banned plastic bags. You can recycle the plastic bags. Some of the grocery stores accept plastic bags. Check out green living tips on how to minimise the usage of plastic.

post #7 of 12

I think it was on the Today Show last month that they talked about the different types of plastic and they told people to avoid anything labeled #7 (also #3 and #6).  Well #7 is classified as "other" and it includes biodegradable and compostable plastic products.  Their reasoning for avoiding it is that if you use it continually or use it in the microwave, that the chemicals break down and are absorbed by your food or beverage and could cause cancer if consumed.

 

I think compostable plastic is a great idea, and if it needs to be a one time use only, then that is okay.  But I wouldn't have gone on national television and told people not to use it at all.  I am also curious whether compostable plastics do contain these chemicals or if they are just lumped with everything else classified as "other."  Maybe it is time for a new plastic labeling system that allows for a separate group of one-time use biodegradable products.

post #8 of 12

I've managed to stop using plastic trash can liners--composting and recycling has made that possible, I stopped using plastic grocery bags ages ago and carry canvas with me all the time, and I'm producing and marketing reusable produce bags.  Many natural food markets and some cities have banned plastic grocery bags but have specifically omitted plastic produce bags from the ban.  Given that most people use 8-10 plastic produce bags per shopping trip and even if they reuse them, eventually they end up in the landfills and never breakdown.  Going bare is an option but not a great one since produce can "escape" and get squished in transport.  So go the next reusable step in ending grocery plastic.  www.l-bag.com is my website.  Looking to have them produced in bulk as right now they are all individually made--a great deal both monetarily and in terms of environmental stewardship.

post #9 of 12

I have been using Corn Plastic actually, it's all biodegradable and you can get just about everything made from it. There is one place I have found to get it pm me if you want a link.

 

post #10 of 12

We can minimize the usage of plastic as much as we can. Recycle and reuse plastic bags, bottles etc to protect the environment. Conservation of natural resources has become the need. Small things like conserving water and energy can also be very effective. Check out this link http://www.bewaterwise.com/tips01.html to know some simple yet inexpensive tips on saving water and energy at home.

 

 
post #11 of 12
I think it's hard but not impossible to live without a lot of plastic. I don't agree that corn based plastics (polylactic acid (PLA)) are the best choice though. They still take resources to make yet have a low melting point so can't be used for as many products and don't last long. AND while they're touted as being biodegradable, it's only under some specific conditions. A recent piece in the Smithsonian pointed out that "PLA is said to decompose into carbon dioxide and water in a “controlled composting environment” in fewer than 90 days" but that a controlled environment is hard to find with only 113 processing plants in the country. So almost no consumers have access to recycling their corn dishes.

Better choices are good old glass and stainless steel food containers - safe and reusable and easily recycled. And I agree with Louana that recycling and composting make plastic garbage bags unnecessary + buying items with minimal packaging. We don't buy plastic wrap at our house, just use containers. We also don't use bags at the store because we have grocery and produce reusable bags. I even have bags for bulk food buys and cloth baggies for waste-free lunches for my son. Plum Creek has some awesome reusable snack bags.
post #12 of 12
When I really look at our world carefully it is hard to do even an hour without plastics.  Polyester and nylon clothing, bags, shoes, underwear--it's all pervasive.  However, I've come to realize that it's not just plastic that's a problem it's single use plastic items which are responsible for a huge amount of waste.  Even if single use bags, for instance, are recycleable, it still takes energy to manufacture the bags and it takes energy to recycle.  Better to get onto the reusable bandwagon--this takes less energy even if made from some oil derivative than single use and recycling.  Every day I consider how I can decrease my use of single use/disposable items and packaging.  I'm thrilled about the cost savings as well.  Don't have to budget for  packages of trash can liners, paper towels, and single use cleaning products anymore!
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