Wednesday, May 21

Noitalever: Long Day

The Burt's Bees Rosemary Mint Shampoo Bar that I purchased in Moscow may smell wonderful, but it is crappy. It worketh not at all. The reason for this, says Karen, is that it lacks shampoo's active ingredient. It left my hair just...grime-y. It gets an "A" for effort, though. I wrote Burt's Bees and they have promised to send me a product of equal value (I selected the Radiance Exfoliating Bath Bar because it intrigues me and is packaged in cardboard) as compensation.

I found out in this same correspondence that Burt's Bees is replacing the plastic seals on their lip balm (the non-tube kind) with paper ones. Burt's Bees is out of Durham, NC (where I'm going this summer), so if I can I want to go get products like these at some sort of reduced rate. I might do some sort of contest and give some away here.

Anyway, I seriously digressed from my point: I was on a mission. I needed to find replacement shampoo. I went to Natural Living in Lebanon, and was pleased with their overall store. It had a lot more stuff than I'd ever thought...I'd only been in there once before. They can order stuff, so if you're stranded in Lebanon due to high gas prices, perhaps a good option would be to work with Natural Living. One of their struggles right now is publicity, so we seriously need to let them know that we appreciate their efforts and we know that they're there (did you see that? All three homophones! That was hard to type!).

I did not find another brand of bar shampoo there, or shampoo in bulk. I was reluctant to try another bar anyway, so I tried to think around that. If I bought in bulk, I'd need a container to put it in. When I went to Goodwill on Tuesday, I found some canning jars that I plan to use until I can afford something different and more purpose-oriented. I also found two more canvas bags for groceries. One has a cow on it and says "potatoes." I kid you not.

I went to the Corvallis Co-Op today with Karen. I struck gold! Seriously. They carry three brands of shampoo in bulk. I chose the cheapest one after Karen confirmed that it had that special ingredient that would actually make my hair clean. I put it in my coffee cup from PDX because it's all I had...and they let me, so yay for them. I cannot remember the brand, and that's MY BAD, but you must forgive me...I was lacking in sleep. If this shampoo is successful, I will figure out what brand it is and pimp it like no tomorrow.

I was very pleased with the Corvallis Co-Op's attention to detail. For example, they had new plastic containers, but also an assortment of glass containers in every shape and size (almost). Additionally, they had used containers that had been sterilized for putting bulk food in for transit. I was won over when I found that I could buy Ketchup and Mustard in bulk. I don't use either, but the idea that I could really impressed me.

I was not very pleased with the prices. For example, the Eco-Dent Floss was twice as much in Corvallis as I'd paid in Moscow. However, I will take into account that everything is cheaper in Moscow. Still, I felt that the prices were still fairly reasonable based on how clean the store was, how helpful the people were, and how wide a selection that they stocked.

Much later today, Karen and I went grocery shopping at Safeway. I brought my own bag, but Karen had a hard time putting vegetables straight into the cart/bag. She confirmed an idea that had been floating around in my head - there is need for smaller canvas bags (in addition to the grocery bags) to replace the plastic veggie bags. I went to Wal-Mart on my way home and picked out lengths of four different 100% cotton, utilitarian fabrics. I made Karen (and J'Aime, just for kicks) an assortment of drawstring bags for fruits and veggies, or really whatever she wants to put in them. I plan to make some grocery bags too, but I have to do those by hand - they'll take longer.

Oh...BTW, I got cocktail glasses for the shindig at Goodwill. They are actual glass, but I figure J'Aime can keep them or whatever for future fun. And they're mismatched because I found some cool, one-of-a-kind ones there and I didn't want the other five or six to match except for those.

So? Less Plastic? Yes...slow and steady.

Monday, May 5

Noitalever: How We Will Make It Happen

So, I have been thinking for the last day and a half about how to integrate Less Plastic living into my current habits. I think that the best approach for me is this conscious, slow integration instead of the "cold turkey" approach taken by many.

First off, I realize that there are many things that won't change in my lifestyle anytime soon. I will not give up my contacts, a choice which requires me to also keep buying contact solution (plastic bottle). I also refuse to obsess over clothing choices - rayon, nylon, etc are all plastic-based. I wear mostly 100% cotton clothing anyway, but I won't go out of my way to change this at this point in the game.

However, some changes will come easily and naturally.

My first "target area" is personal hygiene because this is the area in which I buy the most bottled-in-plastic/plastic-packaged goods and also an area which has a use&toss mentality (compared to my coffee pot, which will live for a long time).

This week, I ran out of dental floss, shampoo, and facewash. Today, I went to the Co-op and purchased:

Burt's Bees Rosemary Mint Shampoo Bar (cardboard box) - $6
Burt's Bees Garden Tomato Complexion Soap (again, cardboard box) -$5 (less than my current facewash...)
Eco-Dent Floss $3

The floss is the most interesting, in my opinion. It's package (cardboard) converted to the little floss holder, and it has 100 yds of floss! (much more than regular containers of floss) It was also very inexpensive.

My other "target area" is the ol' "Bring Your Own Bag" game. Today, I purchased two canvas bags (at $5 apiece - not bad at all!) for this adventure.

The next things that I will replace, as they get used up, are:

- toothbrush (probably will go with Eco-Dent's version for which you just change the head - something that uses minimal plastic anyway)
- chapstick (I already use Burt's Bees, so I'll just find the kind that comes in the metal container)
- razors (will go with Recycline's Preserve model, which has a recyclable base so that you just throw away the blades. They also have replacement blades now, so really you only need to buy one anyway)

Non-hygiene things...

-laundry detergent (switch to dry version - duh!)
-trash bags (no more plastic bags!)
-hairbands (must find alternatives like all-metal bobby pins and clips)
-pencils (switch to the good old-fashioned kind)
-highlighters (use colored pencils)


If you're wondering, I'm not really worried about food stuff at this point in my life because I don't cook for myself. Eventually, I will do things like Bring My Own Containers and Buy In Bulk.

Sunday, May 4

Noitalever: Plastics Make It Possible?

So, after reading this article and beginning to browse through this blog, I have decided to follow in Amy's footsteps (kind of).

I am in no position (student, not owning my own house, etc etc) to completely eliminate plastics from my life, but I can look around and think of at least fifty ways in which I could greatly reduce my plastic consumption. So, I plan to spend the next few months vigorously looking for ways to do this, while not beating myself up over things that I simply can't change right now (new car purchased in '07? I think I'll keep it, thanks).

I also want to post my own little reminder: paper can be recycled! As you finish up school for the year and think to yourself, "Man, I never want to see these notes/tests/whatever again!", please find a place to recycle your mixed paper.