Plastic Free July

Earlier in June, I took an oath that I would not use single-use throw-away plastics for the month of July, as sponsored by this group “Plastic Free July.”  You can make varying levels of commitment: 1 day, 1 week or the whole month.  Also, you can choose to give up all single-use plastic or just the Top 4 Offenders: straws, plastic bottles, plastic bags, coffee cup lids.

Since we operate a fairly bad-ass household, we rarely use any of the Top 4 Offenders.  So I decided to be completely ridiculously hard core and eliminate all single-use plastic for the whole month.  Turns out we are going on 2 road trips this month, so that is going to be really tricky.  Road trips are usually where my WWW initiatives break down into snickers bars and nasty preservative choclate wax donut gems.  So this is going to be a great challenge for me!

If I have a moment where I have to use and throw away some kind of plastic, I plan on saving it, and I will post the tally at the end of the month.  I am not forcing Mr. WWW into this with me, so any trash he generates is his own deal (that he should feel super awful about!! JK).  However, anything that I share with him (milk jug, dish soap, etc), I have to count.

Okay so onto my progress thus far:

First day and no plastic thrown away!

BREAKFAST

Without thinking I ate corn flakes for breakfast yesterday, so that sucks because I am eventually going to have to throw out that plastic bag inside the cardboard box!  I had planned to eat oatmeal from bulk, but just spaced it yesterday morning (and today)! Ugh.

WALLET    : Bad; price per ounce of cereal is silly

WASTELINE : Meh; not great but not horrible

WORLD        : Bad; plastic liner!

LUNCH:

For lunch I brought leftovers in a pyrex.

WALLET    : Excellent

WASTELINE : Excellent; A great recipe from Appetite For Reduction

WORLD        : Pretty good; I know pyrex glass and the plasticky lid are going to end up in a landfill one day.  But I am deferring lots of other waste by using them for lunches now.

SNACKS:

I needed to find a replacement for Clif Bars, which are my usual snack after work, before my physical activity of choice.  On my lunch today, I took a trip to Sprouts and bought some bananas, corn nuts, and yogurt-covered pretzels.  The corn nuts and pretzels went into a glass jar, Zero Waste Home style.  The only plastic trash generated from the whole thing will be the sticker from one of the bananas. Yay! Getting the tare for the jar and paying was a little bit of a drama, as none of the employees seemed to recall how to do it.  Also, there was an issue because my glass jars are 1 lb each (wow!).  They have to select a tare weight from a list (they can’t just enter manually), and the list doesn’t include a weight as high as 1 lb.

Now, the software engineer in me wonders why the hell a program UI would be designed in this way…  Why make people search through a massive list of tares (1 oz, 1.5 oz, 2 oz, etc) and select the one that matches?  The whole point of offering tare is to allow people to bring in their own containers which will greatly vary in size. So silly!

Anyway, the people at Sprouts finally figured it out and I was able to pay and go on my way.  I am quite grateful that they allow customers to bring in containers; King Soopers here has a bulk section, but you have to use their plastic bags and tubs, which kind of defeats the whole reason I want to use bulk.

WALLET    : Great!  Total cost of $5.33

WASTELINE : Truly only the bananas are good on this one..

WORLD        : Great! Only waste generated was the banana sticker and receipt

DINNER:

A lot of our friends grab dinner after climbing, and we only splurge with them about once a month.  So, this was our big trip out for July. 😉 I almost grabbed a plastic fork to finish up my falling-apart burrito, but stopped myself at the last minute and just dealt with the messy hands.  Though no plastic was thrown out for this meal, I did feel bad about tossing the aluminum foil and paper in the trash can (as they are both recyclable).

WALLET    : Pretty bad.  The mark-up on beans and rice is crazy, but I am glad to do it now and again to hang out with my best friends

WASTELINE : Um not really good… Healthier than many restaurants, but still soooo many calories

WORLD        : Decent.  No plastic thrown away; feel bad about trashing the paper liner and foil.

OTHER:

We didn’t buy anything else today, and nothing else plastic made it into the trash.

WALLET    : Excellent

WASTELINE : Excellent

WORLD        : Excellent

Overall I am pretty happy about today!  Bummed about my cereal snafu, but I will make it right!

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