Roadtrip Update

Okay road trip update! Mr. WWW and I took a nice trip through Wyoming, South Dakota and North Dakota to visit my brother and sister in law.  There was a lot of beautiful countryside and happy cows, and we got to see Mt Rushmore on the 4th which was pretty neat.

Mr. WWW and I were able to bake some yummy samosas to take with us as road trip snacks.  These plus our metal water bottles and coffee cups pretty much held us over the whole trip.  I did have a breakdown at one gas station when I needed something sweet STAT. I opted for some pastries in a plastic #2 clam-shell, because at least that is down-cyclable (as opposed to filmy plastic wrap or a candy bar wrapper).  But really, it was pretty lame of me, and I actually have no excuse except that I AM WEAK. We are doing another trip at the end of this month, and I will make samosas AND cupcakes for that one.

For the most part, the only sacrifices I had to make on the trip were no honey on my fry bread, no jam on the biscuits, and no plain mustard on my sammy. I was also surprised when nobody in rural WY, SD or ND even seemed to bat an eye when we used our own coffee mugs or water bottles at the gas station! I was prepared for a ton of awkward conversations and judgement. Apparently people in the country-side are just chill, and the real problem is with us city folk, pre-judging everyone all the time. Neat.

During the road trip I was gifted a bottle of root beer by my sister in law.  It was a glass bottle with a metal cap, so we all thought I was safe.  Until I opened the bottle and found a little plastic disk under the metal cap. WHAT?

I used up one of my plastic travel shampoo bottles I collected from a business trip a few months ago. I have a personal policy to ONLY pack these little bottles when I travel by plane. I always carry on my backpack as my only piece of luggage, so everything has to be able to pass TSA. I wasn’t going on a flight, so I didn’t need to waste these little bottles on this trip! In my packing haste I guess I just forgot.

This brings to light that I need to resolve 2 issues in my life regarding plastic:

1. I need to find a plastic-free shampoo / conditioner alternative for everyday life

2. I need to find a plastic-free shampoo / conditioner alternative for air travel.

This whole shampoo thing makes me happy because I feel like this is a big point of Plastic Free July: it forces you to think through issues you never have thought through before.

I can buy shampoo and conditioner in bulk and refill my existing plastic bottles in the shower, and I can buy some little glass bottles with metal lids for travel.  Or, I can go for bar shampoo.  I think the bar shampoo sounds the most low-maintenance, but it depends on how my hair reacts to it.  I will try it out and let you know how it goes.  It looks like JR Liggetts old fashioned bar shampoo gets good reviews.  I could score a metal travel soap container and that would work great for air trips!

Even with this, I will be tossing out some shampoo and conditioner related plastic as I transition over to the new system. No point in wasting my current supply…

Finally, last night I added 3 new pieces of plastic to my inventory: the liner bag from my Corn Flakes, the plastic bag from our rice, and a plastic window from my diva cup box.

The Corn Flakes liner and the rice bag can be avoided in the future by purchasing oatmeal and rice in bulk. This just requires planning ahead and bringing our glass jars to the store.  I think we should invest in more of the ½ gallon jars for this reason, that way we can purchase a significant amount at one time.

I don’t feel too bad about the diva cup window, because that little device is going to help me cut down on a huge amount of waste during my period.  And from all the raving from ladies around the world, it is going to change my life. I have been slowly getting used to the concept since I first heard about it a few years ago, and PFJ gave me the push I needed to just buy it! I am still kind of nervous about getting the hang of it (especially when I think about ballet class!), so I imagine the transition will be a bit tricky.

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!