Sunday, April 18, 2010

Rambling: Bag It, and plastic

Late in the film festival, we saw Bag It, a film about plastic bags and other "single use disposable plastic" items. And, much to my surprise, we're still remembering it a week later. While we generally agree with everything that an environmental-message film says, we also generally let it slip our minds by the next day.

We're actually, y'know, changing behavior.  A little. And searching for ways to change it more.

We already usually use reusable grocery bags. But the next time we were in a grocery, we:
  • Bought our milk in cardboard cartons instead of plastic jugs.
  • Tried to buy plastic-free dishwasher detergent. It turns out that more, not less, plastic was involved; we'll try a different product next time.
  • Tried to buy our clothes detergent in a coardboard box instead of the usual plastic jug of liquid. However, when we were forced to choose between scented in cardboard, and unscented in plastic, we went with the plastic. We'll have to do some searching for unscented in cardboard.
  • Declined a bag when we realized that we'd forgotten to bring reusable bags, figuring we could just dump the groceries in the trunk.
  • Later, in another grocery, paid money for reusable fabric produce bags. Goodness gracious.
We're also looking at things like shampoo bars, to avoid the plastic bottle. And breaking our Ziploc addiction by buying glass food storage containers. And considering the merits of paper or compostable or recycled trash bags. And waxed paper. And getting reusable stainless steel water bottles. And like that.

This might actually be a habit change. Or, it might just take us a week, instead of a day, to forget the message. We'll see.


  1. ziplock bag addiction...I know what you mother who is over 60, is totally addicted to zip lock bags...I am too by the way, but not as much...anyway, we went to Poland 3 years ago, and they don't sell them! Maybe in big cities they do, but not in a small town where we were staying. My mother spent her entire holidays trying to get her hands on some. They didn't even know what she meant!It drove her crazy... it was very very funny, but also very sad...She still talks about it...That addiciton would be difficult to break I think...

  2. Gotta see that movie!

    I have one of these and I have given a few away as presents...they're great because they fold up to only 3" or so and clip on your purse, yet the unfold to a regular grocery-size bag.

    We buy a lot of yogurt and cottage cheese so we have a ton of those no. 5 plastic containers around which we feel badly about - but I do donate them to the local community arts place to reuse for art/painting etc. Other than storing left-overs in them I haven't found another good use for them. Sigh.

  3. Hey, Kathryn! Welcome! Oh, dear. Will she pack them from now on?

    Howdy, Frida! Oh, yes! I have those! I keep resolving to always always carry one in my purse, and I always always take the stuff out of it and leave it languishing on the counter somewhere.

    Yeah, Himself and I were discussing the yogurt issue a couple of days ago. I don't know if any possible way to buy the stuff in a non-plastic container. It seems like it _could_ be sold in glass, like the glass bottles that milk is occasionally still sold in. But it never is.

  4. I am halfway there, definitely use reusable bags and cartons but somehow it ever really occurred to me to get laundry detergent in boxes. That's easy enough!

  5. Hey, Jess! I always used to dislike powdered laundry detergent, because it flies around, but I'm sure I can get over it for a Good Cause.

  6. I've seen milk sold in glass up north in Boston a couple years ago. My sister said it's from a local dairy farm (extra plus!).
    As far as the yogurt containers, I re-use them for seed starts when sowing seeds indoors, just poke a few holes in the bottom and wah-lah.
    Borax is a good unscented cleaner that can be used in place of detergent.

  7. Hey, Michelle! Yeah, there are a couple of places around here that still sell milk in glass. Problem is, I often get to the store by walking, so hauling glass bottles back and forth is a little too much weight. (Of course, the tricycle is coming...)

    I still can't figure out how to solve the yogurt and other-squishy-dairy problem. Stores that sell everything else in bulk (even honey and peanut butter) still sell all the refrigerated squishy stuff in plastic. And I get plenty of pots for seed starts from buying plants, so they'd cycle into the trash pretty quick.

    Huh. I just Googled and found a page from Straus Family Creamery (a company that sells milk in glass bottles) discussing the yogurt container problem. They haven't solved it, but as soon as any dairy does, they'll be my source for all of those sorts of products.