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In our family’s quest to reduce our use of/exposure to plastics, we’re starting with an assessment of where we currently stand. I decided the easiest way to do this was room by room. Please note that I’m not sure at this point if all the plastics we have in our lives are bad plastics. AND, I’m sure I’ll discover more plastics once I start researching.
Plastic in the bedroom: I believe we have few plastics in the bedroom, at least few that we can do anything about. We have a Select Comfort, which is loaded with plastics, but I’m hardly going to replace it, unless they’re handing out $1000 bills at the mall next week. Our clothes are typically natural fibers, with no synthetics of any sort.
Bathroom: We do pretty good here. Our soaps, shampoos, lotions, etc, all come from Prairieland Herbs, and are free of plastics, both in the items themselves and in the packaging, with one exception. Our toothpaste is all natural (no plastic) and in a metal tube. (OK, Randy still uses Crest, but that is one of the few things he is completely unwilling to change in his life.) Several items we use do come in plastic packaging – deodorant (even the natural kinds generally come in plastic packages), contact solution, etc. Our shower curtain is plastic.
Wally’s Room: OK, the child does have lots of plastic toys. Despite constantly reminding family over the years that we prefer wood, metal, or cloth toys, they prefer to just stop at the store and buy something plastic. We also purchase some plastic toys – they are definitely less expensive.
Kitchen: Most of our food storage containers are plastic. We have some polycarbonate water bottles (but we use our SIGG bottles most of the time). Some of our cups are plastic, we have small plastic bowls that Wally uses. Many of our foods come packaged in plastic, whether it be the plastic cups of yogurt, or the plastic vacuum-pack sack that the chicken comes in. I make juice cubes (frozen juice for smoothies) in plastic ice cube trays. Both of the machines I use to make smoothies are plastic. The kitchen plastics are the ones that bother me the most. Our drinking water comes in a 5 gallon plastic jug.
Living Room, Dining Room, Sunroom: There are not, to my untrained eye, large quantities of plastics in these rooms. Our furniture is largely wood, leather, fabric, and metal. The dining chairs are not only covered with plastic (actually, I think it’s vinyl), but uncomfortable to boot. I see a reupholstering project in my future… Our window coverings are all fabric (100% linen actually).
Basement: Do we have a lot of plastic here? I’m not entirely sure. The floor in the family room is a plastic laminate floor, but that’s a good thing for that room and its annual floods.
Now that I’m thinking about it, we’re not altogether too bad. We don’t have carpet, and the rugs we have are generally natural fibers with jute backings. We don’t use a lot of the common products that contain hidden plastics, like cosmetics and mainstream personal care products.
I think, for the time being, I’m going to focus on the reducing waste aspect, come up with several very concrete things we can be doing, before turning my attention back to plastic.
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