Natural Living Des Moines

Goal Update by sarahtar
May 2, 2008, 7:08 am
Filed under: Plastics/BPA, Waste

As you may know, our family set some goals of reducing waste and reducing our exposure to plastics this year. here’s an update on progress.

Waste: We’re doing good with recycling, and are recycling more than we did last year, though I’m constantly frustrated that we can’t recycle MORE. I have a backlog of cardboard boxes (limit: 4 per recycling pickup) and need to figure out how to acquire FEWER boxes. Unfortunately, it’s a side effect of my business. Many of the things I order arrive in cardboard boxes. I send out customer orders using re-used cardboard boxes when I can, but some of the boxes are so large that, realistically speaking, I’ll never have an order THAT big. For a while, I had friends who were moving all over the place, and they got my boxes, but they’ve been piling up a bit lately. Plus, we moved numerous boxes from my mom’s house when we cleaned it out (those were re-used, too – the boxes her dialysis supplies came in). Some of those have been deposited – full of books – at Half Price Books, but I think they just throw them away, so that’s not a great solution.

The other challenge continues to be reducing the amount of waste we bring in. We’ve made great strides in this area, but hit a big bump with W’s fourth birthday in April. Holy cow, the packaging! My goodness.

I did a major basement purge in March and ended up with about three large garbage bags full of trash, which I didn’t feel all that bad about. We recycled the paper we could, but most of it was actual, genuine garbage. And since it meant that that junk was no longer cluttering up my basement, well, it didn’t feel too bad. It was mostly stuff I’d needed emotionally after my dad died, but with the recent death of my mother, I no longer felt I needed to hang on to. So that was a good thing.

Plastic. I had hoped to remove our plastic (vinyl) shower curtain in April and replace it with a nice cloth one. That did not get done, I’ve frankly been so busy trying to play catch-up with Wallypop that I didn’t have time to do any personal sewing. The shower curtain is no longer at the TOP of my personal sewing list, but it is on there, and it will get done. I take solace in the knowledge that the curtain is very old and is likely done offgassing.

Our porcelain over cast iron kitchen sink has slowly eaten all but 2 of our kitchen glasses. The temptation is strong to just replace those with plastic cups, but I think we’ll stick with glass – maybe thicker glass this time – unless I can find some metal ones. I’ll be keeping an eye on secondhand and antique stores for a bit before we hit the retail stores. I’ll also be buying more ceramic glasses from Crackpots at the next Craft Saturday in June.

I’m feeling like it’s time to pay more attention to this plastics issue, so my goal is to investigate alternatives to the large plastic bottle we use in our bubbler (water fountain). I’ve heard rumors that there are glass bottles available, but never looked into it. Would I be able to lift a 5 gallon glass water jug??


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We use canning jars for glasses – they are so thick and sturdy that you don’t have to worry about them breaking!

Comment by Karen

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