Toledo Talk

Plastic Perils

http://www.bestlifeonline.com/cms/publish/travel-leisure/Our_oceans_are_turning_into_plastic_are_we.shtml

I've been working on reducing plastic use in our home. I refuse plastic bags at the grocery and stores—instead I keep reusable bags (non-platstic) in the car and have my groceries bagged in those, I use glass containers for leftovers, bottled water is bought only in "emergencies", etc.

Share your tips on lessening plastic use here.

created by jhostetler on Sep 24, 2007 at 10:40:48 am
updated by jhostetler on Sep 24, 2007 at 01:31:39 pm
    Comments: 14

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Comments ... #

Less plastic bottles? Then how the hell am I ever going to finish my beachfront vacation home?

posted by thenick on Sep 24, 2007 at 11:30:09 am     #  

Wowzers. I wish there were better photos of that.

posted by jhostetler on Sep 24, 2007 at 11:44:32 am     #  

They make cloth or even hemp bags that are more durable and last indefinitely and are more stylish.

Most local fresh fruit and vegetables come in their own packaging. No cans, plastic, colorful packaging necessary.

The Savvy Army, Goodswill, etc. are happy to not make you bag purchases there.

Commercial wisdom think it prudent to sink barges full of garbage or just empty them a few miles from shore. A friend in the Navy said they'd throw trash from the sides of ships. That's hundreds of years of acquired knowledge put to use.

posted by charlatan on Sep 24, 2007 at 12:17:16 pm     #  

Bottled water bad for the environment

Start using steel water bottles

I bought my "plastic" reusable water bottle at the Phoenix Earth Food Co-op. It looks like a normal plastic bottle, but it's made of corn ( Natureworks ), so it's allegedly biodegradable. It also has its own filter, although I fill it up with tap water that's gone through our own filtered pitcher. The bottle cost me six clams. The small 17 oz. size is convenient for me. I use it a lot, and I take it with me often when I'm out and about. It can be used for a few months and then tossed. Supposedly it biodegrades in 80 days in a "commercial compost system," whatever that is. Maybe that means the compost system at the 577 foundation. The bottle is a product of http://newwaveenviro.com/.

When shopping at the co-op, they offer you the choice of bagging your purchases in plastic, paper, or box. We also take our own canvas bags to bag up our stuff.

The co-op sells many items in bulk, so you have the choice of bringing in your own containers and filling up on such things as olive oil, peanut butter, honey, herbs, spices, grains, coffee beans, loose-leaf teas, flours, nuts, and even shampoo and conditioner.

I love Stonyfield yogurt. It can be bought at the co-op and at other stores. But the thing about yogurt containers is they cannot be recycled. I think it's that way regardless of the yogurt brand. What is it about yogurt that requires it to be packaged in non-recyclable plastic? What's interesting is on Saturday, I encountered two strangers at different times of the day and in different locations of the area who both said they make their own yogurt because the containers of yogurt bought at a store cannot be recycled. I don't know about making my own yogurt. It would never be as good as the Stonyfield strawberry. We reuse some of the big yogurt containers at home to store things, but mostly they're thrown away.

posted by jr on Sep 24, 2007 at 12:20:04 pm     #  

Thanks, jr. I've been meaning to visit the co-op for sometime now—I even know someone that works there—and you have given me the inspiration to finaly go over this afternoon.

posted by jhostetler on Sep 24, 2007 at 01:57:49 pm     #  

sp: finally

posted by jhostetler on Sep 24, 2007 at 01:58:37 pm     #  

The co-op is my favorite store. I even buy socks there. The first thing that will strike you about the place is how small it is. Many gas station convenience stores are bigger. The place has a small parking lot in back of the building, which you can get to from Sylvania or from the side street off of Sylvania, which I think is Revere Dr.

posted by jr on Sep 24, 2007 at 02:47:08 pm     #  

jr: do you ever frequent the new claudia's or bassets? the co-op seems so much smaller, and offers so much less in comparison. though I have to say.. the produce at the co-op is beautiful

posted by upso on Sep 24, 2007 at 03:12:25 pm     #  

I second that on the produce at the Co-op. I picked up some great-looking leeks and local cauliflower.

posted by jhostetler on Sep 24, 2007 at 03:31:45 pm     #  

Oh, and some steel water bottles. ;)

posted by jhostetler on Sep 24, 2007 at 03:32:28 pm     #  

Yes, I've been to Claudia's and Bassets years ago, and they are fine stores. If the co-op didn't exist, I'd probably shop at one of those stores more often. But the Phoenix Earth Food Co-op is "a not-for-profit business, owned and operated by its members." And by volunteering some time at the Phoenix Earth Food Co-op, I think you save a little more on your purchases.

It's been a long time since I've been to Basset's and Claudia's, so I don't know how much local and regional produce and products they sell. At the co-op, you can get a free-range turkey from a local farmer around the holidays if that's your thing. I think the eggs are from area farmers. You can get 'old school' and by milk in glass bottles. The co-op will sell organically-grown produce from local and regional farmers when its available. For example, a person or two from the co-op will pick blueberries from a farm just up the road in Michigan and sell them at the store. I look forward to those.

At this time of the year, however, I like buying local produce at farmer's markets and from the little roadside produce stands. It may not be organically grown, but it's local, fresh, and tasty. Erie Orchards does limited spraying on its apples. That's a fun place. Sometimes I buy local produce at a little stand along Lewis Ave just across the line, but I can never remember the name of that store. And I might stop at a roadside stand along Rt. 2, a little east of the road to Maumee Bay St. Park after birdwatching out that way.

Anyway, the co-op just seems like a different kind of store or "business" and it pretty much has everything I need. Some things are more expensive at the co-op when compared to chain stores, but I guess the herbs and spices are considerably cheaper at the co-op than at the chains.

As to the co-op's small store size, I prefer it. I detest going to grocery stores that are bigger than the new Jeep plant. When I go to a so-called real grocery store, I go to Churchill's on Central between Secor and Douglas. That's another small store.

I don't know if it's true or not because I never remember to ask the right person, but I heard the co-op would like to expand by moving into the DeVeaux Village Shopping Center, but the co-op doesn't have the money right now to do that. That would be convenient for me because I could walk to the co-op then.

posted by jr on Sep 24, 2007 at 06:09:45 pm     #  

Another option for local, organically grown produce is community supported agriculture at Ten Mile Creek Farm out near Berkey. I think the produce is sent to you each week. We waited too late to sign up for the warm season produce, but she also grows winter season veggies. It's probably time to sign up. At home, we're still picking tomatoes from our backyard, and our second crop of green beans is about ready to be picked. Our lettuce, however, is not doing much.

Anyway, info from a year ago about Ten Mile Creek:

Ten Mile Creek CSA Winter Season

An approximate growing season for the winter months runs roughly from mid-November to the end of April. The membership fee for a half share is $200 and a full share is $280. A full share is usually enough to feed a family of 4-5. A half share is usually enough to feed a family of 2-3.

The winter garden succeeds by combining the technology of climate modification with the biology of cool-season vegetables. By using two layers of protection to temper the cold weather, cool-season vegetable varieties are grown in an unheated greenhouse within cold frames.

Cool-season vegetables include:
spinach
carrot
chard
leeks
parsely
scallions
kale
mache
mustard greens
chives
endive
escarole
arugula
kohlrabi
radicchio
watercress

These plants are able to survive and grow in cold temperatures to provide members with fresh greens for the winter.

posted by jr on Sep 24, 2007 at 06:25:50 pm     #  

I buy organic but am really interested in locally-grown foods for obvious reasons (better for the local economy and better for the environment... taste aside).

Which is part of the reason I hadn't been in a rush to visit the co-op... I can get organic anywhere. I'm glad I visited today. They had some really wonderful local heirloom tomatos—too bad I have a bunch of tomatos already that need to be consumed.

I'm very interested in the Ten Mile Creek Farm program and will be looking into it further.

We have two extra lots beside our house in the Old West End and although I have little experience with gardening I am planning on a veggie garden for next spring/summer.

posted by jhostetler on Sep 24, 2007 at 09:06:20 pm     #  

I buy organic, fair–trade, and cage-free when I can although I’m skeptical about the efficacy of these concepts. I have been in the habit of buying gallon jugs of spring water, instead of a dozen cute little bottles, and keep it next to my desk so I don’t have to walk down the hall to the fountain.

I may scour my attic for my old boy scout canteen with its thermo sides (and wear it around my neck at the office).

All in all, if I had my choice I’d eat nothing but organic vegetables and wild game and wash it down with a frosty lager.

posted by Offshore on Sep 25, 2007 at 07:41:03 am     #