Thursday, April 30, 2009

Eco-friendly Medicine/Personal Care and a Victory of Self-Control

So, if you've been reading this blog, you know that I make exceptions to my plastic avoidance in the name of medical and personal sanitation. I've recently found a potential fix for my band-aid situation. Granted, there's still some plastic involved, but no latex and more recycling involved in the packaging. Pretty pumped.

Another issue has always been feminine care. Apparently there are some options in that area too: eco-friendly products or the even more eco-friendly option of feminine "cups." I hear good things about both the Keeper and the Diva Cup. It's good to know there are options, even in these tricky areas!

Question for you -- any thoughts on non-plastic hair ties?

In other news, I was quite proud of myself this morning. I accidentally slept in the American University library (was doing research for a paper, got lost in an historiographical argument, stayed too late, couldn't figure out how to get home, decided to nap until daylight to avoid long dark walk, woke up much later than expected). On the (long!) walk home, I REALLY wanted to stop at Starbucks for coffee and a delicious breakfast sandwich. I managed to exercise restraint and wait until I got home, where I prepared my own "mocha" and a nice hot breakfast (no sandwich, since I have no bread, since all bread comes wrapped in plastic). That means I avoided using a disposable cup, plastic lid, and plastic wrapper from the sandwich. Yay for self-control despite absurd circumstances.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Plastic and Life -- and cool documentary on at 10 pm tonight

The one constant theme of my plastic journey has been balance. Keeping the Earth in balance. Keeping myself balanced.

I know I can't be as hardcore about plastic as some plastic bloggers. No, sorry, no mascara is not an option. Like I've always said, I'm down with medical plastic. It objectively is better to have some things be one-time-use (tubes used in blood tests and band-aids, for examples).

Other things get into gray area. Milk cartons? Mostly paper, coated in plastic. What happened to the days of the milk delivery? I'd happily pay for milk in a glass bottle and then return the bottle to the store. What about ice cream? It's getting warm, and I can't hide my general obsession with frozen treats. I'm a huge fan of the ice cream cone -- pretty much ideal in anti-plastic-land. You eat the container! And a good place gives you a recycled napkin with your treat. But even stuff like that has plastic in its past...the big cartons in the ice cream store are inevitably plastic. Even though I generally don't go beyond myself in the life-cycle of a good when determining the presence of plastic (otherwise I'd go absolutely crazy), sometimes that makes me feel hypocritical.

I think this gets into bigger themes of the individual vs. the community (my topic for my graduation speech). Everyone lives on fast-forward. I know I feel more "entitled" to plastic when I'm in a rush. How can I move back to healthier times?

I like some of the innovative solutions I saw on the trailer for this documentary Addicted to Plastic. (Check out Trailer 2.) It's on tonight on the Sundance Channel at 10 pm. Sadly, I don't get the Sundance Channel, but I'll keep my eyes out. The most important quote I heard was, "We will be putting more packaging out there on the market because that's what consumers are demanding." And that's where I DO have a say. I can CHOOSE what I demand.

On the plus side, many people in my life have begun making some simple changes that, together, can make a big difference. They reuse bags and refuse plastic straws. They endeavor to take their own silverware to work for lunches.

I think it's ok to struggle. I'm going to try to follow some of my favorite advice from a book I was asked to read before my freshman year of college, Letters to a Young Poet by Rainer Marie Rilke: "live along one distant day into the answer."

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Recycled Paper Pens at Friendship Hospital for Animals!

Today, I took my cat, Angie, to the vet. As I was checking out, I noticed that their pens are made almost entirely of recycled paper. Yup, a recycled disposable pen! (Not surprising that this veterinary clinic is across the street from a Whole Foods.)

As you can see, my cats enjoy the pen as much as I do. It has a cardboard "body" and a wooden clip. It does have a little plastic on the tip and the end, but it's still a big improvement over the usual kind. Plus, there is a nice note indicating that the cardboard is recycled (couldn't get the right camera angle, but trust me, it's there).
Yay Friendship Hospital for Animals!