No photo this time–I just didn’t feel like hauling out the camera. Just a tally and a commentary:
The last two weeks’ tally for the two of us amounts to 3 lb., 1 oz. of plastic waste.
The good news is that very little of that is single use plastic. The weight is probably inflated, too, since we tossed out several empty bags of dog food. We buy our dog food in bulk, and the bags are mostly paper, but with a thin plastic liner.
I know some people do feel their dogs home-made food. Honestly, with the special dietary needs our aging and allergic dogs have, I don’t think that’s a road I want to travel.
Another category of plastic waste this week is packaging from tools and hardware for our home renovation. It’s amazing how many things are simply not available without a little plastic coffin around them! And other things, quite useful and ordinary things, like the pulleys needed to repair sash weight windows seem to be unavailable except in salvage stores.
This is disconcerting. The more I focus on the environment, the more clear I become that old-fashioned virtues like thrift, including repairing the old and preserving the new, are a huge part of what we need to cultivate in the interests of our planet.
Other heavy things disposed of over the past two weeks include a broken timer for lights. The casing was plastic–again, lots of heavy metal parts probably inflated our weight this week–but, also, the timer itself was at least twenty years old. When an appliance containing plastic is old enough to vote, I don’t feel quite as bad if it is beyond repair.
So, the good news: a lot of that weight was unavoidable. The bad news? On vacation, I kept forgetting to tell waitresses not to bring a straw with my beverage. (Who drinks iced coffee through a straw, anyway?) We must have collected half a dozen little plastic straws–each and every one of them a monument to forgetfulness.
I’m less upset with that than I might be, though. Being on vacation means being away from my usual habits–that there is a dramatic contrast between my actions when I’m in a situation where I can cultivate environmentally-friendly habits, and one where I cannot, seems to say more good things about our day-to-day changes than negative ones about our travel habits. It’s not like we travel every week, after all, and perhaps we’ll get better at that, too, with practice.
Meanwhile, we had a great week at home around plastic waste. Though our (old enough to vote) vacuum cleaner has died and cannot be repaired, we’ve decided to replace it with a rebuilt Electrolux (almost entirely metal in its working parts, and used to boot!).
And you should have seen the grin on Peter’s face when he came home from grocery shopping this week. The only plastic item? A “rubber” band around a bunch of organic broccoli.