Friday, April 24, 2009

No More Plastic Beverage Bottles

Well, I made the Earthday choice.
I'm giving up plastic beverage bottles. They are a scourge on the planet, violate basic human rights to clean drinking water (by making people pay for it in poverty stricken areas and by making clean water a non-issue for middle class and wealthy people who routinely buy bottled water and thusly forget about the state of water on this planet when it is not contained in a petroleum based skin).

I got a 20 oz. or so sized "klean kanteen" to get started with. It's stainless steel and should last forever. It will get a bit hot in the sun so I may make it a nice wool cozy (which when wet will actually cool the water down a bit) with some pendleton blanket scraps or something.
I think the biggest challenge will be camping and needing to haul in the water for drinking, cooking and washing. I think I see a filter in my future...and a bigger "klean kanteen" for field work and hiking.

It took a few more looks at the ditches around here littered with plastic bottles and a friend who reminded me that even at 17$, if I skip buying 17 bottles of water it will be paid for in no time.

I rarely by beverages in plastic bottles anyway, but when I forget water, I do break down and buy a bottle. Now I must remember to bring the "kanteen" with me all the time or use my insulated cup that is usually in the car rather than just being lazy and buying water in a petroleum skin.

This bit of info helps me when I lose my resolve to cut back on plastic:

And photos like this don't hurt either:

That bird died stuffed with GARBAGE...plastic garbage. If one of those caps is from a bottle I used, it makes me ill. Time to drink tap water from a reusable container.

Oh, and Pam tells me that the whole 'no poo thing is going mainstream. It got space on MSNBC:

In the past week I've had 2 people ask me exactly how to do it so here is the shorty short version:
Supplies: cup or bowl for the baking soda and, later, vinegar (do not mix them unless you are making a volcano in a cup)
Wet hair thoroughly (easier in a sink than in a shower but whatever), all the way to the scalp.
Mix about 1T of baking soda (some use less, some more) into a slury. Part your very wet hair so you can scrub a bit of that mix into the scalp. Scrub a lot. Part a bit to one side, repeat. Do that until you've scrubbed your whole scalp.
Rinse well.
Dilute about 1T of apple cider vinegar in the cup or bowl of water.
If you have long hair, dip the long bit in this, then slowly pour it over your scalp while working it in a bit (this will keep the baking soda from drying out your hair and scalp and acts as a detangler).
Finish with a cold water rinse (again, easier in the sink than in the shower). You can just do one cold water rinse rather than a rinse and then a cold rinse.

Again, my hair is longer, fewer split ends, easier to comb and wavier than it used to be with shampoo and conditioner. Since it's been a year I figure I've saved about 4 plastic bottles from the landfill and/or an ocean bird's gut. That's because I was already refilling bottle from the bulk shampoo/conditioner station at the co-op. I only used new bottles when I went to a hotel and enjoyed the freebies.
El Kid...he's still using shampoo. To each his own. He recycles the bottles and that is much appreciated.

So, I no longer get plastic grocery bags and only sometimes use plastic veggie bags (when I forget my woven ones and have fruit or veg that would be damaged rolling about in the bag or say strawberries or mushrooms or a soggy lump of tofu...and onion can roll about all it wants). No shampoo or conditioner bottles, I've been re-using the same dish detergent bottle for at least 2 years now, get my peanut butter in recycled containers (all this is from the bulk stuff at the co-op), so the next elimination of plastic could be tougher to locate!

Happy post-Earth Day everyone.


Pamela said...

I think you should start lobbying the tampon companies to lose the individual plastic wrappers. They could switch to a different material. Or perhaps offer an 'unwrapped' option. But, I must admit that I am grateful for the plastic wrap when I drop my only tampon on the floor in a public restroom... so maybe that's not the best idea.
How about mustard bottles, those could definitely go.

Jill said...

YES! Mustard and ketchup (catsup for the snobby among us) used to come in glass jars so why not now?
I have a recipe for homemade ketchup using tomato sauce. I should try it. It's not complicated and can be made fresh or canned. I do buy ketchup, mustard and mayo in glass jars when I can get it, but it doesn't always pan out.
Another option would be a 10# can of ketchup and then decant it into quart jars. But who eats that much ketchup?

Marissa said...


Just came across your blog via a long windy virtual road and really like what you're doing here. I'm trying to be more environmentally conscious myself in all sorts of ways, from not dousing myself in chemicals (particularly lauryl sulfates) to not polluting the earth. Your tips and ideas are great! I'm going to invest in one of those bottles and try the "no poo" hair routine immediately!