The Great Plastic Challenge, Week #4

I want to review what plastic we use or used to use, and where I feel we can still eliminate it altogether, before I try to find a solution for the plastic garbage bags we rely on.

  • disposable diapers: maybe 10% of the 28 months the Unreliable Narrator needed them. A goodly number were “green” disposable diapers, the others, unfortunately, were not. The rest were cloth from a diaper service. Most of the time, we relied on Elimination Communication and got to a potty before the Unreliable Narrator voided.
  • plastic toys: we seemed to have quite a number of these when the Unreliable Narrator was still Cutie Nubbin (a baby). I think the mouthing/drool factor played a part; also, I don’t think I was as conscious of the plastic we used then. Too bad, as it would’ve been nice to keep phthalates out of the Cutie Nubbin’s system as much as possible. Nevertheless, we’ve managed to phase these out and the Unreliable Narrator mostly has wooden or metal toys, and paper books now.
  • plastic grocery bags: reusable cotton totes or TJ’s insulated bags.
  • plastic snack size ziplock baggies: soy-based wax paper.
  • plastic water bottles: replaced these with SIGG bottles (or Klean Kanteens, for another option).
  • minty fresh gum: big 120 piece containers, and not blister packs of 12.

So, biodegradable trash bags–do they exist?

Lots of times we simply tote stuff out to the trash bin in paper bags. But if you have messy, wet garbage, then it can make the interior of your bin gross and draw insects and vermin. Yuck. After all, meat scraps cannot go in the compost.

We don’t have our compost bin/worm bin solution yet, so the amount of wet vegeatble waste that we produce is still enough that we need to bag it in something waterproof.

So here are some biodegradable/compostable garbage bag sources:

This MIT Technology Review article is about plastic shopping bags, and not plastic garbage bags, but the two are related and it does provide a critical look at actual biodegradability (versus the claims) and where manufacturers are in developing and bringing to market alternatives to the plastic bags used today. Here’s another great article from Lifegoggles.com that assesses the pros and cons of biodegradable plastic bags.

ETA: $9 for soy waxed paper made with bleached paper ($4/roll, then $5 s&h)? Ummm, no. See my “Bee the Change” effort to get Clorox and their subsidiary, Burt’s Bees, to make unbleached wax paper using beeswax.

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3 thoughts on “The Great Plastic Challenge, Week #4

  1. we used cloth with dydee diaper service. i tried to do EC, but wasn’t consistent with it, esp after i started working when maiya was 9 months, so we mostly played around with it. i don’t knowabout you but we have a ton of little plastic crap toys, mostly that come from bday parties. any suggestion on how to rid those from our lives. for maiya’s bday, we’re thinking of giving t-shirts as party favors instead of the usualy gift bag.

  2. i love dy-dee–my week used to be punctuated by the arrival of that pastel blue and pink van.

    yeah, goodie bags are a prime source of cheap plastic junk. i find the novelty wears off after about 3 days and i can usually throw it away.

    the t-shirt is a great idea! this year we gave out a box of crayons and a small can of playdoh plus some butterfly tattoos.

  3. I think that biodegradable bags are still better than petoleum-based garbage bags, even if they don’t biodegrade in a landfill. I think they are not the final solution but are a step in the right direction.

    The best answer is to get your composter or worm bin up and running as soon as you can to avoid the wet garbage. Then, you don’t need any bag at all.

    Also, the Bio-Bags, even though they are made from corn, are non-GMO.

    Beth

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