Mama Gone Green is a blog dedicated to raising happy children and reducing our impact on the Earth. My name is Taryn and I am the mother of 2 young kids and an environmental studies instructor at a community college in Portland, Oregon. Please join me as I journey through life as a mama, teacher, knitter, photographer, gardener, and environmentalist!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Reducing My Plastic Consumption: An Update (And Some Hand Made Snack Bags to Boot!)

My goal this month for my year-long adventure was to reduce my plastic consumption, and in general, it went pretty well. Here were my specific goals:
  1.  Make my own cloth (ziploc) bags. I finally finished these bags about a week ago and have used them a few times. They are super cute (see photo above!) and great to carry as snack bags. However, now that I have them, I realize that plastic ziplocs are really handy for lots of things (like anything that needs to go into the freezer!)
  2.  Buy glass tupperwares. We donated most of our plastic tupperwares, saving some for travel and camping and bought glass storage containers to replace them.
  3. I will stop buying shampoo in shampoo bottles. Well, I actually didn't need to buy any shampoo or conditioner this month, however, I wanted to "comply" with my goals. So, I bought a bar of shampoo which I am going to give a try. It is locally made, and has no packaging, but it was pretty pricey (around $7). I was told they last awhile, but I am going to test it to see. I also figured out the system for bulk shampoo and conditioner at my local grocery and have been saving empty containers to use for the next time I need these items. It also made me start questioning other soaps, lotions, etc and I wonder if I can find bulk sources for these items as well.
  4. I will make sure to remember my muslin bags for produce and bulk items (or bring my already used plastic ones). OK, so I have been remembering my muslin bags and bringing already used plastic bags, but I realized I don't have enough large muslin bags, for things like greens and spinach. I ended up needing a plastic one last time, which was a sign that I need to make some large sized reusable ones.
  5. I will try to purchase less convenience food (like pre-made humus and salsa). I did make my own salsa this month, as we had fresh tomatoes, but in the winter I don't think it will make sense for me to do this since I would be buying non-local items to make it. Maybe I will buy salsa in glass jars. I also just didn't eat any humus this month because I didn't want to buy the plastic, but I really did want humus. I just haven't had time to make humus.. mostly because it is not part of my routine. I hope to get into a food preparation routine where I make large batched of things at certain times during the week....but I am still working up to it!
Additionally, we found a local facility that will take almost all of the plastics that our curbside recycling will not take, and have started saving things like plastic wrappers and other plastic containers to bring there. So, although we are still using these plastics, at least they are not going straight into the trash.

I feel like I have make a difference in how much plastic we consume, but we still consume huge amounts of it, even when trying not to. I am not ready to make my own yogurt, the vinegar I buy is bottled in plastic, toilet paper comes wrapped in it, and it is just everywhere. I keep wondering if my small reductions really make a difference in a world that is overrun by this stuff? I hope so.
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1 comment:

  1. It sounds like you did a really great job! Projects like these only point out how MUCH plastic is in our lives, don't they? It can be so frustrating and overwhelming. I just try to remember to do the best I can...