I've been off the blogging for a while, and probably won't be regularly back on it any time soon. I do have a post brewing about getting back on the plastic-free habit, with photos for January's plastic tally, and I have been reading my fellow bloggers pages again for the last few weeks. I have, therefore, found another plastic-free Canadian! http://www.noplasticproject.ca/
For my cousin Jill, with whom I had a delightful visit and catch up last weekend (I truly have the best family in the world, now if only I could swing seeing them more often than once every 18months...), a little post about plastic-free personal hygiene.
I suppose I haven't said much on this topic because it's largely already been done by other plastic-free bloggers. But for those of you out there who haven't yet discovered those blogs, and for those of you interested in what I am doing, personally (I'm not flattering myself, I know my family reads this! Thank you Jill!), here is a run down of what I've discovered.
The hard one first,
1. Oral care
Oral care is tricky. It's not that easy to get away from plastic toothbrushes, toothpaste tubes and floss. BUT it is possible, sort of. Tom's of Maine toothpaste comes in an aluminum (recyclable) tube and apparently they will take back their plastic lid for recycling when you are done. I've also heard of wooden handle toothbrushes, or toothbrushes with replaceable heads. Plastic Manners went with the bone and boar brush, Clean Bin tried out a few recycled plastic brushes,
It's apparently not difficult to make your own toothpaste, but I won't be trying that for a while.
Myself, I'm far too fond of my electric toothbrush and far too concerned about the weakness of my teeth (if I don't floss every single day I WILL get a cavity), so I haven't changed much yet. I bought the Tom's of Maine paste once and might do again sometime. But I also got freaked out about the lack of flouride and bought regular ol' Crest the next time. We'll see what happens when I run out of heads for the electric one, or when it dies. For now I'm sticking with.
2. Hair care
WAY easier than teeth, and this is something I've actually been doing! I was close to running out of shampoo several months ago so I preemptively started looking for alternatives. There are of course, shampoo bars (I bought one from Lush, but really you could use just about any bar of soap I assume), but what I've found I prefer is the baking soda wash, followed by occasional vinegar rinse. Fake Plastic Fish does it, so did Jen at Clean Bin Project, and so did Life Less Plastic, but with more mixed results. She outlines her difficulties with plastic-free hair care here.
In the end I think we all have different bodies, and different hair and what works for one may not work for all. Baking Soda is working for me, for now, although I do occasionally use a Lush shampoo bar as well. In fact, the baking soda is working better than the shampoo I went back to using to try to empty out the bottle. (I want to keep my vinegar rinse in the empty bottle. I'm using another empty shampoo bottle for the baking soda solution right now and it's super convenient). Shampoo made my hair heavy and kind of greasy-like. The baking soda leaves it perfect! I use a tablespoon of baking soda dissolves in water, which I pour from the empty shampoo bottle onto my head. It's strange cause it's just like pouring water on your head, but it works like a charm, at least for me!
I haven't run out of deodorant yet, and I haven't quite decided what it is I am going to do when I do, but I am inspired by those who have come before me....
Life Less Plastic and Fake Plastic Fish both use baking soda on their underarms and swear by it.
Jen at Clean Bin took it one step further and mixes her own deodorant into a paste which she then scoops into an empty deodorant container for easy application.
I have to admit, I like the idea of the homemade stuff in the old container. There's something reassuring about spreading the stuff on, I think.
Ok, there's more I'd like to write about, but I'm going to post what I have for now in case I put of doing the rest for a really long time (like what has happened with all the other posts I've been thinking about writing and NOT).
Face cleanser is next on the list, and something that I'd actually love some input on. I'm close to running out of what I've got, and I'm at a bit of a loss of what to do when that happens. Any ideas?
So some other things I wanted to report on from the month of May.
I went to the Epic sustainability conference when it was here. Had a surprisingly interesting time. Picked up some cards of green wedding dress makers for my affianced friend, checked out roofing options with my friend who's renovating. Had a big chat with the London Drugs representative about their packaging take back program. They recycle styrofoam! Which I thought was pretty exciting. Or rather, they'll take the styrofoam you get from whatever you buy at their store and bring it to Genesis recycling who squishes it down to ship off somewhere to be recycled. Ok, so sometimes the styrofoam ends up in China and that's definitely not a good thing. But let's focus on the fact that they TAKE BACK their styrofoam! Crazy, no? They'll also take back old appliances to recycle if you buy your new one at LD. Something to consider the next time you are appliance shopping, perhaps.
Now why can't all stores do that? Or why can't the legislature, parliament, whoever, legislate that stores are required to do that?
Of course, I'd rather see the styrofoam just not used. But I like the direction of the take back program. Pushing responsibility for garbage up the chain is a good step, I think.
These are the kinds of ups and downs that one experiences when trying to live plastic free.
I went out salsa dancing the other night. There was a lesson at 9 and then music afterwards. I didn't know what to expect in how it was set up and I wanted to travel light, so I didn't bring a bag - no purse or anything, and therefore no water bottle. I knew this was probably a mistake, but I didn't want to have to worry about keeping track of a bag if I was going to end up in a club or something so I didn't bring it. Also I had hopes I would have options in terms of getting something to drink.
Well the place wasn't a club, it was a community hall. And drinks were served in plastic cups. Or plastic water bottles. Or beer in a glass bottle.
I squeezed up to the bar planning on asking if there was anything at all the bartender could do for me so that I didn't have to consume plastic, noticed there were glasses on the shelf, and so I asked if I could use one.
The guy was totally rude. Totally shot me down, refused to help, and basically just walked away from me when I said I didn't want to use a plastic cup with no interest in trying to help.
And I got really upset! I mean, it's always upsetting to be so dismissed, but he just WALKED away. Like, even if I had changed my mind and decided to use the plastic, or if I wanted to buy a bottle or something I wouldn't have been able to because he was ignoring me. How the hell was I supposed to get something to drink??
So I left. I was actually tempted to just flat out leave, but I started with stepping outside to get some air aka taking a walk to find something to drink that didn't involve plastic. Luckily there was a gas station across the street and SUPER luckily they sold iced tea in glass bottles and - get this - they didn't even have the plastic seal around the metal lid!! I HATE that plastic seal, it excludes so many things I would otherwise be able to buy.
That gas station and glass bottle totally made my night. I returned to the salsa in a much happier mood, and extremely pleased to have stuck to the no plastic rule.
Two extremes in mood produced by the no plastic challenge. From extreme upset to extremely pleased in the space of about 10 minutes. This is my life without plastic. :-)
It's been a long time since I posted much about plastic, or about my experiences trying to live plastic free, so I thought I should say a quick something.
I'm still mostly sticking to the resolution, although I've slacked off a bit the last month or so and allowed myself to cheat on a few key items. A prime example is today, when I bought a new toothbrush, floss and toothpaste. Dental care is one of the toughest things to do plastic-free, and I've decided I need a toothbrush at work because my poor weak teeth need a post-lunch brush.
I've also bought a few tubs of yogurt. Making my own has proven less than satisfying. So while I still make it sometimes, I also sometimes buy the plastic. Which is terrible on so many levels. But not so terrible that I lose sleep over it.
So there are some items like that, but on the whole avoiding plastic is still a major part of my consumer choices. It really is remarkably easy most of the time. Reducing plastic consumption is so easy it seems strange to me now that everyone doesn't do it. Eliminating? Ok, that's proving trickier.
There are lots of other things I've been thinking about and wanting to post about, but I didn't write any of them down, and I can't think of them at the moment. Life has been hectic. I started a new job this week, among other things. This post was mostly meant to say: yes, I'm still here, and I'm still trying to be plastic free. And I will write more again one day!
Another quick shout-out to some fellow Vancouverites, this one to Grant and Jen of the Clean Bin Project. They have completed the documentary they did of their year long (turned life long, as it so often does) project, and I was lucky enough to attend one of the first public screenings this past Saturday.
And it was fantastic!
I have to admit I was the teensiest bit concerned because I had dragged some friends to it with me who were like, "what? it's a movie about garbage? um... ok, well I guess if that's what you want to do..." but they all thanked me afterward for bringing them because the movie was excellent, and despite a long delay at the beginning due to some technical difficulties at the cinema, the evening was 100% worthwhile.
They are cycling the film across the country, so if any of you are reading this blog from other parts of Canada, check out when they might be coming to a theatre near you, or perhaps contact them to set up coming to a theatre near you! Both can be done through the Clean Bin Movie site, I think.