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Old 02-25-2014, 09:42 AM
 
Location: West Orange, NJ
12,545 posts, read 18,387,041 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by randomparent View Post
I recognize that I'm an outlier, because I try to avoid packaging in general. This means I don't drink soda, and I make my own mustard from bulk ingredients. My milk is delivered in glass bottles, which are returned to the dairy for sterilization and re-bottling. The very few jars and bottles that now come through my door will be reused if at all possible. I know that not everyone can live this way, but I'd love to see stores make it easier for customers to adopt a more conservation-minded approach to product packaging, whether glass or plastic, by providing bulk goods and allowing us to refill our own containers.
if i had a store that could dispense things like ketchup or salad dressing, i would definitely do this. i'll have to look into this more.
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Old 02-25-2014, 10:21 AM
 
Location: West Orange, NJ
12,545 posts, read 18,387,041 times
Reputation: 3688
Quote:
Originally Posted by victimofGM View Post
Early environmentalist were some of the big pushers for plastic and styrofoam. Switching to plastic bottles reduced the amount of fuel used by delivery trucks due to the reduced cargo weight. Switching to plastic grocery bags saved the trees. Switching to styrofoam cups and burger boxes also saved the trees since they were originally made from paper products. It was only later that they discovered the danger plastic and Styrofoam posed to the environment. Having plastic bottles isn't the problem, lack of recycling and recycling facilities is the problem. Some areas have curb side recycling pickup but not everyone participates. I wish we had recycling facilities like Japan. Having glass bottles means more danger from broken glass in stores and home. When I lived where curb side recycling was available, I sorted my garbage to the point that I had one bag of trash per week and the rest was recycled. I don't have curb side recycling nor are there recycling bins at work. I don't drink from disposable plastic water bottles, am trying to get my wife to stop doing this but she's stubborn. We reuse our plastic shopping bags as bathroom trash bags and for picking up our dog's droppings. Before styrofoam cups, we used paper cups with fold out paper handles. They worked fine.
little known fact....none of your food containers are Styrofoam, which is a blue material made by dupont and used primarily in building.

I'd be interested in seeing who these environmentalists that you speak of are though. I've never heard this before. Sounds plausible, but i'm skeptical.
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Old 02-25-2014, 10:25 AM
 
Location: West Orange, NJ
12,545 posts, read 18,387,041 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Teddy52 View Post
I bring my plastic bags back to Walmart as their collection bin is in the entrance.

I have never witnessed anyone else dropping their bags in the recycling bin.

Maybe someone from Walmart could post and say if they do get a lot of plastic bags returned for recycling.
i never see others do it either, but the bins at walmart, target, and shoprite that i drop my bags in are almost always full. I've almost completely eliminated bags from my daily use, but I'm still amazed at how many bags i accumulate (sometimes the cashier puts something in plastic even though i said i didn't want it - drives me nuts).
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Old 02-25-2014, 11:17 AM
 
Location: West Orange, NJ
12,545 posts, read 18,387,041 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by victimofGM View Post
I graduated high school in the 80s. My elementary school teachers were hippy environmentalist wannabes. When they were teaching us, they were pushing us to save the trees and stop using paper bags and paper cups. They were celebrating the switch to plastic and styrofoam to save the trees. Saving the trees was the big thing back then. Most areas of the country didn't have paper recycling in those days. Some areas of the country still burned their garbage in a barrel because of a lack of trash pickup (I had to do this as a kid until we moved).
so a couple of teachers, not like a Greenpeace or Sierra Club? OK...'nuff said.
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Old 02-25-2014, 12:53 PM
 
Location: West Orange, NJ
12,545 posts, read 18,387,041 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by randomparent View Post
No, sliced meats that I order from the deli counter come in a light-weight storage bag. I can't get around that one, which I think is a county health code requirement. Usually I cut off the zipper and place the remainder in the plastic bag recycling bin when I return to the store. Other than deli items though, my grocer (Whole Foods) has been remarkably cooperative with taring my glass jars, and they've provided lots of helpful feedback to make the process simpler. Because I shop at the same place and time, I've become a familiar face to the meat/poultry/fish guys (and gals), so they know what to do without me asking. Last time I was there, another customer asked about my jars when I was buying cod fillets, and before I could even answer, the fishmonger smiled broadly and said, "This is her way of conserving! Isn't it great?"

Back to the plastic bag issue, I should mention that I do have a few heavy-duty zipper bags in the house. My MIL sometimes sends stuff home with the kids in a Ziploc freezer bag, and they are extremely sturdy. I hate the waste of trashing them, so if possible I wash them out and put them aside for emergencies, travel, school projects, etc. I have competitive swimmers, and a large Ziploc bag comes in handy for transporting wet suits to and from the pool. With a little care, the bags last at least the season and often much longer.

Edit: Did a little research and learned something new. I love it when that happens! I was under the impression that the zippers were made of a different kind of plastic than the bag and had to be removed and discarded, but it turns out that the entire thing can be placed in the plastic bag recycling bin, as can other lightweight plastic sheeting, like dry cleaning bags. So rather than trashing that zipper bag -- after you've reused it a gazillion times, of course -- just take it back to your grocery for recycling.
Ziploc boxes started coming with a "please recycle me" label on them in recent years. I try not to use them much at all, but my wife likes them, and with kids they are very effective (we have lots of reusable snack containers though). But I was very happy to learn they can go into recycling with the other plastic bags!
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Old 02-25-2014, 01:06 PM
 
Location: The analog world
17,087 posts, read 9,802,637 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bradykp View Post
if i had a store that could dispense things like ketchup or salad dressing, i would definitely do this. i'll have to look into this more.
Salad dressing is easy. The Allrecipes site has every variety you can imagine, but I find that my favorite is just olive oil and balsamic, both of which are available from bulk dispensers at my local Whole Foods. Ketchup is a bit harder and requires canned ground tomatoes and vinegar, but all the spices are available in bulk. I don't eat ketchup very often, but if it was a household staple, I would probably store it in a reusable glass flip-top bottle.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dakster View Post
RP - Do you get deli meat? Have you ever handed them your own container so they don't put in plastic wrap? Just another thought I had.
Update: I was pleasantly surprised this past week when the Deli Manager at my Whole Foods agreed to place my sliced turkey in a jar I had brought from home, so that's one less plastic container going in my recycling bin.

Last edited by randomparent; 02-25-2014 at 01:24 PM..
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Old 02-25-2014, 01:25 PM
 
Location: West Orange, NJ
12,545 posts, read 18,387,041 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iowa4430 View Post
It seems to me that I end up using/wasting more water getting some things ready for the recycle bin than it's worth. '

They aren't making any more water. I tend to error on the side of saving water more than plastics/metals etc.
what are you using so much water for?
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Old 02-25-2014, 01:33 PM
 
Location: West Orange, NJ
12,545 posts, read 18,387,041 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mack Knife View Post
Lets take one example, one of many and so common in "green", the elimination of plastic shopping bags. Although I can't say beyond anecdotal examples, most people probably reuse the plastic trash bags they get at stores. They serve as trash bags and other uses involving holding refuse or messy items. Compare the manufacturing costs and toll on the environment compared to an alternative, the paper bag or even the cloth types that are reusable.

The make that paper bag, at some point trees must be harvested. The fact that the material used might be unusable for other wood based products is meaningless, the costs remain attached to the paper bad production. The materials used to make the bad must be transported, usually via a diesel or gasoline fueled truck and then processed into the bag at a plant using fossil fuels. Then the bag is transported to the point is use, again via a vehicle fueled by diesel or gasoline.

That paper bag is not recycled because it is often thrown out as trash or if used to hold trash, contaminated by food materials, greases and so on.

Then we have the cloth type bag. Great until you consider that often, these bags are thrown into some wash because they get dirty. Water down the drain. A small amount for sure but it adds up. The energy used to wash it and dry it all have a huge environmental cost and some might say they can be hung out to dry but really, how many people do that? Furthermore, when dirty they probably get thrown out, in the trash.

As cities adopt regulation prohibiting plastic shopping bags they offer no viable alternatives plastic the feel-good types that aren't often practical.

Far better regulation could be offered such as requiring any plastic shopping bags to be made multiple time reusable. Instead of created smart regulation that improves on something almost everyone uses, a better plastic bag and offers better service and easier reuse and finally recycling, the green movement has figured out that simply prohibiting the plastic bag is the way to go.

Like many "green" initiatives, short of vision and poor implementation is the order of the day. The current administration is a prime example of green hypocrisy. Record oil exports to line the pockets of "energy" companies. How does that work?

Does that mean we should abandon efforts to make the environment better? Hardly but put the word "green" in front of or include it with anything and the results are clear. There is no green except the color of the money.
My reusable shopping bags don't get dirty often. and when they do, they go into the wash with my dish towels and cloth towels that i use around the house. so it's not like i run an "extra" load of laundry in my HE washer. Also...i know very few people that reuse plastic bags. the people i do know that use them use them to line their bathroom trash cans. You know what i use to line my bathroom trash can? Nothing. It's not made out of permeable material, why does it need a liner? at most some tissues and cotton swabs are getting tossed into it, then all of them get emptied into my large trash can or the kitchen trash bag (made of 65% post consumer recycled plastic).

There is a lot of greenwashing out there by companies trying to profit off of the overall green movement, but not every aspect of the green movement is about greed, not by a long shot.
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Old 02-25-2014, 01:36 PM
 
Location: North Beach, MD on the Chesapeake
33,835 posts, read 41,902,030 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bradykp View Post
what are you using so much water for?
In my area plastic and glass containers must be washed and the labels removed to be accepted for recycling.
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Old 02-25-2014, 01:54 PM
 
Location: West Orange, NJ
12,545 posts, read 18,387,041 times
Reputation: 3688
Quote:
Originally Posted by randomparent View Post
I'd never really added things up, but over the past six years, those six reusable sacks have been used once a week for groceries. (I also use them for other shopping trips, but for simplicity's sake, I'll just use weekly grocery visits.) At this point, that's 1872 plastic sacks I have not thrown away or recycled. I also have a set of twelve reusable produce sacks and six reusable bulk bags. All of the bags are in good condition and have many more years of life in them. If I assume that I'll get a decade of use from each of them, I will have avoided 12,480 plastic bags during those ten years.
not to mention all the double bagging with plastic that cashiers often do, and i fit about 2 plastic bags worth of groceries in one of my canvas sacks. i'm not doing nearly as much effort as you are, because i still end up with a decent amount of plastic bags annually, but i can get rid of them with a little more effort.

love the stainless steel can under the sink for trimming! i was gonna get a counter top composter that i would empty weekly into my larger composter, but now i think i'll just do this.
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