November is over, which means Plastic Mondays have come to an end. That doesn’t mean that the Plastic Challenge is over. I plan to continue the good habits I’ve learned or reinforced during this challenge, and I’ll continue to work on getting more Stupid Plastic out of my life. (We’ll continue to blog about plastics from time to time, too—just not every Monday.)
If you took the Plastic Challenge with us, I’d love to hear about the changes you’ve made in your life. Here’s an abbreviated run-down of what I accomplished during the last few weeks:
- I continue to NEVER buy bottled water or accept single-use plastic bags at the store. Since I am prone to forgetting my reusable shopping bags (I unload them in the house and then sometimes forget to put them back in my car), the Plastic Challenge provided the nudge I needed to come up with a good solution: I now keep a shallow cardboard box in my car, like the ones they give you at BJ’s or Costco warehouse stores. Now, if I forget my bags—other than the collapsible ChicoBag and two lightweight produce bags that live in my purse—I just put the box into a shopping cart and toss my purchases into it. I’ve gotten a few weird looks, but that’s never stopped me from doing anything before!
- I’ve bought some cute reusable bags to use as holiday present wrapping, to pass the plastic-free message to family and friends.
- I’ve replaced plastic and paper feminine care products with reusables—in my case, Lunapads cloth menstrual pads and the Keeper natural latex menstrual cup. You can also check out Glad Rags menstrual pads; the Moon Cup, Lunette, and Diva Cup menstrual cups; or Jade and Pearl’s sea sponge tampons.
- While I haven’t yet gone cold turkey, I’ve curbed my sad and pathetic Diet Coke addiction enough to avoid buying impulse plastic bottles of DC at the grocery store, like I used to. And I’ve replaced some of that Diet Coke with Numi Chocolate Puerh tea (Fair Trade and organic). Mmmmmm. Other than the occasional lapse, I’ve reduced my Diet Coke consumption—and the accompanying plastic bottles or BPA-lined cans—by 90% so far.
- I have added, “No, we’re not buying that. It’s plastic, so it hurts the sea turtles.” to my repertoire of Responses to Daughters’ Requests for Impulse Purchases, since said impulse purchases usually are made of plastic. (Pez dispensers—what is the point of these?)
- I’ve started buying shampoo in bulk, since I have hard water and can’t use shampoo bars without my hair turning to straw.
- I’ve started using soap nuts in my clothes washer instead of detergent, which cuts down considerably on laundry-related plastic!
- I took a class at a local, organic herb farm and now make my own organic bar soap! It. Smells. Awesome. And the process really, really easy and fun. (Guess what everyone on my list is getting for Christmas?) If you’re interested in giving it a try, the herbalist who taught me recommends a book called The Soapmaker’s Companion.
- As we’ve discussed on previous Plastic Mondays, hot food + plastic = hormone disruptors in your food. Ergo, I replaced my plastic colander, cooking utensils, and several Tupperware-style containers with stainless steel, glass, and bamboo versions.
- I’ve been much more mindful of everything I buy, and I now feel a twinge of alarm if I pick up something that has too much Stupid Plastic packaging. Once I feel that twinge, I automatically put whatever I’m examining in the store back down and either decide I don’t need it or start looking for a plastic-free alternative.
- And perhaps the biggest change for me: I’ve stopped buying heavily packaged convenience foods for lunch and started cooking more. Am now queen of the 15-minute meal.
Have you made any changes since you started the Plastic Challenge? And do you have any final questions about plastics and going plastic free?