Posts Tagged ‘plastic’

Recently I almost bought some new sheets. The guest room sheets are rather ancient, and it’s the only double bed in the house, so I don’t have alternate sheets for it. I saw some nice ones in Tuesday Morning – all cotton, floral. Then I saw that they were in a plastic zippered box-ish bag. Forget it. I don’t want to have to find a use for that package.

I’d still like to get some new sheets, but do I need them? Not at the expense of the plastic package. I can probably wait until there are actual holes in the sheets instead of just thin faded spots.

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My friend Mianne just sent me a link to Inhabitat, a blog about green design. That designers are thinking about this makes me very hopeful about the possibilities for the future.

On the Inhabitat blog I read about Chris Jordan, who was the keynote speaker for the Greener Gadget conference that took place on Friday. Recently I made a comment wishing there were a way to make art out of junk. Look at Chris Jordan’s photographic work. Click into the “Running the Numbers” section. I was mesmerized.

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My docking station, which allows me to use my laptop with a 22″ monitor and a full-size keyboard, broke yesterday.  I spent an hour on Dell Support Chat, with Francisco, who asked me few substantive questions, and several silly ones.  (Me: It’s not working.  Nothing happens when I push the power button.  Francisco: Are you getting any error messages?)

The upshot is that they’re sending me a replacement, because it’s still under warranty.  I have to send the broken one back, to prove that it’s really broken and that I’m not scamming them to get an extra docking station.  It’s not a big or fancy part, and I wonder what they’re going to do with it.  I can’t imagine that they’ll refurbish it.  So it will probably go in the trash.  More wasted plastic, plus useless electronic bits.

Where are the people making sculptures out of this junk?  I mean interesting, beautiful, meaningful, thought-provoking sculptures.  I guess the supply far outstrips the demand for worthless broken trash.

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I got TurboTax in the mail, unasked for. “Try FREE before you buy!” I’m not even going to open the box. Why did they think I wanted this? If I wanted it, I’d go to the website and download it instead of buying a CD. The box is hard plastic wrapped in clear plastic. The CD is, of course, plastic. Maybe I need to become some sort of folk artist and use all this unwanted stuff, because I sure hate to throw it away. Remember those hats made of beer can pieces crocheted together? How about a CD vest? Or giant earrings? They do make good coasters, but I don’t think they’d work as plates.

Speaking of which, I got a cast iron plate for the stove that allows you to get even lower heat. It’s about the size of a CD. The instructions said not to cook directly on it. OK, no problem. I was thinking of making a grilled cheese sandwich on it, but now I won’t.

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This is really just an ad for another website: http://www.storyofstuff.com/

It contains a 20-minute movie about the stuff of the world – its creation, sales, and removal. Watch it, weep, then do something.

So I think I’m doing the right things, and then I realize I am not. I went to Target today and bought stuff. Our toaster oven has lost its little brain and thinks all toast should be black. I replaced it with a snazzy new toaster oven. Did I really need that? I bought three rubber boot trays to put under the bench in the mudroom. Not really necessary, just a useful item to keep things clean.

The more I pay attention to plastic and its relatives, the more I see. Right now I’m in guilt mode. Maybe I can get more positive.

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What’s the deal with sheets? I bought new sheets recently. (Tip: Don’t get the cheap 100% cotton sheets from Target. They don’t have decent hems and are very lightweight and rough.) They came in those plastic um, box-shaped “bags” with zippers. Are they recyclable? Who knows? The zippers would seem problematic. Are they reusable? Not really. When you get grocery bags, many uses arise. These sheet bags, or boxes, don’t lend themselves to any immediate use. I’d have to make up a use for them, which is silly.

Comforters come in these too. Fortunately, I found and bought two comforters, one for the guest bed and one for Willie’s bed, that were just wrapped with a ribbon, like a present. No plastic except for one tag-attacher.

The sheet bag-boxes are just more junk to go into places like the North Pacific Gyre. Where else?

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A couple of weeks ago I bought new socks and was so irritated at the packaging that I meant to write a post about them. But, as happens with so many possible posts, it slid right out of my mind.

Yesterday I bought more socks. (After Thanksgiving some of my socks traveled to another city.) Whoa! Totally different packaging!

The first 3-pack came in the plastic hanger that I think of as normal for sock packages:

Plastic sock packaging

This strikes me as way up on the top of the useless scale. Its purpose is purely for selling socks – keeping them together, keeping single pairs from being stolen, and displaying them on the rack. Once the socks are purchased, the hanger is worthless. I can’t even put it in the plastic recycling, because it doesn’t have a recycling number. Even if it did, I doubt that the recycling center would take it.

The socks I bought yesterday came in a cardboard package:

cardboard sock packaging

There’s a teeny plastic hanger at the top, but otherwise some very clever packaging person has managed to make a sock holder entirely out of a single piece of lightweight cardboard. It has fingers that hold the socks together, and the band that wraps around the bottom contains a picture and the size information.

As I’ve been writing about plastic lately, I’ve been more and more aware of it in the stores. I still buy things that come in plastic, but I’m making an effort to buy less and to make better decisions. In our consumer culture we have a huge range of choices available to us everywhere we shop. When we go shopping, unless we already know what brand, size, and variant of item we want, we have to study all the choices. (Shampoo springs to mind, but I’m not going to write about it now.) When I was choosing socks, I could have gone with a 3-pack of three colors (black, brown, grey), a two-pack from another manufacturer, several possibilities of socks made from different materials (acrylic, cotton, wool, goodness knows what else), other slightly different styles, higher end socks bearing well-known brands, and so on. Now I realize I can also base my choice on packaging, which is the only choice that makes a difference in the long run.

(Got the cardboard packaged socks at Target.)

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