Getting By

So far nobody has asked us why we’re taking a plastic fast. Seems to me that we’re not alone in wanting to clean up our act. What we get asked about is exactly how it is we plan to get by without the substance that seems to be literally engulfing the planet.*

Good question. A few weeks ago, I couldn’t have begun to answer it. I was busy filling my cart with what looked good, had a USDA organic label on it, and was cheap. Yep, that included a lot of plastic wrap, bottles, tubs, and bags. No doubt about it: food is at the crux of our plastic habit. Maybe that’s why it seems so difficult to “live” without it. I’ve done some thinking since then. And started making changes, some of them so simple I’m embarrassed it took a vow of abstinence to implement them. From easiest to most challenging, here’s the general program:

:: If we can find an alternative to plastic, we get it. This means simply choosing the product packaged in paper or glass (metal lids a bonus), or sold in bulk. It does occasionally take an additional twenty seconds of scanning the shelves before finding the plastic-free item in question.

:: Lots of things we’re learning to make from scratch. Mostly for the fun of it. But also because we can’t live without yogurt, tortillas, ricotta, and cookies.

:: A few things we’ll have to compromise on, like toothpaste caps.

:: Some things (like tortilla chips) we’ll have to go way out of our way to get (from the burrito stands that make them fresh).

:: And some things we’ll do without altogether.

So far we seem to be getting by just fine, with the unexpected side effect of eating healthier than we have in years. Our food is fresh, whole, and, more than ever before, local. Got suggestions or questions? Holler, please.

*In the movie Addicted to Plastic it is estimated that there are 46,000 pieces of plastic for every square mile of ocean, and that the ratio of plastic to plankton is 10:1.

7 Replies to “Getting By”

  1. Toothpaste: try tooth powder, instead. Sea salt + baking soda + one or the other herb or spice (say, cinnamon, or dried powdered peppermint, or dried powdered sage). Keep in a small glass jar.

    Dip the toothbrush in water, then put a pinch of the tooth powder on that. Brush. You’re set.

    As a bonus you get rid of ALL the additives found in toothpaste …

    1. Are these equal parts? Or less of the herbs but equal salt and soda? Moving away from toothpaste sounds lovely, but I was nervous to try straight baking soda. And maybe I’ll have to make those licorice toothbrushes for everyone on my xmas list. 😉

      1. Lemmesee …
        1) 2 parts fresh leaves of sage, thyme, mint, and/or whatever, 1 part sea salt
        Dry together, powder up, use.

        or 2) 2 tablespoons dried orange (or other citrus fruit) peel (organic), 2 oz baking soda, 2 teaspoons salt
        Powder the peel (_difficult_), mix with the rest, use.

        or 3) 2 oz baking soda, powdered peppermint or cinnamon to taste.

        I’m sure there’s more, but those should do for a start. I’ve brushed my teeth with just sea salt, and that works fine. Cinnamon is a great taste, though.

  2. Oh, and toothbrush: boil licorice sticks with cloves and cinnamon for hours and hours, then put them into brandy overnight, then dry them. Chew open 1/3″ off one end, brush, and cut off the used end once it’s used up.
    Works nicely, and people do look so weirdly at you when you grab your licorice brush …

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