Sunday, September 18, 2005

The Man Who Would Have No Plastic

When MaGreen was researching plastic, the website she found with the most forceful message was The author recommends getting rid of ALL plastics including food containers, clothing, utensils, and furniture. Since this did not strike us as feasible, MaGreen sent in a comment. Here’s an excerpt:

“I have no idea where to begin. I have plastic drawers, storage boxes etc. I'm thinking they can stay longer than the milk jugs? What about the plastic wrap on cheese? How do you keep cheese from rotting without plastic covering? When you want to save leftovers, what kind of container do you use? Glass on the bottom...but what about the top? And what about those special, green plastic bags that preserve my organic vegetables for even longer? They're out too? I have no idea. Perhaps forty years ago people knew the answers to these questions -- but having been raised on plastic I find them baffling. The articles here are informative but more daunting than they need to be. One article that outlined what steps people should take, what plastics should be removed immediately, etc.”

So the author on the website, Paul Goettlich wrote back. Here’s an excerpt from his email:

“I know it's a tough thing to deal with, but the answer is to deal with one thing at a time and not get overloaded . . . . Your idea to get rid of plastic milk jugs before plastic drawers makes absolute sense. The variables for plastic to leach/migrate into the things that contact it are: the amount of surface area in contact; the materials in contact; temperature; and more . . . . Anything that touches food needs to be changed from plastic to glass or paper or hemp cloth... I have Pyrex storage containers with plastic tops. I always cool the food BEFORE putting the lid on. If it needs to go into the fridge while cooling, then put a plate over the top. You see, it's just common sense kind of stuff. And I know there are glass containers with glass lids available. I just don't know where off hand.

“OK, so here's something about my life. I haven't watched TV in more than 6 years. I don't use shampoo and my hair is in great shape. I never used deodorant in my life. (sorry :-) ); I use little or no soap when washing pots and pans; very little dishwasher soap in an extremely efficient dishwasher; clothes get dried on a line rather than a dryer and definitely no softeners; all fresh organic food; extremely little prepared food of any kind; many bulk foods packed in containers that I bring like glass jars and used paper bags. I buy apple cider from a local farmer at the Berkeley Farmers' Market as 4 gals. in a case and get a 20% discount. I buy olive oil from a farmer and he packs it in my own 10 litre stainless steel container that has a spigot on it.”

Miah and I enjoyed reading his email. We don’t know anybody who gets their olive oil from farmer (but we do know people who don’t use deodorant). We were very happy to see that Mr. Goettlich posted a whole new and very practicle article, "Alternatives to Plastic", shortly after our email exchange.

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Dasha said...

Great post! And very informative links too. I've googled clean kanteen and got sidetracked by the whol topic of eliminating plastic. Starting small - just changed to all pyrex containers and threw out my plastic microwave splatter guard in favor of a glass dish. Starting small, and learning!

Anonymous said...

We use glass lunch boxes with glass lids with a silicone rim to seal it somewhat. The silicone hardly gets in contact with the food. We got these from IKEA after a long search. My husband never liked anything plastic or melamine when it comes to food and liquid containers.