Four Choices for Plastic-Free July

Oops. On my bleary 1st day home after a trip earlier this month, I stopped at the store and bought some yogurt – in a big plastic container. I was halfway home before I realized what I’d done. I joined up to participate in Plastic-Free July, so I shouldn’t have acquired that yogurt.

Then I thought – I’ve still got my Yogomatic (click here for the post about finding it) – I can use some of my yogurt as starter to make more. Oh good grief – the Yogomatic is plastic. Despite that, I finally tried it today. Now I have a quart of new yogurt.

Plastic-Free July is meant to help increase our awareness of unnecessary packaging, all that we buy and throw away and/or attempt to recycle. It’s helped me realized that if I’m mindful, there really are choices. Here are 4 relatively easy ones:

Bar soap: Looking around the house, I saw that every sink has a (plastic) container of liquid soap beside it.  I even had liquid shower soap.

soaps packaged in plastic

Here, everything but Lava is in a layer of plastic.

At the store, I checked out the soap aisle – but most of the bar soap, which used to be wrapped in paper, now has an extra outside layer of (guess what?) plastic.

Last month, looking for soap without the some of the controversial chemical ingredients, I’d come home with a bottle of Dr Bronner’s.  With a little searching I’ve found more choices: an equivalent bar in paper packaging, plus an unpackaged bar of Aloe Baby from Sevananda, a local health food store.

good better best packaging for soap: Dr Bronner's liquid, Dr Bronner's bar, Aloe Baby bar

Here are my good/better/best soapy finds.

Laundry soap: There’s a choice in laundry soap packaging too. Here’s my old plastic container and my new box:

laundry soap choices- paper or plastic?

Laundry soap: paper or plastic?

publix recycles prescription vials

Publix Pharmacy recycles pill containers.

Pill containers:  Another place where all I see is plastic. My recycling center takes them, but for those who don’t, I saw this good news at Publix Pharmacy.

Still, not using plastic at all would be better than recycling it, even if all of us recycled (which we don’t).

The pharmacy told me they can’t dispense medication any way but in plastic containers, so I’m going to cut back on packaging by using the mail order pharmacy to get 3 months worth at a time.

market mushrooms

No clam-shell packaging, and almost too pretty to eat.

Produce: Shop at your local farmer’s market. Our weekend market had these amazing plastic-free mushrooms.

It’s not realistic to think we can be plastic-free everywhere, but small choices aren’t difficult, and they can add up to make a big difference. Can you help?


Still Cleaning the Garage Utility Closet

Memorial Day - found flag IMG_2897

Memorial Day

My patriotic closet:

Perhaps it’s due to the May-June-July confluence of Memorial Day, Flag Day, and Independence Day, but I see I’ve painted my garage utility closet a patriotic red, white, and blue.

Yuck. It's the garage closet before painting IMG_2566

Yuck… better keep this photo small.

One nice thing about blogging my clean-up is that I can start to feel like I’m making a little progress. Here’s the poor old closet with the stuff and the old shelves taken out: can you believe it’s been cleaned and prepared for painting?

Next, here’s my paint-in-progress photo. When I found the paint from my red front door I considered painting the entire floor red, then realized a floor should be as close as possible to the color of dust.

Garage closet -  painting floor the color of dust IMG_2610

Primed and painting…

I wanted to use up my leftover paint, and it only made sense to match the rest of the garage: cream with blue trim. Then I couldn’t resist a decorative flourish and painted the trim with that front-door red.

Here it is after Handyman Don (my friend Donna’s husband) installed my new Container Store shelves:

My garage utility closet with new rug IMG_2932

After I tracked up the light colored floor I got carried away and bought a rug. I have a decorated utility closet.

My other inspiration for this flag of a closet is inside the house. This crocheted flag is a piece from Bob’s family. He told me it was made by one of his grandmothers, but now no one else in the family knows which grandmother.

Crocheted flag re-framed DSC_0216

Crocheted flag in its new frame.

After Bob’s death I started going through the house deciding what to keep, and found the flag. The old frame and mounting were deteriorating and were not acid-free, so I had it cleaned, restored, and re-framed. Here in the US, we had 48 states and 48 stars for a long period of years (1912-1959), so it’s hard to date this piece exactly. The restorer told me the dyes in the thread date to the 1930’s, but it could have been made any time then or in the years following. Here’s a close-up of the crochet-work:

Bob's grandmother's crocheted flag - detail  DSC_0216

I’d love it as a folk art piece even if it didn’t come from family.

But back to my “new” utility closet. I’m working on cleaning out the rest of the garage, but I still haven’t put anything away in the closet. It’s so pristine I can’t bring myself to clutter it up. Any suggestions on how I can get over that?

For a previous post on cleaning out this closet click here.