what products use less plastic

Let's Get Sustainable

I’ve always wanted to write about products that use less plastic in their packaging.

Why is that important?

The whale, the dolphins, the albatross, even us. We’re all eating plastic and we don’t yet understand the effects, do we?

Voting with our pocketbooks is a great way to encourage these great companies.

Quaker Oats Oatmeal. I’m so glad that oatmeal comes in a round cardboard container. It’s simple. There is a plastic seal with a ring you have to pull off, though. I wonder if they could use wax to add that? The seal makes us feel safer even though it doesn’t actually make us safer. Did you know that? Wax would make me feel safe, as if my letter hadn’t been opened without my knowledge. So many other companies have converted, probably spent millions of dollars, for new packaging and it almost always contains more plastic than it had before, not less.

Am I the only one who buys according to the amount of plastic packaging when I can?

Arm and Hammer is another great example. Their baking soda comes in a cardboard box just like the ones I used in the 60s when I was learning how to bake cookies. I still love that little flap that folds down to allow me to scrape off the heap so I get a good measure. Does Arm and Hammer have a monopoly on baking soda? If they do, I’m okay with that. I still bake cookies and stuff. Plus, I use it to clean my oven and anything else that’s dirty and needs a little scrubbing with grit. I always feel safer knowing I didn’t use any weird chemicals that will bake into the food in my oven.

Arm and Hammer also makes good cat litter that comes in a sturdy recyclable cardboard container. There’s a plastic handle that I can pry off with a butter knife when I’m recycling, but it’s a minimum compared to the other brands that use heavy plastic tubs and jugs. I collected a good number of those tubs and jugs before I realized I had more than enough tubs to store stuff and too many reusable jugs for recycling used motor oil. Plus, I buy the fragrance-free cat litter and, again, there aren’t a bunch of chemical smells floating around my house. Most fragrances give me a headache anyway. My only question is why their unscented cat litter still has a smell? I had to learn the hard way, twice losing a day to migraine, that unscented and fragrance-free is different. I have to wrestle with that cardboard, again with a butter knife, to get it flattened, but I’m excited to tell you that cardboard is solid enough that the boxes have never trailed bits of cat litter across my floors. I just wish my cats could do that.

Can one of you scientists develop a bottle or jug that can biodegrade with the application of something cool like ultraviolet light or heat? Really, I would imagine it is possible, a rugged, stable solid that melts or crumbles to reusable dust? Wouldn’t that be cool?

On that note, I’ve heard that some of the 3-D printers work on recycled plastic. We need to do anything we can to get that plastic out of circulation. Anything.

And there’s tea. Today, I’m drinking Choice Organic Rooibus. The cardboard boxes have a clear plastic layer around them that I have to throw away. Could they make that out of waxed paper or something else biodegradable? After that, both the box and the teabag wrappers are paper. What I love about my tea is that it has one ingredient: rooibus. It’s a simple flavor and if I wanted a little vanilla, I could just add a drop of my own. I never do, though. Other types of tea come in foil and paper combinations and I have no idea if they’re recyclable. My husband drinks Red Rose Decaffieinated tea which comes in a cardboard box and the individual bags aren’t even wrapped, one step closer to a sustainable solution.

One more thing that I’m proud of: I’ve been using my insulated klean kanteens every day and I’ve only drank from one disposable plastic bottle of water in the past eight months. Dare me to do better than that in the next eight months. The bottles keep my water cool so it’s more refreshing. When I put hot tea in them, I have to leave the lid off for a little while so my tea will cool down soon enough for me to drink it. It stays warm all day and into the night. I put both the stainless steel and the lids into the dishwasher on a daily basis. Lately, I’ve been adding lemon or lime to my water because my urologist said that lemonade reduces the formation of kidney stones. Yay, lemonade!

And have you seen Boxed Water? Like the little cartons of milk, the cartons used for Boxed Water are recyclable. I’m going to get some for emergencies in my car because those things won’t leach plastic into the water when they get hot in the trunk in the summer time. Isn’t that a great idea?

No, I’m not being paid to write about any of these companies. I just thought you ought to know they’re doing the right thing without being harassed to do it.

Okay, so I want to know what other companies are doing the right thing. Really, don’t you get to a point when you’ve done everything you can think of to get to sustainable and you still need to know more about what responsible corporations are doing so you can support them? I know I do, so please leave comments.

Thank you for listening, jules