Plastic Trash Challenge-Day 2

June 8, 2009: Day 2

To-Go Cup, Lid and Straw

My devoted friend and roommate (who works at Peet’s and thus gets free drinks) decided to surprise me this morning at work with an iced tea even though I told her I didn’t want anything. And so a clear plastic cup was added to my list out of love.

Soy Yogurt Container

I’ve found that since I went vegan, I buy more products that come in unsustainable packaging. I guess this is because there are fewer vegan choices, and so I can’t be as picky about what things are wrapped in. This is an example: I used to buy Saint Benoit yogurt, which comes in returnable ceramic or glass containers. But then I gave up dairy, and went without yogurt for a while because the soy yogurt I had tried in the past was putrid. One day though, I saw that Wildwood made yogurt which they were promoting as ‘the only soy yogurt made in a non-dairy plant,’ and I appreciated that fact (read: ‘I am a sucker for well-aimed marketing’) and tried it, and it was actually really tasty. Of course, I save all my yogurt containers,[1] but I haven’t really found a good use for them, (and how many can I really accumulate before I have to start recycling them?)[2] so I’m adding this to the list.

[1] I think it’s strange that certain foods come in certain containers, for apparently no reason. I mean, when I say ‘yogurt container,’ you not only picture a plastic tub, but you know its proportions. Whether it’s single-serving or family size, you know it’s a tall tub, not a short squat tub like the kind margarine comes in. Does the yogurt industry as a whole endorse a packaging “look” so that their product will be immediately recognizable to consumers? (And, if so, is Yoplait a pariah?)

[2] As it applies to plastic, what is commonly known as ‘recycling’ is not a whole lot better than throwing it out. Plastic containers are not recycled into new packaging, they are downcycled into things like plastic lumber and parking lot bumpers, which themselves are not recyclable. If you thought the chasing arrows symbol on the bottom of plastic containers actually meant something, read “Seven Misconceptions About Plastic.”


  1. t. said,

    June 10, 2009 at 3:26 pm

    you’re back to being vegan? tsk tsk.

  2. basilbias said,

    June 10, 2009 at 9:52 pm

    yep. what of it?

  3. Eve said,

    June 17, 2009 at 7:21 pm

    Did you know you can recycle yogurt containers and dairy tubs (#5 plastic) at Whole Foods? They will send it to Preserve,of recycled toothbrush fame. You can also mail containers directly to Preserve, but that is less efficient. Here’s the link: Perhaps this will improve your opinion of Whole Foods. Preserve partnered with Organic Valley and Stonyfield on this project and hopes to expand it to more locations.

    Also, you may be interested to know that Madison just passed an ordinance requiring residents to recycle plastic bags.It takes effect September 1.

  4. basilbias said,

    June 18, 2009 at 3:03 pm

    thanks, eve! it would be nice to know that my #5 containers were going directly to preserve to be made into toothbrushes, rather than putting them out on the curb to end up as god-knows-what useless product. although as you know, i try never to shop there, i do pass a whole foods on my way to work (who doesn’t!) so perhaps i will stop by to drop off my recyclables.
    the bag-recycling ordinance is a great first step, though it seems that due to the high estimated cost ($26,000 per year) and minuscule projected revenue ($660) it would make more sense to just outlaw the use of plastic bags in large retail stores altogether (as San Francisco is in the process of doing.)

  5. Eve said,

    June 18, 2009 at 5:04 pm

    Unfortunately here in the Midwest we feel we have a god-given right to plastic bags. Merchants say they can’t afford alternatives,although one would think the reusable bags so many of us use would provide enough savings that they could spring for paper bags. Shoppers say they can’t walk to their cars overloaded with consumables without handy plastic bags.Plastic shopping bags are essential to our quality of life!

  6. Fake Plastic Fish: Show Us Your (Plastic) Trash Challenge » Basilbias- Week Number One said,

    March 20, 2010 at 10:18 pm

    [...] is a long story about these on my blog, but suffice it to say I think I can cut them [...]

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