09/08/2012

I Got an Office Job. Yes I Did.

Recently I signed up for something that I’ve always said I didn’t want in life: a desk.

But here I am! I’ve got it all: desk, phone, computer and cup of paper clips. I sit in the corner of my boss’ office which is tucked inside the marketing department’s office (the only offices available to us at this time), and we’re all inside a copper roofed structure, built in 1978, that contains a beautiful auditorium which I have keys to!

Aforementioned boss conveniently went on vacation during my 2+3rd weeks of employment and that was when I realized that office supplies didn’t appear in the Mary Poppins drawer of manifestation. *Gulp* I had to ask around to figure out how to ‘get things’. So I did.

I definitely furrowed a brow or two—or nine—asking and phoning around trying to source my analog organizational needs: “So, there isn’t a place where discarded office supplies go to wait for new homes?” and “Where is the room full of leftover office supplies or surplus on campus?” and “Surely I don’t have to buy anything new, there must be hundreds of unused items around!”

I was told to order from ‘the company’ by sending my coworker an email identifying my choices with the  codes from the online catalogue.
I obediently sat in front of my computer monitor, clicking away on ‘the company’ site looking for plastic free items. About a minute later I had already wandered here: Green Apple Supply. I MARVELED at the idea that plastic free highlighters come in packs of four for under five dollars! I also found a typo on their website, so I had an excuse to send them this little note:

Plastic Free Office Supply Website

Sadly, I didn’t buy anything because I wasn’t about to go around making financially unusual decisions while at work. So I went back to ‘the other company’ site and e-mailed my order as per protocol: Rolodex for my boss, agenda, notepad and pack of post-its.

I then wandered out for a coffee and to follow my curiosity to the campus bookstore. LOOK WHAT I FOUND!

Plastic Free Highlighters
There you have it folks. Times are changing. Hope is restored. I can finally sleep.
Anyway. I’m keeping my plastic ‘unavoidables’ at work in a separate bag. So far only post-it note wrapping, a stapleless stapler, the stand my computer monitor sits on (used, not new!), and two pens I pillaged from my boss’ cup’o’pens.
I really enjoy this lifestyle change, or ‘project’, and I’m grateful for choosing it. There are some really great benefits:
  1. I spend less money
  2. I am getting better at having awkward social interactions
  3. I eat better, with more thought
  4. I appreciate treats so much more (eg. free for all chips in a bowl at a barbecue social)
  5. Every time I find or *make* an alternative item/product, I feel like I’m winning a game I forgot I was playing
  6. People are getting excited about it and sharing their experiences: Roz, Darragh, Ben
  7. I spend less money.

Once again, thanks so much for reading. I have a whole back order of photos and stories to tell. It’s been a busy summer!
Take care,

Carol-Lynne.

PS. Here is something I watched at the beginning of my day.

08/30/2012

Breaking it all down: Guest blog post by Roz!

In reading Passing up Plastic, the most common thought to cross my mind is “what about (insert common plastic product here)?”  Back when straws were mentioned as a covert offender in the war against plastic, I figured there had to be glass straws available.  And there are!  Over the next several weeks, I compiled a small list of everyday items that could or should be easily replaceable by non-plastic options and researched their alternatives.  Here is that list:

 

STRAWS – In the immortal words of Rodgers and Hammerstein, let’s start at the very beginning.  There are two companies that specialize in glass straws.  Since they are both quite expensive, I’m not bothered with them.  Makers of wholesale stainless steel products Onyx, however, make some very inexpensive straws.  They are four to a pack, and come with a cleaning brush!  Most online stores sell them for around $10 for the set, but I recently saw them at a Vancouver grocer for $7 and change.  I don’t use straws, but my roommate is buying some this week.

FREEZER BAGS – Most options are advertised as bio-degradable plastics, but that still doesn’t wash too well.  The most promising lead was from Australia and the manufacturer has gone under for misleading advertising (it seems California expects one to be forthright with just how long something will take to bio-degrade).  Sanctus Mundo offers airtight, stackable stainless steel containers.  The seals are silicone, which is borderline plastic and not bio-degradable, but these are way better than the alternatives!  My Plastic Free Life also has a great post on drying foods for storage.  Canning is another great option.  The lids will be plasticized though, so make sure it’s all BPA free.

COSMETICS – Bane of my womanly existence, I’m finding it very difficult to find reasonably priced cosmetics that are not packaged in plastic.  Being the kind of girl who finds a shop like Sephora utterly overwhelming, I’ve been going without face cream for about a month because I want a plastic-free option and don’t want to commit to a jar of cream that might smell too strong/leave my face too dry/make me break out/myriad of other excuses.  Whole Foods has a few options, so a goal for my week is to head out and buy one.  Unless, of course, one of you has a recommendation…  If so, please contact Celine or Carol-Lynne and we’ll have chats.

MAKE-UP – Much the same as cosmetics.  I haven’t run out of anything yet and happy not to have delved into this one too far as yet.  I’m thinking of Priya Means Love (at the moment, it seems her Etsy page is down, but you can contact her via Facebook) and products are available Grass Roots Environmental Products.

SHAMPOO – A squeaky clean scalp is one of the purest delights in life.  Priya’s is the only line I’ve found that doesn’t use plastic to package hair products, aside from lids.  I’m going to try her Lavender mud hair & scalp cleaner.  Again, if you can recommend a plastic-free shampoo or shampoo recipe that gives the clean scalp feeling of sodium laureth sulfate, I’d be delighted happy to have it.  I’ve got a damn thick mane and without a good lather there’s no chance of that soap reaching my scalp.

CLOTHING/LINEN STORAGE – In my Utopia, this means large, unde-bed cedar bark boxes with lids.  Stored goods don’t get dusty or moth-ravaged, but they can still breathe.  I haven’t found any such product.  The most promising yet is the Japanese sumibaku, which comes in 3L, 10L and 30L sizes.  It’s a dual layer fabric with charcoal in the middle, so it breathes and deodorizes at the same time.  The 30L bag is ¥2,600 ($33 CAD) and comes to about $68 with shipping from Japan.  I’ve inquired into the nature of the bag’s fabric.  If it’s natural, I’m going to request a friend in Japan bring a couple back.  The other option, of course, is a cedar chest.  They’re not cheap, but my family has one that’s going on 100 years where we keep the fancy books, a Cowichan, and some big blankets.  It’s the stuff of legends.

There’s a couple from the north of England who have been living nearly plastic-free for over five years.  Since they`re much more studied, I’ll leave you all with a great resource from their blog, Plastic is Rubbish, which addresses a lot of the “what about?” questions: The A to Z of plastic free products.

08/05/2012

Across Canada Plastic Free?

On Friday my fella and I are embarking on a five week long adventure across Canada!

Here’s our approximate route from Victoria to P.E.I. and back.

We’re going to be travelling in this Van

Cornelius. Our little elephant van

With this dog

Loup is a wonderful driver

We’ll also be carrying lots of mason jars and a blender.

Some plastic things that I already have that will be coming with us are: Our backpacks, tent, hammock, some utensils that we’ve had since our epic adventure to Haida Gwaii last year, and our cooler.

I would love some tips from the community on the best ways to travel plastic free! Or better yet, if you see your town on our route, drop me a line and you can show us your favourite spots!

07/31/2012

Next Post

Caught a link to a The Onion.com article called “‘How Bad For The Environment Can Throwing Away One Plastic Bottle Be?’ 30 Million People Wonder”

Hi-larious.

“What’s one little bottle in the grand scheme of things, you know?” added each and every single one of them.

Cheers!

Cheers!