Sunday, August 8, 2010

Plastic Crap Wall of Shame

You guys know this woman, right? If you don't, where have you been? This is Beth Terry whose blog Fake Plastic Fish is one of the best eco blogs in the blogsphere. Beth is on a mission to eliminate plastic from her life and to educate others on how to do the same. Mom and I follow Beth's blog and Mom has recently starting following Beth's other project on Facebook. The project? The Plastic Crap Wall of Shame, a collection of photos uploaded by fans on Facebook. All it takes is one trip to any store to find lots of plastic crap and you'll be hooked. Mom sure is.

You can't help but be inundated by plastic every day. Even the computer I'm typing on right now contains lots of plastic! It's all around us and it's indestrucible. Think about this: every single item you've ever throw away that contained plastic is still with us today. It hasn't broken down to anything in the landfill and still looks much the same as it did when you placed it in the trash. It doesn't matter if you're 8 or 80 the story is still the same. Pretty scary, huh?

When Mom was in Target last week she couldn't help but notice this. Seems innocent enough, right? Wrong! Aluminum bottles are good because they are reusable, but do they have to be wrapped in plastic? Don't get me wrong, I think it's great that they're selling a two-pack of bottles but there must be a better way to package them without plastic. Plastic on the top and on the bottom? That's just wrong! The only good thing about the bottles is that they are so affordable. If you biggify the picture you'll see they cost $2.50. There's really no excuse to not own these.

Mom uploaded the photo on the Plastic Crap Wall of Shame Facebook page and Beth herself commented on it. And then Mom was hooked. She has always avoided plastic and any type of unnecessary packaging but never thought about taking pictures of products that were overly plasticized. But now that she has, she's on a mission to document the crap that she sees wherever she goes. Case in point, a trip to Fresh Market, a somewhat foo-foo grocery store to buy Dad some chocolate.

Most produce departments drive Mom crazy but Fresh Market's pushed her over the edge. It reminded her a lot of Trader Joe's where every produce item is wrapped in plastic. Maybe that's what Fresh Market is modeling itself after. Let's hope not.

Peppers wrapped in plastic? Are you kidding me? There's no excuse for this. None. You can cut up your own peppers because it takes only a few minutes to do so. This plastic wrap and it's equally horrible foam tray will live on forever. And that's not a good thing.

Mom had a hard time with the peppers and then saw this corn, all de-husked and ready to go. But why? Because it takes too long to remove the husks? Lots of people grill their corn with the husks on. But never mind that. Why can't you remove the husks yourself? Even if you put them in the garbage instead of a composter, that's still better throwing away all that plastic and foam.

Dad told me that Mom was shaking when she saw these green beans. She actually yelled in the store but I cannot repeat what she said because I'm trying to keep this post G rated. Maybe the beans are in the plastic bags to make them more desireable. People might see them and say "Don't those beans look cute in their own little bag? Oh I must have them!" Give me a break! It's a marketer's dream, don't you think?

By the time Mom saw these peaches she was ready to run out the door. Again with the silly marketing. But really people. Peaches are so portable. You have two hands so put one in each hand and skip the bag. The bag that will not decompose but will eventually leach all its toxins into your groundwater. Yuk!

Mom was beside herself when she saw this as Dad paid for his chocolate. In all fairness to Fresh Market, this was the backside of the display. They are trying to get people to purchase reusable bags and they even deduct five cents from your bill when you bring your own. A small deduction in money but a large one for the environment.

There are many people who feel that plastic is the problem but Mom believes the problems lie in how it's is manufactured, used, and disposed of. Let's face it, plastic is here to stay but we can be smart in how we use it. And manufacturers can do a better job of designing items and packaging that uses less plastic. Remember that everything that's made has a waste component to it too, so the end product you see in the store is only half the story. What happens to the waste at the factory? Hopefully manufacturers are working to reduce this waste as they reduce their energy use.

You have lots of power when you purchase items. You decide what you will and will not purchase and you speak volumes with your purchasing power. Items unnecessarily wrapped in plastic should be passed by in favor of items containing less packaging. These items are not always easy to find and the above pics show the most extreme excess packaging. But think about the everyday items you purchase and how re-thinking these items could save packaging. Toilet paper is a good item to look at. Most is heavily wrapped in plastic (for what reason, I don't know) but some companies don't wrap each roll individually. Does this make a difference? Absolutely. Think about how many rolls you use each year and it all adds up.

And don't forget about the disposal component of plastic. Lots of plastic is recyclable yet most doesn't get recycled. Is it a convenience thing? Are people just too lazy? Or are they unaware of what can and cannot be recycled? I think it's all of the above. I know all of you are increasing the amount of waste you recycle each day but I'd like you to think about how you will dispose of an item before even purchasing it. Turn over that package, bottle, container, or box of whatever to see if it can be recycled. If it can't, what will you do with it? Think about it.

Mom hasn't uploaded the Fresh Market pictures to the Facebook page yet because she can't decide which one is worse. But she will pick one and show the world what Fresh Market is doing to the environment in the name of convenience. Convenience? Not at all!


THE PUGLET said...

oh stubbs, tell your mom i'm so sorry to hear about all that plastic. also tell her the pepper/corn/green bean commentary made my human laugh.

my human is the laziest person on the planet when it comes to food. she's been known to eat a bowl of cereal for dinner (for days at a time) and doesn't believe in cooking - and even SHE cuts up peppers and husks her own corn.

geesh people. your mom is right - there's just no reason to mummify vegetables in plastic wrap.

Anonymous said...
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Heather and Walter said...

I seriously wonder how fast and far our collective national health rating and IQ median would rocket if all plastic was eliminated. Those fumes and off-gassing are crazy evil.

agent99 said...

Love & need my Jenny Craig meals......but do they all have to be package with sooo much waste?? Boxed AND seled in plastic. Uhg. It drive me insane. Takes up 3x as much room in my freezer, and the waste is shameful. Almost enough to make me quit. OK, we'll tale in 36 lbs, OK?

FYI: word verification is "fereco"

Melissa and Emmitt said...

hi stubby!
oh my goodness!
isn't it truly amazing how plastic is everywhere?
so much so, i do not think i see even half of it around me.
i like this plastic wall of shame.
thank you so much for sharing it.
as always a wonderful and very informative, thought provoking post!


Tweedles -- that's me said...

you and your mama, are trying to show us how to live green, and save this earth.
We are so lucky that we have you to guide us.
The plastic wall of shame should be on billboards.
Thank you so much Stubby my little green friend
nitey nite

Pugs2Luv said...

This is too much! Our human doesn't spend much time in the produce section of the grocery store...we're lucky to have year round farmer's markets & we grow some our favorite fruits & veggies. This is very disheartening especially since the last time our human went to the farmer's market our human was so proud to see almost everyone there with their own reusable bag. what's the sense of selling reusable bags if your fruits & vegetables have more plastic wrapped around them & don't get our human started on the styrofoam. It's just good to know that we're not the only pugs with a human that freak out (just a little) publicly.
Luv, Zoey & Phoebe

Pearl said...

Hi my sweet Stubby,

This post was very eye-opening. You are so right! Momma is going to pay more attention to this in the store. Thanks for always keeping us all informed and accountable.

And Stubby, I am sooo sorry that you keep having to get your tootsies wet! You know how I hate that too! It hasn't rained here in SO long though.. I would probably do it if it would just RAIN!

Just tippy toe out there and do your business REAL fast, ok??


Stubby said...

Hi Puglet! Mom has been known to eat cereal for dinner, too! She used to go through several boxes of cereal a week but she hasn't eaten any in a while.

I'm so glad your lazy human cuts up her own peppers and husks her own corn. It's important to do whatever you can to use less waste.

Stubby xoxo

Stubby said...

Hi Heather & Walter! It's so good to hear from you! I would love it if plastic was eliminated but I just don't see that happen. I agree the fumes are awful so if we each do our part to lessen the amount of plastic we use, the world will be a better place!

Stubby xoxo

Stubby said...

Hi Gen & The Foo's mom! What to do about Jenny Craig? Hmmm. Are the plastic trays recyclable? You can probably recycle the boxes? The plastic on the outside may be recyclable too - you might be able to put it in the plastic bag container at the grocery store.

So please try and recycle as much as possible. Good luck with the 36 pounds!

Stubby xoxo

Stubby said...

Hi Melissa & Emmitt! I'm betting there's not as much plastic stuff in your area since it's pretty green. Being conscience of excessive plastic enables you to avoid it. I know you're doing your part to save the planet!

Stubby xoxo

Stubby said...

Hi Tweedles! I love it the idea of the Plastic Crap Wall of Shame being on billboards! You are so wise, my little green friend. I know you are doing all you can to save the planet and spreading the word wherever you good. Thank you so much for all you do!

Stubby xoxo

Stubby said...

Hi Zoey & Phoebe! You are indeed lucky to be blessed with year round farmer's markets. And how cool is it that most people bring their own bags? I love it!

Mom is happy to know that there is someone else in the world that freaks out in public about stupid things. Maybe there's a 12 step program for it?

Stubby xoxo

Stubby said...

Hi Pearly Poo! Plastic will never look the same to your momma again. Please thank her for raising her awareness of this situation. Maybe she can even post some photos.

I totally know what you mean about tippy toeing out to do my business but with my gimpy leg I can't really tip toe. I get carried out and if it's wet I just turn around and limp to the door. I sure wish we had a grassy area that was covered. Maybe I'll put in a request for that.

Stubby xoxo

Winston (smilingpug) said...

Oh Dear, this is concerning. Go green purchase a bag only if you need it to carry all your plastic wrapped items home in!!!!!! Mum would shake too if she saw all this. Here at homes we can recycle all plastics so we don't put any of it in the garbage at all. But seriously, that is a heck of a lotta of veggies in plastic. We just don't find stuff like that here in Canada. I mean somethings will be in plastic but for the most part it is all piled on tables in the store and you just load up and take home.


PS you and your momma needs to move to Vancouver. She would luvs it here!

Hank said...

Stubman....yeah, why the heck is all that plastic necessary?? Just gits in the way o' the FOOD!!!

Hope yer mom has stopped shakin'!


Stubby said...

Hi Winston! I think Canada has much better regulations regarding plastic than we do in the states. It's really a shame that people feel it necessary to wrap each piece of everything individually to protect them from germs. Give me a break!

I think I told you before, but maybe not, that Mom and Dad were in Vancouver on their way to Alaska. They only spent part of a day there but they said it was lovely. I think I would like it there because it's not hot like it is here. And of course you're there and we could hang out :)

Stubby xoxo

Stubby said...

Hi Hank! Tell me about it! I just want the food and don't want to mess with any old plastic. What a waste!

Mom isn't shaking today because she hasn't gone to the store yet. Give her time, dude!

Stubby xoxo

้›…็Ž‹ไปป said...
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Minnie Moo said...


Your moms is good about being green! You are very lucky to have someone that cares so much about you and the environment!

Dana Orsborn said...

Hi Stubby!

That is a lot of plastic!
It seems like more supermarkets
are plastic wrapping each item.
It seems very unnecessary.

You should see the plastic situation out here in Vegas. It's enough to send you into cardiac arrest. I'll have to take some photos and send them to
Beth like you did.

-Dana & Daisy

Stubby said...

Hi Minnie Moo! Thanks for stopping by my bloggie! I try to be as green as I can and share what I know with the world. We are all in this together and together we all make a difference!

Stubby xoxo

Stubby said...

Hi Dana & Daisy! Maybe that's why Mom hasn't been to Vegas in years. All that plastic would send her right over the edge of a very tall hotel.

Please take some pics and send them to Beth. I'd love to see the plastic that lives in Vegas!

Stubby xoxo

Nancy Medina said...

Stubs this here is Howie. Send me summa that plastic. I will pee all over it fur ya. I jest read Pearley's blog and am wonderin, when your maw saw all that plastic, did she say summa them HBO words? I am trying to collect them words to use on Annie is why I was wonderin.

yours truly,
H. PeeMan

Stubby said...

Hi Howie! Thanks for offering to help out with this plastic. I'll be putting some in the mail tomorrow for you to pee on. Tell your maw that you need a big bowl of water so that your bladder is nice and full.

Mom was yelling lots of HBO words. I couldn't believe it when I heard them. I put my paws over my ears because I don't want to learn those words so I'm sorry that I can't tell you what they were. Maybe mom could just email them to you or better yet, she could just email them to Annie!

Stubby xoxo