Here are a few things that have me feeling hopeful lately. OK, so we aren't reversing global warming, or even making a dent in the mountains of plastic crap and packaging being shoved in our faces every day, but these small things tell me the message is getting through.
Crate & Barrel featured re-usable polyester produce bags in their most recent catalog. Whoa. A major American retailer offering produce bags, not just the hippy food co-op stores? That is kind of a big effing deal. I would provide you with a link, but they SOLD OUT and are no longer featured on the website. In an online chat with a Crate & Barrel representative, I was told a larger quantity was on order that will be available in November. Said the rep: "We had no idea they'd be so popular." Woot!
Want to get your own produce bags before November? Here are a few sources:
- in NYC, the 4th Street Food Coop and Brooklyn Coop have them. I'm not sure about other places.
- Try these sellers on Etsy
- Reusablebags.com (they have the same bags that were offered by Crate & Barrel)
- Make your own. Butterick has a pattern that includes several shopping bags including a produce bag, and there are also free patterns online, like this one.
Target's Home Organic Sheet Sets are packaged with very little plastic. I purchased a set recently when one of my old sheets got too soft and started to shred. And I was happy to find these sheets packaged in a little case made of the same fabric as a sheets, with a glossy paper cuff around it. The paper does have a plastic coating, but in comparison to the thick plastic bags that all the other sheets came in, this is a huge improvement. Now, why aren't ALL the sheets packaged similarly?
While window shopping in Grand Central on my lunch hour, I spotted these ceramic mugs at Tea & Honey...and they weren't packaged in a thick plastic box, as at other places. Hooray! They are called "I am NOT a paper cup" TM. They're double walled ceramic with a silicone lid; replacement silicone lids are also available. My favorite travel mug is ceramic and it is very chipped (it used to have a handle, long ago) and well used. It came from Starbucks. I've tried and tried to scratch the logo off but it won't budge, so I just suffer the shaming at indie coffee shops. I love ceramic because it doesn't impart flavor to my coffee, it insulates well, and cleans easily. And it just feels right, like a proper mug. When it breaks, I'm happy to know where to get a new one. If you can't get to Tea & Honey at Grand Central, plenty of other retailers offer it, some with more plastic packaging with others: MoMa Design Store, Target, ThinkGeek...do an online search.
Last week I refilled a bottle of liquid dish soap for the first time, at 4th Street Food Co-op. It took this long because roommates kept buying new bottles. I was using bar soap to wash dishes for a while, but found that it made the dishes slippery and easy to drop. Perhaps a different bar soap would work better. Or, I can just keep refilling my bottle at the food co-op. I'm encouraged to find more stores offering bulk items and liquid bulk items, such as soaps, oils and vinegars in particular. Liquid bulk items are a new thing for NYC.
Have you seen hopeful signs that the message about single use plastics is getting through to individuals, retailers and manufacturers? Let me know!