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Plastic-Free February, Days 17 and 18

While I was out running this evening, the puppy stole a loaf of bread from the counter. I came home to a living room full of tiny scraps of plastic. I usually buy several loaves of bread at the store and freeze all but one. The bread he ate was our last loaf.

Now I’m thinking I should try to bake our bread. I enjoy baking on those rare occasions when I do it. The plastic wrapper on a loaf of bread is not recyclable around here, so I would be cutting back on more single-use plastic by baking it at home.

It sounds a bit daunting when I think about it, but homemade bread lacks the chemical preservatives and additives that commercial bread has, so it would be healthier in addition to being less plastic. I’ll try it.

Plastic Reuse

Rodale’s Nickel Pincher wrote a piece on how to reuse plastic items as much as possible before recycling them. This tip for reusing lids from yogurt containers is just brilliant:

Carefully cut a star-shaped hole in the center and you’ve got a great sock-keeper. To keep a pair of socks together through the wash and into the dryer, poke both socks through the star and launder as usual.

That never would have occurred to me. I thought socks were destined to disappear in the dryer.

Biodegradable Plastic

The Nickel Pincher also recommends a biodegradable zip-top plastic baggie. The company that makes them, PrideGreen, states that the baggies biodegrade in light or dark, on land or at sea, and in heat or cold, within 24 months. Impressive.

My coupon organizer is made of biodegradable plastic by C-Line. Their promise is that the plastic will biodegrade in a landfill.

Early attempts at biodegradable plastics simply broke the plastics down to smaller plastic pieces. Out of sight, out of mind – at least that was the impression I got from the companies that were touting the plastics. I remember being frustrated with the “green” companies and thinking they just didn’t get what we, as consumers, wanted from them.

Both C-Line and PrideGreen state that their plastics will biodegrade completely, without leaving behind very small pieces of plastic.

Recycling Plastic

Today on Rodale’s plastic-free challenge blog, Rick Chillot asks how many people have plastic recycling at their workplaces. I’m curious about that, too. How many of you have plastic recycling at your workplaces? What about at your homes?

Image by Quinn.Anya, used with Creative Commons license.

6 comments
  1. Jenn the Greenmom

    Bread baking isn’t half as hard as it seems–have you ever tried the Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day thing? (I blogged about it here: http://greenmomintheburbs.wordpress.com/2009/09/25/jumping-on-the-bread-baking-bandwagon/ ) It’s not as SANDWICHY as some breads, and you’ll have to deal with irregular sized slices and stuff, but you could also make rolls or bagels with it (http://greenmomintheburbs.wordpress.com/2010/04/07/speedy-bagels-and-pretzels/ ), or just be creative…this is GREAT for people without much time!

    1. Heather Carr

      You’ve inspired me. I haven’t tried “Artisan Bread…” but I got it for my sister for Christmas. I’ll have to run over to her house and copy down the important details.

  2. Roberta

    I started baking bread in my bread machine – may not be as yummy as baked in the oven but wonderful in that the ingredients can be put together in the AM and a wonderful aroma and bread loaf is waiting for you in the evening. A 2 lb. loaf costs way less than $1 depending on the ingredients used. My favorite meal is baked bread with a crock pot of soup waiting for me at dinner time.

    1. Heather Carr

      It’s chilly outside today and that crock pot of soup sounds awesome. I recently ordered Cook’s Illustrated’s “Slow Cooker Revolution” and I can’t wait to try new recipes.

      I started wondering about the cost of homemade bread versus the cost of store-bought bread. I need to do the calculations for my area. Less than $1 sounds perfect. Store-bought bread comes to about $0.86 a loaf, after accounting for sales and coupons.

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