Reducing Plastic Use Part III: Challenges

I’ve spent the bulk of my Thanksgiving break researching ways to cut down on plastic waste, and I’m hopeful that within the next year or so I will have cut down my use considerably (I’m even thinking of posting my progress on the My Plastic Free Life blog challenge), but there are some things I haven’t found answers to. Here are the ones I feel fairly hopeless about at the moment:

Prescription medicine bottles and packages.
I have three monthly prescriptions and two annual prescriptions, and it seems there is no way to get those bottles reused and, worse, the bottles I put in my recycle bin are not likely to get recycled according to this source. I’ll write some letters, but those medications are necessary, so I’m a forced consumer of disposable plastic in this case.

I wear custom-made orthotics in doctor-prescribed, super-cushy shoes. Luckily for me, I was never stylish to begin with. Both the shoes and the orthotics are/contain plastic, and I see no way of getting around that if I want to be able to walk without pain again. My mobility scooter is mostly plastic, too, for that matter. I wouldn’t be able to lift one that was mostly metal into my car.

Pet Waste.
I ordered a composter powerful enough to break down meat, but pet waste can’t go in there. I did read that worms will compost pet waste so long as they’re given no other options, but, at least for now, that’s a bit too gross for me. So my only remaining bags will be the compostable ones I use for picking up dog waste until I figure out something better.

Emergency rations.
My cans of food are apparently lined with plastic (who knew?) and my emergency water is in big 7-gallon plastic tubs. I can’t really rely on frozen food during an emergency, and dehydrated food in a desert is just stupid, so… I think this will be one area of my life that is not going to be plastic-free for a while. One emergency preparedness site suggests sealing mason jars full of water the same way you would seal jam, but I’m going to put that low on my priority list for now.

Ingredients for homemade salves.
I’ve collected recipes for just about every body care product I buy that usually comes in plastic: toothpaste, sunscreen, lotion, lip balm, neosporin, astringent. The problem is, all of the ingredients come in plastic jars and bags. It’s less waste, definitely, but I’m hoping to find a local provider that will let me refill my jars rather than buy new ones.

Excessive packaging.
This is a catch-all category. My guess is, I’m going to need something, and I’m going to have to purchase it in a blister pack. Blister packs are evil.

Junk food.
I don’t eat junk food often, but when I get a craving for it, there’s not much that can stop me. I can make my own cherry frozen yogurt, but what about chocolate? Or salty snacks? Or ginger chews? This will be the true test of my self-control.

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