Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Going to the dentist just got better.

Bleatings from EnviRambo.

Often, plastic enters my life in the weirdest of places.  Like the dentist. 

I go to great lengths to avoid the stuff in my daily life.  I take my own bags for grocery and non-food shopping.  I choose products not packaged in plastic.  I request "no plastic in shipping" when ordering online.  I carry my own eating utensils, cup, glass straw and take-out/leftover containers.

Yet, at times, I am caught off guard.  Like at the dentist.

I'm sitting in the chair, trying to talk with my mouth wide open, while their fingers are in it, inevitably drooling on myself.  Why do they always ask you questions and then expect an answer when it's impossible to do so?  Anyway, the last thing on my mind is plastic.

All I am thinking about is:

When am I going to get out of here?
How messed up will my hair be when I do?

I don't know why, but I always leave the dentist with bed head.  It's horrifying.  Even more horrifying is what happens at the end of my appointment.

We schedule my next appointment while I try to salvage my hair and then I turn around to the bag.

Yeah, the bag.  You know, that plastic bag containing a plastic toothbrush, plastic tube of sample-sized toothpaste and plastic sample-sized floss?  It happens every time.

And I take it!  That's the horrifying part.

WTH?  I'm such a creature of habit that it feels wrong not to.  She's standing there, arm extended, handing it to me.  I have to take it.

That's how I used to feel.  Eventually I got over that nasty habit, like many others and started requesting no bag.  I do it with everything else, why not this?

Then I started politely declining the toothbrush and toothpaste.  I have no less than a dozen toothbrushes under my kitchen sink that I use for cleaning.  None of them have even been opened.  I don't think I need another toothbrush.  When traveling I take my own Tom's of Maine toothpaste, so I don't really need the sample of something I'm never going to use anyway.

I do still take the floss.  I never have to buy the stuff, I just get it from my dentist.  Yes, it is plastic, but had I purchased it it would also be plastic, packaged in plastic.  See how I just justified that decision with myself?

Then one day I turned around and she was standing there, smiling, arm extended, handing me a PAPER bag!  Holy cow!  I did a double take.

And I took it!  Damn.

I commented on the switch and she replied they were trying to be more environmentally friendly.  Hurray!  I'm not saying they made the change because of me.  Maybe they did, maybe they didn't.  But they did make the change.


Julie Artz said...

The only thing that bothers me more than all the plastic crap in the dentist bag is that they give the kids Sponge Bob Bubbly Fruit toothpaste. My daughter was really excited about it at first (let's face it, she doesn't get much saccharine in our house, so it was a novelty), then after a while she said, "Mom, there's no such thing as Bubbly Fruit" and went back to the Tom's. But still, Sponge Bob toothpaste!! I'm glad your dentist went eco with the bag!!!

Green Bean said...

Ha! I just went through the same thing a couple weeks ago - well, except without the paper bag. Why oh why do I take it?? I like my Preserve toothbrush and my Whole Foods toothpaste. I'll try to be strong - at least until they offer it in a paper bag.

Anonymous said...

OMG, I'm so with you on this! And with the kids it's even worse--I can turn down the plastic bag myself, but I can't bring myself to tell my kids, NO you can't have that cool new toothbrush. Though I should...Julie, your daughter sounds fabulous, I wish mine would come to those kinds of conclusions!

Daisy said...

Ah, your influence spreads! Every little green step helps.


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