Name: Crissy Trask
I live in Washington. I’m married with no kids. I work from home and cook almost all my meals from whole foods, so I have a bit of a head start when it comes to avoiding plastic, but as we all know, cutting it out entirely is not easy! I’m a green writer, speaker and consultant, so I know how to avoid many types of plastic, but practicing what I preach isn’t always so easy. Accepting a certain amount of plastic in the long term is unavoidable, but for one month, I think I can do it!
Total items: 7
One milk carton comprised of 15% plastic. These are recyclable in many areas, but it’s the paper, not the plastic that is being recovered.
One low-moisture mozzarella wrapper.
Two beer caps–they have a plastic lining!
One salami wrapper.
One frozen food bag.
One plastic line chip bag.
What items can I replace with plastic free or less plastic alternatives?
Milk carton: To avoid the plastic these cartons contain, I’ll need to spend significantly more to purchase milk in reusable glass—which I don’t normally buy because it is not local.
Low-moisture mozzarella: It’s fairly easy to buy cheese in bulk and have it wrapped in paper to avoid plastic packaging. But the only mozzarella available in bulk at my grocer is the high-moisture, semi-soft variety—not what I prefer on my pizza. Hmmm…maybe I’ll learn to love it this month!
Beer: Plastic in beer bottles? Yes, if you count the plastic that lines the bottle cap, and you really have to. Thankfully, discovering this tiny bit of plastic won’t put beer off-limits: my grocer stocks many craft beers in cans!
[Note from Beth: Cans are all lined with plastic, too, so best to stick to the small amount in a bottle cap.]
What items would I be willing to give up if a plastic free alternative doesn’t exist?
Corn chips: That rather innocent looking paper bag with the cellophane window is actually completely lined with plastic (frown). I could make corn chips from tortillas, but those also come in plastic! It’s make chips from scratch or go without.
Salami: This was a rare (and poorly timed!) purchase. I rarely eat meat, and I eat even less processed meat items, so how did this salami wrapper get here? My husband picked the salami up on a whim because he thought it would travel well in our pack and make a good lunch item when we are backcountry skiing. I went along with it, but this will be an easy item to avoid.
Frozen peppers: Having run out of all the peppers I’d frozen last summer, I bought these with some hesitation. Fresh peppers, while available, are not in season where I live. This means that those in stores are expensive and were shipped from far away. I know better than to make non-seasonal produce a part of winter meals, but with grocers—even organic grocers—stocking everything from tomatoes to asparagus to peppers this time of year—availability sometimes clouds my judgment. I’ll say goodbye to peppers for now.
What items are essential and seem to have no plastic-free alternative?
Didn’t run into this problem this week, but I know it’s coming!
What lifestyle change(s) might be necessary to reduce my plastic consumption?
Avoiding plastic more often requires slowing down a bit. I don’t always have to make a purchase decision in the instant when I am at the store. If I don’t like my packaging options for dental floss or ketchup or anything else, I give myself time to try and find a plastic-free alternative.
What one plastic item am I willing to give up or replace this week?
I’m given up replacing 55 yd. plastic cases of dental floss every month or so. I found a 200 yd. spool of floss packaged in paper and I can re-spool my existing case and use it indefinitely!
What other conclusions, if any, can I draw?
Follow my progress here or at http://www.greenmatters.com/green-blog/ all month.
I’m almost our of contact solution which I have only been able to find in plastic bottles. Please advise if you know of an alternative.