Hi! I live in Wilmington, North Carolina with my husband and 3 young children. Wilmington is located on the NC coast. I’m fortunate to be a stay at home mom and this year I am homeschooling my 2 oldest children. We have lots of pets: 4 dogs, 1 cat and 11 chickens (no we don’t live on a farm…we live in a nice suburban neighborhood ;) ) I write a blog called “It Starts With Me” and it is a place for me to share what I do and what I’ve done to get to where I am environmentally.
I am recording my plastic waste for this week because next week (starting Sept. 26) I will be purchasing NO foods in plastic. Since we eliminated trash service a couple of years ago (through reducing, reusing, recycling and composting), I’m constantly looking at our waste and trying to come up with ways to reduce the amount of waste we send to the landfill. I’ve been wanting to stop buying food in plastics for a long time because the majority of our trash comes from food products and is non-recyclable plastics.
So this week is ONLY a tally of what we’ve thrown away in the kitchen… but even so…. we did not have any other plastic waste in our house this week.
Total items: 40* pieces of plastic
Our local county recycling system is that we separate our own recyclables and take them to the recycle center and put them in their appropriate bins.
1 Spaghetti box with plastic window (the paper is recyclable, the plastic is not)
2 bread bags (#4: Recycle at grocery store)
1 Half and Half: Paper container recyclable
1 Almond Milk Container: Paper container recyclable
1 Ricotta Container: (#5)
1 Pretzel Bag
1 Garlic Bread Wrapper
1 Cereal bag
1 Lavash bag
2 Organic Turkey packages
1 organic salami package
3 cheese wrappers
4 string cheese wrappers
2 bread bags
1 veggie crumbles wrapper
1 Newman O’s packaging
1 Liz Lovely Vegan Cookie wrapper
2 plastic wrappings from vegan wraps
8 caps and tabs from milks
1 M&M’s wrapper
1 Trail Mix Bag
2 clif bar wrappers
1 Green Tea (wrapper from getting tea out)
1 waffle cone spill catch
*since I’m planning on using no plastic food items next week… there are things in my fridge that are almost gone that would add 10 more with items such as ketchup, ice cream, feta cheese, vegan chorizo, vegetable broth, sour cream, yogurt, and grapes)
What items can I replace with plastic free or less plastic alternatives?
For the most part almost everything.
I already purchase tea in bulk, make my own granola bars, trail mixes, etc… we just happened to go on a 5 hour road trip to a concert (sans kids) and I was totally unprepared.
After the concert, my husband and I got ice creams. His came out first with a plastic drip catch thing (for a leaky waffle cone)… my eyes couldn’t believe it when he handed it to my husband… so I quickly asked the guy not to put one on mine.
I’ve been saying that I’m going to make my own bread for the past 3 years!!
I’m going to start making my own almond milk.
I realize that we have a cheese addiction. I already talked to my local cooperative market and they’re going to wrap cheeses in paper for me and the goat farmer at the Farmers’ Market told me that I can bring my own containers and they’ll fill them with feta or their other goat cheeses.
Since I’m doing plastic-free food week… I’m going to be putting what we eat everyday on my blog. Our menu, recipes and how I was able to make it plastic free. :) So I’ll let you know.
What items would I be willing to give up if a plastic free alternative doesn’t exist?
All items. Sure I’d miss Gardein and veggie crumbles… they helped my family* ease into not eating meat…but honestly… they’re food that comes from a factory and I’d have no problem saying “Adios” to the packaged food!!
My daughter still eats turkey and salami sandwiches… it’s the meat that she still requests… would she miss it?? Definitely.
What items are essential and seem to have no plastic-free alternative?
My husband would say his half and half. I’ve looked for it in glass, but
What lifestyle change(s) might be necessary to reduce my plastic consumption?
Most of the things that I have in my kitchen can be changed to be plastic-free.
I really dislike plastics… but yet I’ve always felt like I’m stuck using them. BUT… I’m coming to the conclusion that just like when we committed to a mostly vegetarian diet (we eat LOCAL seafood from time to time) that it just takes looking at the situation from a different angle/perspective. I believe that I can do ANYTHING…
planning ahead, making more, coming up with alternatives to some of our favorite store bought items (I’ve done this already with popsicles, granola bars, and other convenience products). OR what I’m going to do this coming week—rethinking what we buy.
What one plastic item am I willing to give up or replace this week?
I am going to give up them ALL!!! (food products that is!) If it comes in plastic… has plastic coating… can be recycled (plastic recycling is a misnomer), has a little plastic window… I won’t be buying it.
What other conclusions, if any, can I draw?
Since we’re not going to be using/buying any foods in plastic this coming week… I’ve had a little tune in my head:
“Who says we can’t be free from all of this plastic packaging? Let’s change our history… who says we can’t be free??”
Think John Mayer will rewrite that one ;)