January 29, 2011

Plastic Challenge: Jessica in Ann Arbor, Week 2

Jessica's plastic waste

Name: Jessica in Ann Arbor

Week: 2

Personal Info:

24 year old, married, living with my husband and cat in Ann Arbor, Michigan. I work away from home, at an office very close to our apartment. This tally only includes plastic from me, or shared plastic.

Blog: http://shortystylee.wordpress.com

See Jessica’s Week 1 challenge post.

Total items: 13

Total weight: 4.4 ounces

Items: Recyclable
Yogurt container: #5, recycling bin
Yogurt lid: #5, recycling bin
Soda bottle: #1, recycling bin
Soda bottle cap: Aveda Institute
Bagel bag, #4, recycling drop-off center
2 applesauce cups, #7, recycling bin

Items: Nonrecyclable
Snickers Wrapper

What items can I easily replace with plastic free or less plastic alternatives?
Yogurt tub: I have this again this week, as it was always purchased.
Bagels: I tried to buy them from the grocery bakery but they got hard very quick. I could try to make them. I actually don’t eat them, they are for my husband, but I snuck one so I had to count the bag.
Soda: yea, yea, I know.
Applesauce: I swear, I didn’t buy these and I don’t really even like applesauce. We went up north and my friend brought them and left them in our car. We’d give them back, but she lives in Colorado.
Snickers: A gift for me from a friend on our drive up north. 2 for $1 at the gas station so she bought my one.

What items would I be willing to give up if a plastic free alternative doesn’t exist?
Actually that applesauce is growing on me, I could definitely make that myself. And the bagels, since I don’t really eat them anyways.

What items are essential and seem to have no plastic-free alternative?
I guess the stickers are “essential”. I could just pick and choose produce that happened to not have a sticker, but it probably just got lost somewhere.

What lifestyle change(s) might be necessary to reduce my plastic consumption?
I think I need a couple more hours in my day, haha. I might try to make some bagels though, as I have seen a couple good tutorials online.

What one plastic item am I willing to give up or replace this week?
I can definitely try not to have pop. I shouldn’t have it anyways. The applesauce, once it is gone. It will keep appearing in my plastic tallies until it’s done. I’d rather eat it than have it go to waste.

What other conclusions, if any, can I draw?
I think I need to start to work on the amount of plastic that my husband produces as well…. he is pretty good about it, but he likes to come home with treats for me from the store that are in plastic (like soda).

6 comments
Jessica
Jessica

It was my first time at Great Harvest today and it smelled so good. There were a lot of loaves in plastic but I asked and the worker said that of course they had paper bags :)

EcoCatLady (AKA Rebecca)
EcoCatLady (AKA Rebecca)

Oooooo, I want a bread box! Ok, I'm allergic to yeast so I can't actually eat bread, but still, it just sounds too cool to pass up. I bet I could put my homemade muffins, tortillas and cornbread in there... How long does stuff stay fresh in there?

Katie M
Katie M

LOVE Great Harvest!!

I also realized bread products were one of my biggest plastic culprits. Currently looking for a breadbox on Freecycle and craigslist (i actually used to have a nice wooden one and for the life of me can't remember why i got rid of it, space probably).

Planning a trip to Trader Joes or Whole Foods tomorrow (my only day off) to stock up on as many plastic-reduced items as possible!

Jessica
Jessica

Beth, we actually do have a year-round farmers market here in my town (Ann Arbor is awesome like that!). I do buy a lot of my produce from there but where the problem arises is any kind of fruit. Really I think the only kind still available at the market are apples.

We have plans to get some bread from Great Harvest today and to try to make our own bagels tomorrow (the husband is actually looking forward to that!). We don't have a breadbox, I usually keep all types of bread in the fridge.

Beth Terry
Beth Terry

Ah, Jessica, bread always dries out in the fridge if it's not wrapped in plastic. In the bread box, it won't dry out and it doesn't need plastic. I keep it in a paper bag. It's kind of amazing. (Michael never believes me and is always putting bagels and other bread-type things in the refrigerator, and they are always hard as rocks.)

Beth Terry
Beth Terry

Hi Jessica! Bagels will keep well and not get hard in a bread box. Have you considered getting one? I was keeping bread in a metal popcorn tin... until it got moldy inside. I think that was because there were no air vents. Then, I got this bread box at Target (yeah, I know... Target... and it's probably made in China... but hopefully it's the last one I ever buy!) and it keeps all kinds of bread, bagels, etc. totally fresh -- no hardness and no mold.

http://www.target.com/Stainless-Steel-Breadbox/dp/B0009MFG8K

Do you have a local farmers market? I avoid the produce stickers by buying produce at the market. Of course, you're in Michigan. You probably don't have year-round farmers markets, do you?

As far as getting your husband to produce less plastic waste, how about just getting him to stop getting it for you. I don't know how it is in your house, but for us the best thing is for me to set the example and let Michael do what he wants. He knows not to get it for me. He's really coming along nicely. :-)