January 23, 2011

Plastic Challenge: Julia Lentils, Week 1

Julia's plastic waste

Name: Julia Lentils

Week: 1

Personal Info:

I collected the plastic trash for our whole family, my boyfriend Greg, me, and our daughter Olive, as I kinda of felt most of our plastic belonged to all of us.
I stay at home, and he rides his bike for work as a courier. Olive is one year old.

Total items: 32 accounted for (a bunch lost)

Total weight:

Items: Recyclable
cookie tray #7

Items: Nonrecyclable
2x plastic bread bags and their plastic tabs
styrofoam (#6) packaging for stand mixer
cans for beans and maple syrup (lined with plastic)
one old VHS (could not be sent to the thrift because it is broken)
packing tape from stand mixer
cracker barrel cheese wrapper
toothbrush
new toothbrush packaging
eye drop vial
toilet paper packaging
spice bottle and lid
lid to glass juice container
2x envelope window
3x animal cracker single serving bag
seal to peanut butter
baby wipe packing
milk carton
vinyl seal
cat food bag
cracker bag
cookie bag
3 misc plastic bags

What items can I easily replace with plastic free or less plastic alternatives?
beans can easily be bought in bulk
bread I usually make from scratch
baby wipes are eaisly replaced with cloth towels
I feel like I can find toothbrushes that aren’t in a plastic package, same with toilet paper
spices can be bought in bulk
cookies and crackers made at home

What items would I be willing to give up if a plastic free alternative doesn’t exist?
single serving cracker and cookies of course.

What items are essential and seem to have no plastic-free alternative?
eye drops
cat food
milk (a plastic free alternative does not exist in my area)

What lifestyle change(s) might be necessary to reduce my plastic consumption?
I think mainly I should focus on being better prepared in the food department. Better meal planing. So that we do not have to resort last minute to buying bread, or canned beans, etc.
I could research alternatives for feeding our cats, but it seems even beth’s method is not plastic free. At best I buy all their food in bulk.

What one plastic item am I willing to give up or replace this week?
bread (already done it!)

What other conclusions, if any, can I draw?

2 comments
EcoCatLady (AKA Rebecca)
EcoCatLady (AKA Rebecca)

First of all, hope you enjoy your stand mixer, I couldn't live without mine!

For toothbrushes, I use something called TerraDent, which is a toothbrush with a replaceable head. http://www.eco-dent.com/terradent.htm. The heads still come in plastic, but it's much less, plus you only replace the head each time so you don't throw out the whole toothbrush.

I think that Preserve, also has recycled toothbrushes in recyclable containers, but I've never tried them. http://www.preserveproducts.com/

I've never heard of cat food in bulk. Tell me more! Where to you get it?

Beth Terry
Beth Terry

Hi Julia. Thanks for taking the challenge! I think the hardest part of plastic-free living is planning ahead. But the thing is, once you get in the habit, it becomes easier and easier. For example, I never forget my travel mug anymore. It's just part of what I need before I leave the house... like my keys or wallet. Same for reusable bags. Grocery shopping gets to be the same way. You just check your pantry before you leave the house so you know what you need to stock up on. And throw beans in water before you go to bed so they're ready to be cooked the next day.

I'm looking forward to seeing your progress. It seems that you already have a good plan.