February 20, 2011

Plastic Challenge: Kristin in BC, Week 1

Kristin's plastic waste

Name: Kristin

Week: 1

Personal Info:
Couple in Prince George, BC working & attending university plus bunny.

Blog: http://slightlyirritatingandinconvenient.blogspot.com

Total items: 47

Total weight:

Items: Recyclable
Plastic recycling is not available in our area, it sadly all goes in the trash.

Items: Nonrecyclable
*plastic lined meat wrapping paper (from chicken sausages)
*noodle tray & plastic wrapping
*spinach tub
*2 foam asian pear “life jackets”
*numerous stickers off fruit + 1 from seafood (brought home in own container from store) + 1 from the pharmacy
*plastic wrapping & foam from new pot
*the old pot w/plastic handle
*7 pieces dental floss
*plastic sleeve from breton crackers
*plastic seal from ice cream tub
*tray & wrap from gf shortbread cookies
*wrap band from 3 pack of glass food storage containers
*packaging from wire stripper for light fixture project
*packaging from plug-in for light fixture project
*packaging from nailing straps for light fixture project
*packaging from light bulb for light fixture project
*plastic nut leftover from reused light fixture
*instant noodles package (noodles, soup base & freeze dried veggies packets)
*seal from carton of almond milk
*unsolicited sticker from the body shop from purchase made in November, found in wallet
*unsolicited stickers from Disney “movie order by mail” packet
*adhesive strip from mailer packet used to send birthday gift
*bag of organic apples
*bag of kiwis
*starbucks lid
*3 chip bags
*2 small plastic cups (we were handed samples of tea at the farmers market, then realized the cups were plastic :( )
*2 juice box straws & wrappers
*corner off of pasta bag
*packaging from candy thermometer
*cornmeal bag
*lid to container of sunflower seeds
*bag of buffalo bones used to make stock
*Bob’s almond flour bag
*tray & plastic wrap from mincemeat tarts- Christmas gift
*plastic garbage bag that weeks worth of garbage went out in (not shown)
*post it “tape flags” dispenser
*meat tray & plastic wrap from steak (not pictured)
*lid from container of macadamia nuts
*expired roadside assistance plan card found in wallet
*seal from refillable container of corn starch (probably plastic)
*plastic bag surrounding paper bag of tapioca starch

What items can I easily replace with plastic free or less plastic alternatives?
*spinach tub- could have bought a bunch of spinach, not sure if it was available in the store at the time
*2 foam asian pear “life jackets”- can buy different fruit
*the old pot w/plastic handle- can buy cookware that does not have plastic components
*7 pieces dental floss- using up the last of existing floss, will switch to silk
*plastic sleeve from breton crackers- will make at home rather than buying
*plastic seal from ice cream tub- in the process of researching ice cream recipes that do not require an ice cream maker
*tray & wrap from gf shortbread cookies- I usually bake my own; this was an impulse buy
*packaging from light bulb for light fixture project- many bulbs come in cardboard boxes, these ones were purchased a few years ago
*instant noodles package (noodles, soup base & freeze dried veggies packets)- don’t need to be purchased (are consumed by the other half of the household)
*unsolicited sticker from the body shop from purchase made in November, found in wallet- be more aware of what is being handed to me instore
*adhesive strip from mailer packet used to send birthday gift- generally we just send cheques, and will continue to do so
*bag of organic apples -will purchase bulk in future
*bag of kiwis- ditto
*starbucks lid- will bring my travel mug for future indulgences
*3 chip bags- aiming to consume less processed foods such as these
*2 small plastic cups -we were handed samples of tea at the farmers market, then realized the cups were plastic :(- could have refused samples
*post it “tape flags” dispenser -could use paper flags, but adhesive would still be petroleum based I assume. These came free with something else purchased ages ago.
*meat tray & plastic wrap from steak (not pictured)- we are reducing our meat intake to three meals per week
*lid from container of macadamia nuts- vacation in a can, comfort food
*expired roadside assistance plan card found in wallet- discontinued plan

What items would I be willing to give up if a plastic free alternative doesn’t exist?
*2 foam asian pear “life jackets”
*spinach tub
*7 pieces dental floss (when I run out of existing floss)
*unsolicited sticker from the body shop from purchase made in November, found in wallet
*unsolicited stickers from Disney “movie order by mail” packet
*adhesive strip from mailer packet used to send birthday gift
*starbucks lid
*3 chip bags
*2 small plastic cups -we were handed samples of tea at the farmers market, then realized the cups were plastic :(
*lid to container of sunflower seeds- reused many times, no longer purchase these containers
*tray & plastic wrap from mincemeat tarts- Christmas gift
*post it “tape flags” dispenser
*lid from container of macadamia nuts- vacation in a can, comfort food
*expired roadside assistance plan card found in wallet- discontinued plan

What items are essential and seem to have no plastic-free alternative?
*Due to allergies, I cannot purchase items in bulk due to the risk of cross-contamination. I would do so if I could!
*Meat wrapping. Foam trays, plastic wrap, meat wrapping paper etc. We’ve reduced our meat consumption to three meals per week, but that’s still leaving us with plastic trash.
*Apple pears- they come wrapped for protection ;) Have to avoid purchasing them.
*Wrap band from 3 pack of glass food storage containers. The irony in purchasing glass “Tupperware” containers, but they still come wrapped in plastic. Sigh.
*All supplies for light fixture rewiring project. Home Depot is a land of overpackaged items, sadly.
*Foil seals from almond milk, corn starch etc. I’m sure they contain some plastic in them although the container itself is recyclable.
*Packaging from candy thermometer- one time purchase
*Christmas- we received a disgusting amount of gifts this year that were coated in plastic. We have arranged a “secret santa” for next year so that the number of gifts purchased is reduced.
*Garbage bags- is there an alternative? I have read that the biodegradable trash bags don’t biodegrade in the landfill & are useless, but we have purchased them before
*Cards in my wallet- I bought a new wallet this week & was surprised at the number of plastic cards I have. Credit, airmiles, ID, store loyalty cards etc.I won’t be adding any more.

What lifestyle change(s) might be necessary to reduce my plastic consumption?
Less processed foods. This is not a bad thing.

What one plastic item am I willing to give up or replace this week?
Starbucks- I wont have any unless I bring a travel mug with me.

What other conclusions, if any, can I draw?
I have been awakened to the amount of plastic that goes through our house. I will be making a conscious effort when spending money to reduce the amount of it that enters our house.

http://slightlyirritatingandinconvenient.blogspot.com/2011/02/weeks-worth-of-plastic.html

Please give me suggestions!
Garbage bags- aside from the biodegradable ones (which as I understand aren’t actually better b/c they don’t actually biodegrade in the dump) is there a better option? Obviously reducing the amount of garbage that exits the house via composting etc reduces the number of garbage bags consumed, but there must be a better way!

5 comments
Daniella
Daniella

I haven't seen the post on garbage bag alternatives, but if you NEED an actual bag of some sort, my suggestion would be to buy a large wetbag. They tend to be lined with PUL to keep them water proof, and you would probably have to order one online (from a cloth diaper store, etsy or hyena cart) but you would keep using the same one over and over again. Just rinse it out if it gets stinky or sticky.

Kristin
Kristin

I do have a stash of garbage bags under the kitchen sink that we use for the bathroom garbage, but it takes quite awhile to accumulate.

http://www.ikea.com/ca/en/catalog/products/60045656

This is the garbage can we have in the kitchen & the top is too wide to use a "grocery bag". My mom has done that her whole life, so I grew up on the "grocery bag garbage can" lol.

EcoCatLady (AKA Rebecca)
EcoCatLady (AKA Rebecca)

Well, one strategy for garbage bags is to salvage and save un-recyclable plastic bags and use them for that purpose. Since it sounds like none of the plastic is recyclable in your area, pretty much any bag would qualify. I don't know about you, but every time I take a walk I pass by at least half a dozen bags blowing in the wind.

Kristin
Kristin

Thanks for linking that article Beth! I'll be posting this past weeks details tomorrow :)

Sadly the ground is frozen 10 months a year here, and our worms can only eat so much, sadly much of our compostable matter goes in the trash. When things thaw out in a few months though, we'll be composting the bunny poop too. I have a wheat allergy, so we don't use the litter you've suggested, but we do use a corn based biodegradable litter. But it doesn't flush well :(

I WISH that there was a better recycling program here- it's just tin cans, paper & cardboard in addition to the bottle depot. We're down to about one small bag a week with all the plastic sitting out. That makes the plastic look a like a lot bigger of an issue.