March 20, 2011

Plastic Challenge: Manu, Week 1

Manu's plastic waste

Name: Manu

Week: 1

Personal Info:
I’m a 28 years old guy from France. I try to run my own little movie making company, it does not yet sustain me, so I’m still working four days a week as an engineer for a kind of start-up based in Paris (working on web sites, databases…). I’m currently preparing a movie talking about plastic, and this challenge might be part of this project, at least for the preparation… I have been concerned by ecology for a while. I’ve made a first movie few years ago, talking about Wwoofing in New-Zealand (people giving a hand in organic farms, to learn, exchange, travel..). It pushed me to take more care of what I was doing, and to try to transmit to other people what I had learned.

I try to take less plane. I use mostly public transport (train, subway) and bike. No more plastic shower gel bottle for a few years already. No more plastic bags too in the supermarket (even if all the organic vegetables are in plastic sealed bags so that you can not try to pass them as « non organic », which are less expensive). I also reduced my meat consumption (once or twice a week instead of once or twice a day as I use to do). The economy made by this way permits me to buy more organic products. I should just go to street markets or only organic supermarkets to have it with less or no plastic…

I’ve heard about the great garbage pacific patch only a few months ago. I didn’t realize until then that we had such a big trouble with plastic. I’m now wondering what I could do on my side to fight this as you are doing it here… Well, let’s go for the plastic challenge.

This week was not an ordinary week, but I don’t think I’ve way much more plastic in my trash than usually (if I except the surprise pocket from the premiere at theater, and the few plastic garbages from the new mobile phone I received this week. My previous mobile, a second hand one, sounded more and more like a walkie-talkie).

Total items: 62

Total weight:

Items: Recyclable
I’m not sure for everything, but here is what I would have put in the bin for “recyclable” things.
1 – a solid plastic box received as a gift with some other things for the premiere of the movie “127 hours” organized by Pathé
1 – one beer capsule, in metal by lined with plastic
1 – milk carton box, but still with 23% of polyethylen
1 – cheese plastic bag
1 – half plastic / half paper bread bag, even if I know, now, that that kind of mix product if not yet treated, just burned.
4 – publicities received by post mail, paper with a little couch of plastic on it (you say glossy paper ?) 4 – envelopes received by mail too, most of it is paper, but they have plastic “windows”, I think I should remove those plastic windows if I want the paper to be treated
6 – train or subway tickets, kind of cardboard, with a little couch of plastic on it, again..
2 – bills, in paper, but with BPA on it. I should have two or three more at least for a normal week.
2 – an organic shampoo cap in two peaces. The tube was in metal, they still have a little progress to do..

Items: Nonrecyclable
Some of them might be recyclable in fact (I’ve just read that LDPE bags could be).
2 – LDPE bags (with the number 4 on it) from the premiere
3 – other little bags
1 – big bag with Pathé on it (even if I’ll use it for my trash bin)
5 – some bags again, one for a sandwich, another one I don’t remember why, and three coming from the new mobile phone I bought (something sold as more ecological as they put less plastic around, and use bioplastic for the shell… the same sh## inside, and not sure the bioplastic is the synonym of a bright future).
6 – little, fast invisible on the picture, plastic protections for the mobile (no styrofoam at least)
1 – big mix of plastic tap, was around the ecomobile box…
7 – little pieces of plastic tape, used for a gift I received from my girlfriend for the Valentin Day (we usually prefer to make love than shopping for Valentin Day, but it was a gift she did herself, out of felt, which is based on boiled wool, and packed in a recycled paper, a big old envelop).
1 – a little piece of “bolduc”, with this gift too. I don’t know the name in english, it’s those pink little band people put it on gift to make it look better. This one was recycled and might be used again, but I should throw it and it looks like plastic.
3 – plastic pieces out of envelops (on the glue part) and stamps I’ve used to send mails.
1 – piece of the plastic package for my daily medication.
1 – very little teeth brush, I’ve been convinced by my dentist to by this to complete my teeth wash. It was sold by a hundred piece, at least. Enough for the next five or teen years as I used it once or twice a week and store it in a little plastic box so than I can keep it clean to use it again during two or three months…
1 – mixed-up package with plastic and maybe metal, from the top of the wine bottle I shared with some friends this week The stopper was made of cork at least (I really appreciate your list of cork / plastic stoppers, I have been trying to do the same for a while, but in a less organized way).
1 – solid salad plastic box
1 – solid ham plastic box
1 – plastic pen (I don’t throw a pen a week, even if I keep a lot of pens which are not working so much, and throwing one of them sometime…).
2 – yoghurt box and top. I don’t eat a lot of yoghurt, but I was a guest…
1 – chocolate package
1 – a kind of big plastic bag with a rain hood. Received at the premiere of the movie too. Something you can try to use once, and then throw it. Not yet in my garbages, in fact, but I wanted to show it (the smell of phtalates was very strong when I opened it). It might be used to protect some clothes while painting one or two walls at the end..
1-a little picture that says in french : make love instead of shopping for the Valentin Day. ]

What items can I easily replace with plastic free or less plastic alternatives?
Plastic bags, most of the packages if I had bought it by some other ways.

What items would I be willing to give up if a plastic free alternative doesn’t exist?
The surprise pocket from the film premiere, the candy from the restaurant, the little plastic tooth brush (even if there might be good alternatives..).

What items are essential and seem to have no plastic-free alternative?
Transport ticket. At least, not yet any plastic-free alternative, except for long travel, you can print it by yourself, on normal paper… Milk. Not seen any glass bottle filled with milk around. Maybe should I look better…

What lifestyle change(s) might be necessary to reduce my plastic consumption?
Find a way to disappear from lists of those people sending me mails I don’t care, with some plastic inside. And ask for the other one if they can do it with only paper envelops, or by email…

Change the way I buy my food.

I have made some efforts on clothes too (no more synthetic material), but I feel like a relapse is not far, as it is more difficult for shoes than for sweaters, for example, and I couldn’t find a good coat for this winter because of this new rule I try to apply, also because they all look so sad, with or without syntetic fibers.. if you have some advices for me, I’m a taker).

What one plastic item am I willing to give up or replace this week?
Food packaging

What other conclusions, if any, can I draw?
It was not so easy (also because it is not in my mother language, and I’m not, at least not yeat, such a fluent english writer). But I’ll have to come back soon, maybe after a few weeks, to see if I improved…

1 comments
Beth Terry
Beth Terry

Hi Manu. Isn't organic produce in plastic packaging ironic?

I hope you will do the challenge again and let us see what changes you are able to make.