February 21, 2011

Plastic Challenge: Becca Ryals and Gordon Bennett, Week 2

Becca's & Gordon's plastic waste

Name: Becca Ryals and Gordon Bennett

Week: 2

Personal Info:

Read Becca and Gordon’s full description in their Week 1 Challenge post.

Total items: 9

Total weight: 0.312 pounds

Items: Recyclable
None

Items: Nonrecyclable
-large bag of cat food
-pouch of tuna
-frozen bag of corn
-frozen bag of stir fry veggies
-window envelopes from junk mail
-wrapper for roll of quarters
-produce stickers (2)

What items can I easily replace with plastic free or less plastic alternatives?
Almost all! Most of our plastic waste from week 2 was stuff we had before we started the plastics challenge. Unfortunately, we still have some disposable plastics in our cupboards and fridge. We are reusing as much as possible (for example, we use an old bread bag for homemade loafs!).

I called Discover and Southwest to ask them to stop sending me mail. For some reason, Southwest said that it would take 90 days to get me off the list!!!!

Next time we buy cat food, we’ll look for cat food in paper bags. We often get Wellness canned wet food for the cats. We’re aware that the cans are probably lined with BPA. We’re interested in trying to make our own cat food.

What items would I be willing to give up if a plastic free alternative doesn’t exist?
We’re giving up frozen foods! All the plastic food items this week are from purchases prior to the plastics challenge.

What items are essential and seem to have no plastic-free alternative?
We need quarters to do laundry. Both of our banks only provide quarters wrapped in plastic.

What lifestyle change(s) might be necessary to reduce my plastic consumption?
We have to rethink how our cats eat.

What one plastic item am I willing to give up or replace this week?
frozen food bags

What other conclusions, if any, can I draw?
It’s funny to ask for a vegan milkshake with no straw.

Question:
How do you account for indirect plastic use? For example, Cinnaholic in Berkeley makes the most delicious cinnamon buns with several choices of toppings. One topping is vegan marshmellows, which come in a small plastic bag. Even though I will only be consuming a few marshmellows, I’m responsible for driving the demand for them.

3 comments
Becca Ryals
Becca Ryals

Beth - at least two of the Berkeley Bank of America branches use plastic wrappers on their quarters. Wells Fargo does too. Maybe I'll write or call them to ask why.

EcoCatLady - Ah!! Great to know! I didn't even think about the fact that the paper bags are lined with plastic.

EcoCatLady (AKA Rebecca)
EcoCatLady (AKA Rebecca)

I actually wrote to about 10 cat food companies about a year ago asking about the BPA issue. It was pretty much all of the natural cat food brands (including Wellness). They ALL told me that the 6 ounce pull-tab cans don't have BPA, but the larger 12 ounce cans do. This totally shocked me because I had read somewhere that the pull top cans are all lined with BPA - but all of the companies swore that they weren't. GAWD knows... but we're sticking with the 6 ounce cans for the moment. BTW - the paper bags for dry food are all lined with eitehr clear plastic or mylar, so there's no getting away from it there.

Beth Terry
Beth Terry

It's funny, I've never thought about the plastic wrappers on quarters. We have our own washer and dryer, so I guess that in over three years, I've never needed to get change. Is there another bank nearby that might give you change wrapped in paper? My company often gets change from Bank of America, and at least the Daly City branch wraps change in paper. I wonder how the Berkeley branch does it.

As far as indirect plastic use, as in restaurants, I kind of have a "Don't Ask; Don't Tell" policy. I'd drive myself crazy if I worried about all the unseen plastic that others might use. Similarly, if I go to a friend's house for dinner, I don't count the plastic they might have used. But I guess if you know for a fact that those marshmallows came in a plastic bag, you might want to forgo them. It's really up to your own conscience.