March 20, 2011

Plastic Challenge: Becca Ryals and Gordon Bennett, Week 5

Becca's & Gordon's plastic waste

Name: Becca Ryals and Gordon Bennett

Week: 5

Personal Info:

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

Blog: http://becca.posterous.com

Total items: 25

Total weight: 0.804 pounds (0.800 new; 0.004 old)

Items: Recyclable
bottle of laundry detergent

Items: Nonrecyclable
(new)
- Wrapper around green onions
- 1 envelope window
- 1 cilantro tag
- 4 tops of toothpicks
- 1 straw
(old)
- wrapper from toilet paper (the last of it! now we’re onto to paper wrapped TP only)
- two really old and smelly packages of Daiya vegan cheese
- one individual pack of granola
- small spool of thread from sewing kit (thread was used to make cute utensil carrier)
- Annie’s mac n’ cheese cheese packet wrapper
- Lid to canister of cocoa
- Old grocery bag for litter
- Energy bar wrapper
- Tofurkey wrapper
- Two packets of instant oatmeal
- 2 packets of t-shirts
- random pieces of plastic in a plastic bag
- floss
- wrapper from whistle

What items can I easily replace with plastic free or less plastic alternatives?
Most of the items we produced this week could be easily replaced. We’re still using up a lot of plastic we had before we started going plastic-free.
- I’m very embarrassed to admit that I acquire yet another straw and toothpick tops this week. This means two things – I should eat out less (well, I only ate out once this week) and I should always remember to ask for no straw, no toothpicks. I went ahead and ordered a glass straw, finally, after talking myself in and out of it for days. I also made a utensil carrier out of an old bandana so that I can carry my straw everywhere. Hopefully this was the last straw.

What items would I be willing to give up if a plastic free alternative doesn’t exist?
- We are more than happy to live without single servings of oatmeal, mac and cheese, energy bars, meat alternatives, etc. We haven’t bought any of these types of foods since beginning the plastic-free challenge.

What items are essential and seem to have no plastic-free alternative?
- Floss, but we are planning on trying out EcoDent to reduce the floss-related plastic when our two or three existing cases of floss run out.
- A lot of produce comes with plastic labels or ties. I never realized this before. We try to buy food from the farmers market but we rely on the grocery store for some things still.

What lifestyle change(s) might be necessary to reduce my plastic consumption?
- We’ve called a lot of businesses that were sending us mail and requested no junk mail or only email correspondences. To be honest, it was quite a pain to do this. Each call took several minutes just to get to the right person to talk to. The effort seems to be paying off. We only got one envelope window this week, and it was necessary.
- Surprisingly, we still have a lot of plastic in our apartment that we are slowly using up. It is exciting to see the transition to new products or habits as we use up our old plastics. For example, we just finished up our laundry detergent and made the switch to soap nuts. Fun!

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

4 comments
Becca Ryals
Becca Ryals

Awesome! Unfortunately for us, we have to do all our dish washing by hand. We'll give baking soda a try.

Becca Ryals
Becca Ryals

Yes, we are using soap nuts now. They are great. I sent some to my mom and my sister in law to test them out. My mom is a super clean freak, and my sister in law and brother have two young kids. I figured they truly test soap nuts. For us, they work wonderfully.

What do you use for dish soap?

Beth Terry
Beth Terry

We use Ecover or Seventh Generation powdered detergent in the dishwasher and for handwashing, we actually use baking soda. Yep, just sprinkle it on. It works.

Beth Terry
Beth Terry

Have you switched to plastic-free laundry detergent yet?