April 3, 2011

Plastic Challenge: Daniella in BC, Week 2

Daniella's plastic waste

Name: Daniella

Week: 2

Personal Info:
I live with my husband and 3 year old daughter in Surrey BC.

Total items: 37

Total weight: 5.3 oz

Items: Recyclable
Apple Juice bottle #1 (daughter’s)
5 Plastic bags #4 – #4 plastics ARE recyclable here, but since they are bags I’m not sure if they would be accepted. (mine)

Items: Nonrecyclable
Husband’s Pile:
1 Coffee Lid #6 – I don’t think this recyclable here, I’ll have to check
2 Envelopes windows
1 grocery bag
Unknown plastic
3 extra coffee lids, not shown. If the cups have a plastic lining (I have no idea), then I’d have to add 4 cups to our total

Daughter’s Pile:
Apple juice lid
2 “fruit snacks” from my mom
1 sucker wrapper
Not pictured or counted, I don’t know what happened to my daughter’s fruit stickers this week… I’m guessing she found a better place to keep them.

My Pile:
4 pieces of tape (from new drying rack)
7 zap straps (from new drying rack)
(5 bags mentioned above, from new drying rack)
Another small bag containing screws (from new drying rack)
4 fruit/vegetable stickers
1 plastic piece from brick of cream cheese
2 packing tape pieces from a glass straw I bought for my daughter
Chow mien noodle bag

What items can I easily replace with plastic free or less plastic alternatives?
Apple Juice bottle #1 (and lid) – again, the water bottle that K carries around with her. This time my husband just HAD to buy her an apple juice because he bought himself a coffee. /grumble.
5 Plastic bags #4, 4 pieces of tape, 7 zap straps, small bag – I could have not purchased the new drying rack
1 Coffee Lid #6, plus 3 extra lids and possibly 4 cups (not recyclable) – Husband has some coffee, along with travel mugs and a coffee maker at home, I don’t think I need to say any more.
1 grocery bag – He probably only had one item and didn’t even need a bag at all
2 “fruit snacks” wrapper – Actual fruit, or even candy from the bulk bin.
2 packing tape pieces from a glass straw I bought for my daughter – I could have not bought the straw, but K loves straws so I thought it was worth a couple pieces of tape.

What items would I be willing to give up if a plastic free alternative doesn’t exist?
Apple Juice bottle #1 (and lid) – I want my husband to stop buying these. We don’t have any juice at home and K thanks me for brining her WATER when she is thirsty.
1 Coffee Lid #6, plus 3 extra lids and 4 possibly 4 cups (not recyclable) – yes, please stop buying coffee out.1
1 grocery bag – I have asked my husband to take one or two nylon bags (because they fold up so small) in his backback so that the odd time he does go to the grocery store he doesn’t “need” a plastic bag.
2 “fruit snacks” wrapper – K doesn’t need any candy
1 sucker wrapper – Still doesn’t need any candy
1 plastic piece from brick of cream cheese – I don’t buy it often (once or twice a year…), I could definitely commit to reducing our consumption.
Chow mien noodle bag – This would be hard one because we love stir fry. I could reduce our usage and make stir fry with rice more often.

What items are essential and seem to have no plastic-free alternative?
5 Plastic bags #4, 4 pieces of tape, 7 zap straps, small bag – This was all packaging from my new drying rack. I’ve needed a new one for a long time and haven’t found anything else that seemed to be what I was looking for. I also had no idea what sort of plastic packaging would be in the box until I opened it. I’ve had my eye on it for a while, and my husband finally went out that way yesterday. We own a condo and are not allowed to hang any clothing on our patio (I used to make an exception for diapers that needed to be sunned and would drape a couple over the chairs, but I think if I took it any further I would be fined), so I’ve always had a small drying rack set up in the shower stall of the main bathroom (it’s right beside the laundry room and none of use that shower). The problem is that the rack came with us when we moved and while it did fit inside the shower stall, it didn’t hold very much and I even hanging one single load of laundry at a time, I was always hanging clothes over doors, the towel racks and from the door handles. With my new rack I can fit two or three loads of laundry on it at one time!! I can fit all of my cloth wipes (60+), all of my pocket diapers (approx 20), and all of my inserts ( approx 15), flat diapers (around 30) and prefolds (maybe 5) on two out of four levels! Can you tell how excited I am…? =D
2 Envelopes windows – These were from the government and my husband’s insurance.
4 fruit/vegetable stickers (plus my daughter’s missing ones) – These are going to be a weekly essential item, and I do consider them essential.
2 packing tape pieces from a glass straw I bought for my daughter – Again, not essential, but a onetime plastic “expense” that was worthwhile knowing how much my daughter likes straws (we’ve never had the plastic ones in our house)
Chow mien noodle bag – almost essential, haha.

What lifestyle change(s) might be necessary to reduce my plastic consumption?
It’s just the usual, I know I can do better than I am. I’m not bothering myself over the two onetime purchases I made (or received) this week because they are both worth it for me.

What one plastic item am I willing to give up or replace this week?
I’ll give up the chow mien, for this week. I’m also going to look high and low to find some cauliflower that is not wrapped – I don’t know if I’ll be able to do it or not.

What other conclusions, if any, can I draw?

Please help…
I would love suggestions from anyone who was able to have their HOA or Strata change the bylaws regarding drying laundry outside!

1 comments
Beth Terry
Beth Terry

Hi Daniella. Yeah, coffee cups have a plastic lining. Pretty much any paper products made to hold liquids are lined with plastic -- except for the few that are "compostable" and then they have bio-based plastic lining.

I have an indoor drying rack too. I could put it outside, but honestly? I am probably the only person in the world who doesn't like how clothes smell when dried outside. I really don't. And drying them inside keeps them from fading too. So anyway, it doesn't solve your HOA problem but maybe helps you feel better about your current situation? :-)

Also? You sound like you're stressing out about the actions of that other certain someone in your house. My advice? Let it go. Collect your own plastic and concentrate on your own actions. Let him see your example and make his own choices. I just think you'll be happier.

Cheers!