February 21, 2011

Plastic Challenge: Danielle, Week 9

Danielle's plastic waste

Name: Danielle

Week: 9

Personal Info:

We are collecting our plastic trash for all of 2011. Read about our family on my Week 1 post.

Total items: 15

Total weight: 2 oz.

Items: Recyclable
1 miso container (#2)

Items: Nonrecyclable
3 wrappers (from toaster pastries)
1 bag (from raw cashews)
2 rings from milk jugs
1 cap from milk jug
3 produce tags
1 wrapper (from cream cheese)
1 plastic seal (from sour cream)
1 cough drop bag
1 veggie crumble wrapper

What items can I replace with plastic free or less plastic alternatives?
Bag from raw cashews. I normally don’t buy… but I’m testing recipes (for an upcoming cookbook) and I wasn’t able to plan ahead to get the nuts in bulk (note: at the store I shop they have a good bulk section, but not everything comes in bulk… they package many things in little plastic bags… they had already packaged the cashews, but I was able to get walnuts unpackaged).

Toaster pastries: I’m letting my kids pick one thing that comes in plastic a week. (I’ll explain in a bit.) After this purchase, I looked up how to make toaster pastries and we will be attempting that this week: http://sweetsbysarah.blogspot.com/2008/04/pop-tarts-at-home.html

What items would I be willing to give up if a plastic free alternative doesn’t exist?
Miso. I’ve actually had it since the summer… another thing I normally don’t buy, but have been using for some of the recipes I’ve tested.

Cough drops: I buy them once a year. (and if I remember correctly… you are attempting to make homemade cough drops??)

What items are essential and seem to have no plastic-free alternative?
Ok… not an everyday essential… but sour cream and cream cheese. I hadn’t bought either since September. While I was sick, I wanted cupcakes… so when I got better, I made chocolate cupcakes with chocolate cream cheese frosting. I don’t make cupcakes that often so maybe a couple of times a year is ok… hmmm??

By the way, I realized how much I love sour cream… as a side note, I used to purchase sour cream every single time I got groceries… so is there a plastic-free alternative… can I make sour cream?? (or cream cheese??)

What lifestyle change(s) might be necessary to reduce my plastic consumption?
Planning and not giving into cravings. (though the cupcakes were AMAZINGLY yummy and exactly what I wanted.)

What one plastic item am I willing to give up or replace this week?
Toaster pastries… we’re going to make them!!!

Cream cheese.

What other conclusions, if any, can I draw?
Since I’m doing this challenge for the entire year… I keep trying to understand what lessons I should be learning from all this… I remind myself not to feel guilty about things because the point of doing this is to become aware of what I can change… I’m working on ways around using plastic and in order to create lasting change… it takes time…

This week, I made the decision to let my kids pick out one snack that comes in plastic (that is as long as I can’t make it). I decided to do this for my kids because my 8 year old son is starting to resent “plastic-free food” (yikes!!)… I feel like if they have choices then he’ll start to embrace this more and it will be easier on me. :) (hopefully)