July 17, 2011

Plastic Challenge: Ellen Simpson, Week 9


Location:Salem, Massachusetts, United States

Name: Ellen Simpson

Week: 9

Personal Info:

See week seven.

Ellen Simpson’s personal blog: http://www.housebehindtheotherhouses.blogspot.com

Total items: 44

Total weight:

Items: Recyclable
Coke can
4 cat food cans and lids
Wendy’s cup (#4) and lid (#6)
Takeout container (#6)
Plastic cup (#6)

Items: Nonrecyclable
2 plastic condiment cups from Wendy’s
5 duck sauce packets
Hard plastic package and sticker from purchase of digital multimeter
Receipt from Zappos
Plastic backing from postage stamps
Saran wrap from muffin
Fruit sticker
Sunblock wrapper (plastic wrapper holding two sunblock bottles together)
Haagen-Dazs ice cream lid and two seals
Little black thing from purchase of new hose nozzle
17 bottle caps
Uncounted items from trip to New York city

What items can I easily replace with plastic free or less plastic alternatives?

What items would I be willing to give up if a plastic free alternative doesn’t exist?
Paul is saying he won’t order any more Greek salads from the pizza place, which will eliminate the takeout container. He also, at Wendy’s, noted that they had paper cups, and asked for no lid…but then after ordering a large soda, he realized that the large comes in plastic (and the guy gave him a lid). He’s not going to order a large soda at Wendy’s again.

What items are essential and seem to have no plastic-free alternative?
Sneakers — my younger son needs Payless brand sneakers because they fit over the braces he wears. He wears through them quickly, so we go through quite a few pairs every year (and there are plastic parts to them).
Sunblock wrapper — my older son went to overnight camp this week, and needed to bring sunblock.
Bottle caps from glass bottles of Coke, root beer, beer, etc. — they replace plastic bottles, or plastic-lined cans, so I am okay with the smaller amount of plastic in them.

What lifestyle change(s) might be necessary to reduce my plastic consumption?
This week — less takeout!

What one plastic item am I willing to give up or replace this week?
I am going to order some Skoy cloths!

What other conclusions, if any, can I draw?
I am tempted to say how many of these items were not mine, but Paul’s…but then I also need to admit that my two boys and I went to New York for three nights, and none of the plastic we used (and there was quite a bit) was included in this tally. Both Paul and I are psyched up to try harder this week.

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4 years 10 months ago
Thanks Beth and Danielle! I had already thrown out those shoes but I will definitely look into one of those two programs next time. They had worn all the way through at the toes, so the Nike program would have been perfect for them. I will also take a look at Soles for Souls — sounds like a great program. I have a single sandal that I’ve been hanging onto, hoping I’d find its mate, but I think it’s time for that to go, and you can be sure I won’t put it in the trash! Thanks!
4 years 10 months ago

Hey Ellen! From the photo, the shoes don’t look too bad… as Beth said you may be able to donate them. Check out Soles to Souls… http://www.soles4souls.org/

4 years 10 months ago

Ellen, do you have a place near you to recycle sneakers? If they are so worn out that they are no longer reusable, you can send them back to Nike to be made into playground/sports surfaces. (They don’t have to be Nike shoes.) Here are take back locations in MA:


I do wonder about the wisdom of plastic surfaces outdoors — plastic in the environment — but they also use it under wood court floors for cushioning. Anyway, just a thought. If the shoes are still wearable, there are places you can donate them.