March 4, 2012

Plastic Challenge: Emily, Week 1

DSCN1707

Location:Santa Cruz, California, United States

Name: Emily

Week: 1

Personal Info:

I am a 25 year old single female living in Santa Cruz. I live with four other housemates but we don’t share food or detergent so I did not collect their plastic as well. I work in outdoor education and have been teaching people about plastic and marine debris through work for almost a year… I thought I’d have less. Plastic is so pervasive!

List of plastic items REFUSED this week. (Yay!)

plastic bag at the grocery store

Total items collected: 29

Total weight:

Items: Recyclable
yogurt container # 5 (not pictured)
almond box and lid #1

Items: Nonrecyclable
take out salsa container and lid (unclear if a #2 or 2oz container)
single serving mustard package
all cracker sleeves (3)
cookie bag
capri sun
mandarin bags (2)
yogurt container seal
razor
soyrizo sleeve and casing
bandage peel apart adhesive and packaging (6)
produce bag
ziploc bags including rice (5)
used sticker sheet

What items can I easily replace with plastic free or less plastic alternatives?
mandarin oranges – buy unpackaged and don’t use a produce bag
almonds, rice – possibly buy in bulk somewhere
produce bag- reusable or optional

What items would I be willing to give up if a plastic free alternative doesn’t exist?
capri sun

What items are essential and seem to have no plastic-free alternative?
bandages, disposable razors (even the kind with cartridges are plastic)

What lifestyle change(s) might be necessary to reduce my plastic consumption?
I might need to plan where I shop based on bulk items being available and I may need to go to multiple stores. Also I would like to continue eating blueberries, hummus and yogurt but they always seem to come in a plastic container. I could try to make my own yogurt and hummus again but that was pretty disastrous last time… wish me luck!

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

What other conclusions, if any, can I draw?

3 comments
Melody
Melody

Staff of Life in Santa Cruz has an excellent bulk section. They have the usual dry goods, as well as oils, nut butters, honey, and soy sauce. Also some bulk soap items.

Beth Terry
Beth Terry

Hi Emily. Welcome to the challenge. While I'm not familiar with what stores are available in Santa Cruz, I do know there's a Whole Foods there with bulk bins, and you can bring your own bags and containers. Almonds and rice are pretty standard in bulk bins.

As for razors, I actually use a metal safety razor that is plastic-free. You can buy them new, but I actually found mine at an antique store. Here's more information about it:

http://myplasticfreelife.com/2007/08/plastic-free-shaving-part-1/

Do you have access to St. Benoit yogurt down there? Maybe call the company and see if they sell in Santa Cruz. It's made in Northern California and comes in returnable glass jars or ceramic pots.

Do you have a nearby farmers market? The vendors love to take back their plastic containers and baskets to reuse. You can't give them back at the store, but at a farmers market you can.

Hope these suggestions are helpful. Cheers!