July 15, 2013

Plastic Challenge: Hanh Pham, Week 3

week-2

What’s the best way to buy bulk toilet paper without the plastic?

Besides buying produce at farmer’s markets, is there another way to buy produce without stickers and twist ties?

If you are attending an event and 21 and over attendees are asked to put a wrist band on so that bar knows who to serve and who not to serve, what’s a graceful way to refuse the plastic, nonrecyclable (probably tyvek) wrist band and ask for an alternative?

Last question, what’s the more environmental benefit choice – to reuse plastic produce bags that I have (which I have a lot) until they have holes in them OR buy new, meshy produce bags and throw the perfectly useable ones away?

Location:Chicago, Illinois, United States

Name: Hanh Pham

Week: 3

Personal Info:

This is my second go around with the Plastic Free Challenge. Last time, I made it to week 3. I hope I’ll be able to keep tabs on my plastic use for longer this time.

I am super passionate about reducing my waste. I bring reusable containers wherever I dine out so I don’t get non-recyclable plastic… or styrofoam. I bring stainless steel utensils and a water bottle with me too.

I am intrigued about how close I can get to zero waste. Hence, some of my pictures have other recyclables in there. Oops!

I live in a 3-flat with my husband, and we don’t have any pets.

Hanh Pham’s personal blog: http://prettydirtyperformances.blogspot.com/

List of plastic items REFUSED this week. (Yay!)
I didn’t get new plastic produce bags. I reused the ones I have.

Total items collected: 18

Total weight:

Items: Recyclable
Plastic salad container and lid
Plastic salsa and guac containers and lids
Plastic calm shell

Items: Nonrecyclable
Plastic bag from toilet paper
3 energy bar wrappers
2 twist ties
1 plastic band from an event
2 wrappers from opening condiments and drinks
Bag from cookie (it was a gift)
Plant container
2 small plastic bags from new cell phone

What items can I easily replace with plastic free or less plastic alternatives?
I could refrain from eating energy bars by making my own or eating some other plastic free snack.

I could make my own salsa and guac.

I could refuse when people give me a gift that is wrapped in plastic (such as that cookie wrapper), but I think that may be hard to do without being rude.

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

What items are essential and seem to have no plastic-free alternative?
Pre washed spinach

What lifestyle change(s) might be necessary to reduce my plastic consumption?
Wake up early to give myself more time to prepare foods that are plastic free

Allocate more time for food prep. If I get my salad greens from the garden, I will need to wash it, which requires more time and effort compared to the pre washed spinach.

What one plastic item am I willing to give up or replace this week?
Energy bars
Salsa & guac from the local grocery store

What other conclusions, if any, can I draw?

2 comments
Plastic-Free Ericka Moderator
Plastic-Free Ericka Moderator

Hi Hanh! You bring up a really great question about how those 21 and over can refuse those annoying plastic wrist bands. I wonder if they could give you a stamp on your hand instead of a plastic wrist band? You might have to lie and say you're allergic to plastic for them to actually do it, but hey, it's worth a try :) 

As for plastic free toilet paper, have you tried purchasing Seventh Generation in bulk? There is a blog post with more info regarding buying plastic free toilet paper here: http://myplasticfreelife.com/2007/08/seventh-generation-amazoncom-solving/

As for the plastic produce bags versus buying new, recycled cloth bags. I say keep using the plastic produce bags until they fall apart. Once they do fall apart try making produce bags from old t-shirts if you're feeling crafty: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kpyO_t3Ml20

HanhDoPham
HanhDoPham

Plastic-Free Ericka Moderator Yeah, it's definitely worth a try to say I'm allergic to plastic and see if they can offer a plastic-free alternative to a wrist band at events.

Thanks for the tip on the toilet paper. I wish it was more economical to buy in bulk without plastic. At Whole Foods, I can buy 24 rolls of 2-ply toilet paper for $10.99, so that makes the $77 per 60 roll option ($1.29 per roll) a bit pricey...

Cool video.  I'll use up the plastic I got and move into t-shirts. Thanks for sharing this!