August 8, 2013

Plastic Challenge: Hanh Pham, Week 7


Any plastic tips when you’re going camping?

Maybe bring my own ice from my freezer? What do I do if that ice melts?

What’s the best way to buy firewood without the packaging? Drive around and find a resident selling firewood from their front yard?

Seems like most camping or prepared foods are wrapped in plastic. Any ideas on this one?

Location:Chicago, Illinois, United States

Name: Hanh Pham

Week: 7

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:

List of plastic items REFUSED this week. (Yay!)
I refused Kefir in a plastic bottle. Instead, I had bread and jelly for breakfast while camping.

Total items collected: 12

Total weight:

Items: Recyclable
Peanut butter container
Plastic lids from salad container
Tofu container

Items: Nonrecyclable
Plastic inside wrapping from sprouted bread
Meshy bag from firewood

What items can I easily replace with plastic free or less plastic alternatives?
Make my own peanut butter at home or at the grocery store (and bring my own container)

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

What items are essential and seem to have no plastic-free alternative?
Sprouted bread

What lifestyle change(s) might be necessary to reduce my plastic consumption?

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

What other conclusions, if any, can I draw?


Hi Hahn!

I am an avid camper, and I do a few things to eliminate my plastic waste while camping.

For the ice bags, I recommend using reusable ice packs (like the gel packs, or hard-plastic liquid packs that freeze into blocks) --something like this (but not necessarily this brand--I just googled "ice pack")

Also, don't bring stuff with you when you're camping that requires too much refrigeration. I usually bring eggs (which can stay room temperature for about a week--contrary to how they come at the grocery store), fruits, veggies, bread, peanut butter in a glass jar, cheese, and other things that don't need to be kept super cold.

For fire wood, some of the places I go to sell wood in cardboard boxes, while other places sell loose wood. I keep my eye out en route for those plastic-free options. I also bring a lot of kindling, so that lighter fluid is not needed.

Lastly, what kind of camping or packaged foods are you referring to? I agree that almost everything I come across in this category is packaged, so I don't eat it. But, perhaps we can brainstorm some alternatives.

Well done!