July 24, 2011

Plastic Challenge: Kristin, Week 20

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Of the humongous amount of strawberries I bought yesterday, a large portion were frozen in big Ziploc freezer bags I already had in the house. I know that freezing in canning jars IS okay, but for strawberries that I’ll grab a handful at a time for smoothies, I’m not sure this would be the best method. I also freeze a lot of stuff in tupperware-like containers, but I surely don’t own enough of them to have handled this volume of berries. Any thoughts?

Location:Prince George, British Columbia, Canada

Name: Kristin

Week: 20

Personal Info:

Just me this week plus bunny.

Kristin’s personal blog: http://slightlyirritatingandinconvenient.blogspot.com/

Total items: 12

Total weight:

Items: Recyclable
Plastic recycling is not available in our area, it sadly all goes in the trash.

Items: Nonrecyclable
1. Stickers on fruit
2. 2 bags of gf flour
3. Cheese package
4. Gnocchi package (from eons ago)
5. 3 mailing envelopes (one is paper, but was doused with packing tape)
6. Packing peanuts :(
7. Pasta bag
8. Lots of bottle lids
9. A schwack of Bandaids & their wrappers
10. Broccoli tag
11. Restaurant straw
12. Almond milk seal

What items can I easily replace with plastic free or less plastic alternatives?
-Gnocchi package (from eons ago): I bought these well over a year ago & they sat in the cupboard for EVER. I’m more than happy to not buy these again.
-Packing peanuts: sample size of gluten free pasta shipped in a box covered in tape filled with a plastic bag of pasta & these demonic bits. I didn’t even realize they still existed… Makes me want to not buy their product.
-Lots of bottle lids: The origins of these lids are widespread… Some are metal from wine bottles, some are from OJ containers, some are from liqueurs… 6 months or so of bottle depot stuff is hard to refine. We are drinking less (alcohol) now than we were a year ago, so that helps.
-Broccoli tag: I don’t usually buy organic broccoli (conventional has no tag) I’m not entirely sure what compelled me to do so this time.
-Restaurant straw: I’ve hummed & hawed about getting a glass one. This was me failing to ask for no straw. When I serve people water at the restaurant I work at, I don’t give them a straw, so when I ordered water it didn’t even occur to me that I would be receiving one. Especially since I told her I was just going to dump it in my water bottle… ugh. Not the brightest bulb.
-Almond milk seal: I could make my own, but that would require a higher powered blender that I can’t afford right now

What items would I be willing to give up if a plastic free alternative doesn’t exist?
Gnocchi package
Packing peanuts :(
Restaurant straw

What items are essential and seem to have no plastic-free alternative?
2 bags of gf flour: it’s better than buying baking from the store!
A schwack of Bandaids & their wrappers: one day I’ll be a yoga teacher (maybe!) and wont have to wear shoes to work…..
Stickers on fruit: I’m hoping to buy exclusively from local vendors for the rest of the summer rather than relying on produce from the grocery store, but with the poor weather in our area this summer, some produce is still coming up from the US and therefore has stickers on it :(

What lifestyle change(s) might be necessary to reduce my plastic consumption?
Check this out! No garbage bag this week, no salad tub this week, no chip bags this week lol! Despite my cravings I might add…

If I could add a second picture I’d show you the haul I brought home from the farmers market this past weekend (visit the blog post link to see it!). I’m making jam again this week, which I’m pumped about! $50 worth of strawberries should certainly keep my busy… I toasted the last of my home baked bread yesterday & will be waiting until I make time to bake another loaf rather than buying a loaf. Gluten free bread comes in plastic only, whereas we can get “normal bread” for Mr.C in paper at the farmers market (probably the bakery as well). It’s plastic or I bake it myself. Which leads me to buying gluten free flours. They’re not available in our city in bulk whatsoever, but I do have the option of buying them in a small ziploc-esque bag (as shown in the pic) or in a 2kg bag. Of those two empty bags, one (tapioca starch) has been purchased in the big bag, but the other (garfava flour) I bought in the small bag again. I just don’t go through very much of it. This bag is the ONLY one I’ve ever finished! We’ll have to wait & see on this one… I already have at least a dozen different kinds of flour in the house as it is… honest.

What one plastic item am I willing to give up or replace this week?
Gnocchi package: I bought these well over a year ago & they sat in the cupboard for EVER. Not something I crave, and they weren’t terribly good anyways… I’m more than happy to not buy these again.

What other conclusions, if any, can I draw?

2 comments
Danielle
Danielle

OMG... Beth I'm loving that stainless steel container!!!

Back in June, I froze tons of strawberries, blueberries and now blackberries. I'll be freezing peaches soon... and they're mainly all for smoothies. When I freeze the fruits, I put them on trays first and then when they're frozen I transfer them to containers. I use large glass jars and the large yogurt containers.... they're never stuck together so I (or my kids) can easily grab a handful :) No ziplock bags required ;)

Also, I make my own almond milk and I don't have a high powered blender... it's an Oster... while it does have different speeds... it's definitely not high speed and it gets the job done :) May be worth a try :)

Beth Terry
Beth Terry

Hi Kristin. I'm curious about those packing peanuts. Are you sure they're Styrofoam? Try putting one in water and see if it dissolves. They look suspiciously like corn peanuts to me. If so, you can just toss them in the compost.

If you have a ton of strawberries to freeze, and it's a regular thing, you might want to invest in an airtight stainless steel container like this:

http://lifewithoutplastic.com/boutique/airtight-rectangular-storage-container-4-l-1-gal-new-p-415.html?zenid=5edfab15ab75b0b8e9df37cfe53cea97

It holds a gallon! Life Without Plastic has a ton of other containers that can go in the freezer that might be a better shape than jars. Also, people have said that if you don't want your produce to stick together in the freezer, freeze individually on trays before putting into the container.

Hey, where did all those caps come from?