April 3, 2011

Plastic Challenge: Laura in Maine, Week 5

Laura's plastic waste

Name: Laura

Week: 5

Personal Info:
See full description in Laura’s Week 1 Plastic Challenge post.

Total items: 25

Total weight: 6.5 oz.

Items: Recyclable
allergy pill bottle #2
calcium pill bottle #2

Items: Nonrecyclable
greek yogurt container
mushroom tub and wrapper
single use pie takeout container
walnut bag
brown sugar bag
shrimp bag from butcher
deli cheese wrapper plastic “paper”
produce bag
spinach bag
lid and seal from raisins
candy bag
M&Ms bag
cookie wrapper
golden raisins bag
wrapper to tin of mints
packing tape
seal to peanut butter
produce stickers
toothpick decoration from sandwich
cracker wrapper from soup
bag from wild rice
wrapper from dog treats
wrapper from around tea box

What items can I easily replace with plastic free or less plastic alternatives?
the deli cheese- I bought sliced cheese to avoid the already packaged cheese and it turns out they don’t have butcher paper- even the “paper” is plastic now. Even though my cheese was wrapped in 2 pieces of plastic paper I did manage to get it without the bag they usually put around the outside and I had a talk with the counter worker. She was interested in the idea that the plastic wasn’t necessary and was as accommodating as she could be. She also said she would discuss it at the next employee meeting because they have been trying to track and reduce their waste. :)
Even so, next time I’m going to try the other grocery store

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?

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?
There were some stupid moments this week where I didn’t anticipate what other people would do (don’t get me started about that takeout pie container!) but in general I’m happy about my progress this week because my weight is down, my # of items is down, and I can see in my plastic pile that several of those items have already been replaced and won’t show up again. I originally thought I would just do the challenge for a week so I could identify my excess plastic and then get rid of it but it’s been 5 weeks now and I feel like I’m just now making progress.