July 5, 2012

Plastic Challenge: Marianne Davis, Week 2

Plastic-Free2

How do you get your family members on board?

Location:Saint Paul, Minnesota, United States

Name: Marianne Davis

Week: 2

Personal Info:

Married, with no kids, we are both fully employed and working on reducing our waste, while converting our city lot into a fruit and vegetable garden.

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

Took my own plate and bowl to the fast food court this week! Stuck out like a sore thumb.

Refused a plastic bag to go around the plastic netting for the mussels I bought at the seafood store.

Also refused plastic cup for water, and – as always – used our own canvas bags for shopping.

Total items collected: 78

Total weight:

Items: Recyclable
1 tonic water bottle

Items: Nonrecyclable
56 candy wrappers
9 wrappers of packs of gum
2 fortune cookie wrappers
2 bands from the top of mustard jars
1 plastic cap from a mustard jar (organic! how ironic)
1 plastic net from buying mussels at the local seafood store
1 cellophane window from a piece of mail
1 goat cheese wrapper
1 wrapper for foundation brush
1 loofah sponge wrapper (bought years ago, just now using)
2 caps (top and bottom) from half&half and heavy whipping cream containers

What items can I easily replace with plastic free or less plastic alternatives?
Trying to find a hard candy substitute for my husband that satisfies his craving without involving lots of little pieces of plastic. Any ideas?

Or a plastic free substitute for gum, for that matter?

What items would I be willing to give up if a plastic free alternative doesn’t exist?
The fortune cookies were a matter of thoughtlessness, and can easily be avoided in the future.

I can get back into making goat cheese.

I buy make-up about once every three years… and certainly don’t need anymore brushes.

What items are essential and seem to have no plastic-free alternative?
The plastic certainly isn’t essential, but again we buy the brand of dairy that we do for other environmental reasons (nearby, organic, etc), and so am willing to live with the plastic caps for now.

The plastic net for the mussels seems like a difficult one to avoid – unless we give up mussels.

What lifestyle change(s) might be necessary to reduce my plastic consumption?
In the grand scheme of things, my husband is already GREAT when it comes to not consuming plastic. However when I look at our tally, I see 9 items that I created vs his 69. So I’m looking for ways to encourage him to make a few more changes, without being a self-righteous nag.

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

What other conclusions, if any, can I draw?
Taking plates from the company kitchen to the food court was a really powerful experience for me. Alternatively, seeing all the styrofoam containers flowing into the trash cans was so depressing. It’s amazing what gets consumed and thrown away over the lunch hour in the US.

5 comments
BethTerry
BethTerry

Hi Marianne.  Congratulations for taking your plate to the food court.   I know what you mean about all the styrofoam.  Do you know if Saint Paul is considering, or has considered, a ban on styrofoam take-out containers?  They're being banned all over California.  When we make our own personal actions and then see how big the problem is, that's when we realize we need big changes on a systemic level.

 

My only advice about your husband is not to nag him but to simply help him find alternatives.  My husband has reduced his plastic a lot, but there are still things he likes to have that are important to him, and for me, it's more important that he understands the choices that he's making and that he realizes he does have choices.

 

I did find a plastic-free gum, but it comes from the U.K.  http://myplasticfreelife.com/2012/05/peppersmith-makes-chewing-gum-without-plastic/

msdavis6
msdavis6

 @BethTerry Oh and I don't believe St. Paul is considering a ban on styrofoam at this time... I'll certainly put in a request, tho!

msdavis6
msdavis6

 @BethTerry Great point, Beth. I'm an avid baker, and have been thinking about making him caramels and wrapping them in wax paper. It's just finding the time to do that on a regular basis seems a bit challenging.

 

By the way - I was roaming your website after posting this week's challenge and discovered the evil truth about milk cartons being lined with plastic - yikes! I just thought it was the caps I had to worry about - so we'll be switching to glass bottles this week.

 

Thanks for providing such a great resource!

msdavis6
msdavis6

 @Eve Stavros Thanks Eve! I'm going to give the recipe a try...