October 31, 2011

Plastic Challenge: Mary Katherine, Week 2

photo(1)

Where can I get cheddar cheese that isn’t wrapped in plastic?

Location:Mountain View, California, United States

Name: Mary Katherine

Week: 2

Personal Info:

My name is Mary Katherine and I’m 16. I live in Silicon Valley, California. My mum is pretty environmentally conscious and she raised me to be like that too. My mum taught me that I don’t need tons of stuff to be happy. Except books…

Mary Katherine’s personal blog:

Total items: 17

Total weight:

Items: Recyclable
1 Jamba Juice cup (#6)
1 soup cup (#6)
1 takeout container (#6)

According to the placard on the recycling bin at my apartment complex, this stuff is recyclable. I was wondering if stryofoam was excluded, so I went to the city website and downloaded their detailed list of what’s recyclable and what isn’t. It turns out that Mountain View won’t recycle clamshell deli containers. And they won’t recycle styrofoam either. That made me upset because it says on the bin “Items marked #1 through #7.” I think they need to put a new placard on the recycling bin. The one they have is misleading. Plus they’re just making more work for themselves because they have to take the non-recyclable stuff out.
On my phone I have an app that tells you where you can recycle stuff. I found a place to recycle stryofoam, so I’ll take it over there.

Items: Nonrecyclable
Soup cup lid
Plastic fork
Plastic spoon
Plastic wrap from neti pot box
Styrofoam bag from neti pot box
Plastic bag from frozen mango
Seal from cold medicine bottle
Tab from cold medicine bottle
Plastic wrap from cheese
Wrapper from package of cookies
Tray from package of cookies
Plastic straw
Plastic lid from Jamba Juice cup
Plastic bag from takeout containers (I think my Dad threw it out so it’s not in the picture)

What items can I easily replace with plastic free or less plastic alternatives?
I really need to start carrying metal utensils with me. I’m going to do that tomorrow.

What items would I be willing to give up if a plastic free alternative doesn’t exist?
Jamba Juice. I went to Jamba Juice with my friends. They had convinced me to buy one. I was standing in line, then one of the people who worked there came out with a strawberry smoothie in his hand and said, “Anybody want this? It’s on the house.” So obviously I took it. I love free stuff. I decided that unless I’m in Jamba Juice and they offer me a free smoothie, I’m not going to buy one. They’re good but I’ll be fine without them.
Another thing is frozen mango in plastic bags. I’ll just buy some mangoes and cut them up and freeze them.

What items are essential and seem to have no plastic-free alternative?
The only thing in my stash that I can’t really live without is the plastic wrap from the cheese.

What lifestyle change(s) might be necessary to reduce my plastic consumption?
Convincing my dad to take me to a sit down restaurant instead of getting takeout. That was where the styrofoam containers came from…

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

What other conclusions, if any, can I draw?
I am addicted to frozen yogurt.

2 comments
Mary Katherine
Mary Katherine

The website said you can get it at whole foods. But that probably means that they cut it into chunks and wrap it in plastic. I don't know how my mum would feel about getting a whole wheel either. I'm going to try to convince her to go to the farmer's market this weekend, so maybe I'll find something there. I think they have a couple cheese stands.

Beth Terry
Beth Terry

Plastic-free cheese is hard to find. You can, of course, take your own container to a deli and have them cut you some and place it in your container. But the original block probably came wrapped in plastic and the rest of it will be wrapped in plastic after yours is cut. I did find a great wheel of cheese - similar to cheddar - at a cheese shop near me. It's not wrapped in anything, but you have to buy a whole wheel to avoid the plastic. Here's the info: http://myplasticfreelife.com/2011/03/how-to-buy-and-keep-cheese-fresh-without-plastic/

Can you get that one near you?