February 21, 2011

Plastic Challenge: Michelle C, Weeks 3 – 5

Michelle's plastic waste

Name: Michelle C.

Week: 3 – 5

Personal Info:

Though this week I´d like to add how I am going to include “what the guests left” in another picture. My boyfriend rents his house & people leave stuff, most of it in plastic. So we use it. Sometimes I do feel this is cheating as I don´t have to look for alternative, but, we would only have to throw it away….

[Michelle lives in Portugal. Read her full description in her Week 1 Post.]

Total items: 26

Total weight:

Items: Recyclable
Down-cyable: Washing up liquid bottle (not lid)

Items: Nonrecyclable
2 x cans (not pictured)
2x CD/DVD holders (& of course the 75 disc that were in them)
3x yogurt pots
2 x bags for lentils
2 x bags for bread
inside pourer for oil
bag for spice
wrapper for fair trade organic tea
wrapper for fair trade organic chocolate (that was hidden under paper)
rim thing from old coffee pot
pizza wrapper
goats cheese wrapper
sultana pack
wrapper from cheese (that was in paper & had plastic hidden)
lid washing up bottle

What items can I replace with plastic free or less plastic alternatives?
– Bread bags. They were slipping in before I did the challenge. Now I´ve been to the baker, buy a load & freeze it. (they even gave me a tour in the process, how lovely!)

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?
– CD / DVDs HELP! I need them to back up my work. What I don´t need are so many bottoms. It´s bad…

– If I can choose fairtrade & organic I ignore the plastic. I wish I could tick all three boxes, but when it come to tea & coffee I really want to buy fairtrade. I´ll try other chocolate. Why is nearly all organic food in plastic??

– Lentils, rice. But I met someone last week who says there are bulk bins in Lisbon. Some 4 hours away.

What lifestyle change(s) might be necessary to reduce my plastic consumption?
I need to earn some money so I can order a toothbrush on line & spices etc. & go on a holiday to Lisbon & bulk buy.

I´ve talked to someone about olive oil. This may take time but I´m looking for a local supplier.

What one plastic item am I willing to give up or replace this week?
A girl has started selling yogurt t the market! I wans´t sure how to make it myself & avoid the plastic the milk comes in?? (Though it´s very expensive from her.)

Bread is in the freezer, bag free.

The Pizza was very rare. & we did share one rather than one each!

I haven´t bought a new toothbrsuh to replace it, instead found an old plane one from years ago.

We went to the next town this week for market & they had loose dried fruit.

The goats cheese.

The tins have reduced quite a bit.

What other conclusions, if any, can I draw?
It´s GREAT seeing other people doing this here!! Keep me going.

& in the real world. I went to a party last week & my friend had refused all the plates, cups etc! Was fab being out & not seeing all the plastic waste from 30 people.

Where is the toilet roll wrapper?? Gone! We´ve started using the Bidet. My boyfriend is well into saving the money. Everyone´s a winner!

Please help…
CD / DVDs HELP! I need them to back up my work. What I don´t need are so many bottoms.

Why is so much organic food in plastic? How can it be classed as organic where there are so many chemicals in the packaging??

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4 Comments on "Plastic Challenge: Michelle C, Weeks 3 – 5"

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5 years 3 months ago

Yes, I´m still here, still doing it.

I´m was thinking of getting -another – hard drive. But then considering the E.Waste… Good idea about the internet saving, but maybe not so good for client work. But I´ve just had an idea! I´ll go through my old hard drive, edit all the old raws I´ll never use & get more space. I´ll also get better at editing so I don´t need so many DVD´s.

How can it be organic if it´s wrapped in chemicals??? I´m not getting it!

We had a lovely chat about you over lunch today :-)

5 years 3 months ago

I too use both Carbonite backup service as well as a USB hard drive. I find them much easier than CDs or DVDs.

Congratulations on using the bidet!!!

Laura A.
5 years 3 months ago

It’s pretty easy (and very inexpensive) to make your own yogurt. This is one of many methods:


It helps to have a candy thermometer (which is just a food thermometer with a high temperature range) because the temperature is very important. Also, don’t use ultra-pasteurized milk (in the U.S. most milk is pasteurized but not ultra-pasteurized but I don’t know about Portugal).
I like the Bidet idea but of course we do not have one here in the U.S.

5 years 3 months ago

Michelle, great to see you back and that you have been continuing for the past 3 weeks.

Backing up: can you use an online backup service instead of CDs/DVDs? I use Carbonite. You could also get an external hard drive so you’re not constantly consuming CDs/DVDs.

I’m with you on organic food in plastic packaging. It makes no sense, does it?