April 28, 2011

Plastic Challenge: Serena Renner, Week 1

Serena-Plastic-Trash-Week-1

Name: Serena Renner

Week: 1

Location: California, United States

Personal Info:

24-year-old female, living in Oakland, California. I work away from home in an office in Walnut Creek, California.

[Serena participated in the challenge with Diablo Magazine and wrote about it here: http://www.diablomag.com/D-blog/News-and-Community/April-2011/Plastic-Trash-Talk/]

Total items: 30

Total weight:

Items: Recyclable
-yogurt tub #5

-meal lid #1 (recyclable at work in Walnut Creek; not at home in Oakland)

-cup #7 (” “)

-phone charger packaging #1 (” “)

Items: Nonrecyclable
-sleeve over phone charger packaging
-zip lock
-fork (2)
-paper cup with waxy inside
-mail envelope windows (4)
-label paper (shiny surface?)
-styrofoam cup
-candy bag
-candy wrapper (2)
-peanut butter cup wrapper (3)
-ice tea bottle wrapper
-adhesive strip off an envelope
-plastic bags (3)
-gum wrapper
-gum (not pictured)
-plastic cup (not pictured; don’t remember number)
-cupcake wrapper (not pictured)

What items can I easily replace with plastic free or less plastic alternatives?
-ice tea bottle
-forks
-cups
-plastic bags

What items would I be willing to give up if a plastic free alternative doesn’t exist?
-candy in wrappers
-gum
-ziplock bags
-window envelopes (i’ve been trying to go paperless…)

What items are essential and seem to have no plastic-free alternative?
-electronic devices (packages)

What lifestyle change(s) might be necessary to reduce my plastic consumption?
Change might require not going out or traveling as much. Some of my plastic came from my boyfriend’s lifestyle as well, so I would need to work harder to go to different grocery stores, etc. when I’m with him.

What one plastic item am I willing to give up or replace this week?
plastic bags

What other conclusions, if any, can I draw?
My plastic consumption is influenced by the people I’m with and the places I’m at. I was surprised that Walnut Creek, where I work, recycles more plastic (#1,2,3,5,7) while Oakland only takes bottles and tubs.

Question…
I enjoy going to concerts/events and occasionally like to drink a beer or glass of wine. What do you do if alcohol is only served in plastic cups and they won’t refill non-disposable or plastic cups?

1 comments
Beth Terry
Beth Terry

Hey Serena, it would be interesting for you to follow the recycling in Walnut Creek and find out what actually happens to most of that plastic. I have a feeling Walnut Creek collects it all but probably only really recycles the same stuff that Oakland does. Some communities collect all plastics in order to get compliance rates up, but then what they can't sell goes to the landfill. Anyway, I would love to know if you're up for some investigative reporting.

As far as cups at concerts, have you asked them to fill your cup? I actually bought a stainless steel wine "glass" to bring with me to the Outside Lands music festival since glass was not allowed in. And I have a stainless steel tumbler as well. It can't hurt to bring them and ask, right? Never assume you know what the response will be. :-)