October 31, 2013

Plastic Challenge: Sheri Puckette, Week 1

plastic-wk1-002

Welcome any ideas on how to eliminate things you see in it. I have found plastic wrap from the meat we buy (half beef at a time from a farm) an unavoidable item so far. Some other butchers use paper, but it is lined with plastic so isn’t good either.

Location:Corvallis, Oregon, United States

Name: Sheri Puckette

Week: 1

Personal Info:

I have been working on ways to eliminate use of plastic since reading the Zero Waste book about a month ago. In our household I am the environmentally conscious/activist person and no one else is interested in changing their consumption/waste stream, but as the primary grocery shopper/food preparer/preserver/gardener in the family I realize there is a lot I can do to cut down on household waste. And for myself alone the goal is near zero waste (love a challenge). Hoping to inspire the rest of the family. They currently think I’m NUTS.

Sheri Puckette’s personal blog:

List of plastic items REFUSED this week. (Yay!)
Multiple plastic bulk/produce bags- took my own containers. Had to do some more research on which local stores will allow/deduct tare wts. One straw at a restaurant. Tried to refuse a coffee to-go cup but failed- I was drinking it at the shop so told them to put it in one of their mugs (NOT to-go), but they put it in a to-go cup anyway. Plastic bag at the bakery- had them put a loaf into a paper bag instead, made note to self to take my own cloth next time!

Total items collected: 43

Total weight:

Items: Recyclable
Flexible plastic, downcyclable at our facitlity:10 bulb bags, 1 cat litter bag, 2 meat wrappers, 2 worn out produce bags
HDPE (2): 3 yogurt tubs, being given back to co-op where they are reused before recycled

Items: Nonrecyclable
Measuring cups- being given away, still usable but elim plastic in my kitchen
1 candy wrapper, 1 freezer paper meat wrapper (plastic film on it), 1 wheatgrass pot, 1 to-go coffee cup lid, 1 dixie cup, 1 tea wrapper, 1 canning lid (plastic on under side?), 2 pc masking tape, 4 small lids off bottles, 1 lid wrapper thingie, 1 Q tip, 2 zip locks too dirty to recycle, 1 garbage bag required by garbage co to line can, 1 cracker bag

What items can I easily replace with plastic free or less plastic alternatives?
produce bags- already have eliminated them except for the ones we are given in our CSA box (already talked to them about refusing these but is no-go for now)- so I use them till they’re worn out.

dixie cup- was left over from some I bought before LWP (life w/o plastic)

yogurt tubs- now making my own from milk bought in glass. These were left over.

What items would I be willing to give up if a plastic free alternative doesn’t exist?
I’m going to have to think some more on this since I have already changed a lot in the last month. Working on finding bulk alternatives locally for some things still- like chips, deli meats that my family still want to eat.

Unable to find rice vinegar without plastic on bottle, in fact most bottled products have plastic lids. Not willing to give those up yet. But locating bulk supplies where I can at least fill my own bottles.

What items are essential and seem to have no plastic-free alternative?
The meat. Even buying in bulk from the farmer, they all come in double wrap plastic, except one, which wraps in butcher paper (they only do pork or lamb, not beef). And we are not a vegetarian family. Doesn’t work for us.

What lifestyle change(s) might be necessary to reduce my plastic consumption?
Definitely have already found that I must plan ahead more when I go marketing, making sure I have the correct containers.

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

What other conclusions, if any, can I draw?

3 comments
sherip
sherip

thanks ericka and jonnie- i noted the terracycle and lou's upcycles idea. hopefully i can find candy and chips that make the family happy in bulk sections soon (actually found some corn chips this week that went over well)

jonnie
jonnie

Looks great! You're doing a lot already. When we started, I, too, was the only one interested in reducing our footprint, but at year three, the family is used to bulk bin snacks, using jars, no paper towels, and even reusing that occasional plastic take out bag. 

-See if you can get deli foods at the counter, in your own container.

-I have the same problem with some bottled condiments (plastic caps). Some we've just limited our use of, others- no solution yet.

-The random candy wrapper can be sent to Terracycle. Clean chip bags, etc. can be sent to Lou's Upcycles (address on her website). Not perfect, but better than straight to the landfill. Check out Terracycle to see if any of your other [pre-LWP] plastic can be sent in as well. Paying postage is the price of finding a place to send SOME plastic when you have no better option. As with this challenge, it's a physical (and fiscal) reminder to look for alternatives.

Congratulations on all your success.

Plastic-Free Ericka Moderator
Plastic-Free Ericka Moderator

Kudos to you for taking on the plastic challenge! I'm sure it's not an easy feat since you're the only one in the family making this a priority. I wish there was a way to receive my CSA box without plastic as well each and every time. Not sure if you're into making your own yogurt but I tried this recently and it's a very inexpensive and plastic free option.