February 21, 2013

Plastic Challenge: Stephanie in San Jose, Week 1

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Location:San Jose, California, United States

Name: Stephanie in San Jose

Week: 1

Personal Info:

58 year old married female with college age son away at school. Used to be a physical therapist & am now a volunteer. Our family has been working to reduce our carbon footprint awhile.

Stephanie in San Jose’s personal blog:

List of plastic items REFUSED this week. (Yay!)
Plastic grocery, produce & bulk bags. We’ve been using net and muslin bags for awhile. Shampoo and rinse bottles — we reuse them by refilling with bulk products.

Total items collected: 46

Total weight:

Items: Recyclable
hot drink lid #6 (#6. polystyrene: recycled into insulation, light switch plates, egg cartons, vents, rulers, foam packing, carry-out containers.)

fruit cup #5 (#5. polypropylene has a high melting point… can be recycled into signal lights, battery cables, brooms, brushes, auto battery cases, ice scrapers, landscape borders, bicycle racks, rakes, bins, pallets, trays.)

2 plastic forks (I’ll put these in a drawer to reuse, but that’s not a solution — I already have more than we can use.)

Items: Nonrecyclable
2 tempe packages
chocolate milk box (probably has a plastic liner?)
junk mail: fake plastic prepared “xfinity” card
straw
ice cream container security strip
greeting card protective slip
3 quart drink box spouts
drink box pull strip
pint styrofoam container
plastic lid
3 2×7″ sticker sheets
10 fruit labels
16 oz packaged food bag
3 oz packaged food bag
12 oz packaged food bag
tab of small food bag
candy wrapper
drink box straw
drink box straw wrapper
4 clothes tag fasteners
soap bar wrapper
3 produce bags used for cat litter
1 biobag for trash

What items can I easily replace with plastic free or less plastic alternatives?
forks – I have bamboo, just forgot to take them along…
Plastic hot drink lid – forgot my “out and about” mug
Take-out food container – take storage containers with me.
Take my own straw, or catch merchant before they give me one…
Buy more things in bulk.
Pick a greeting card without plastic cover.
Buy a piece of fruit instead of a fruit cup.
Make own cookies and hemp milk…. sigh…

What items would I be willing to give up if a plastic free alternative doesn’t exist?
Tempe! Replace with bulk tofu and use my own container.

What items are essential and seem to have no plastic-free alternative?
I wonder if there is a replacement for the bags I use for the cat box…

What lifestyle change(s) might be necessary to reduce my plastic consumption?
Make more of my own food — convenience and impulse purchases are often wrapped in plastic.

What one plastic item am I willing to give up or replace this week?
Tempe wrapper. :~) And make sure to take my portable replacements with me….

What other conclusions, if any, can I draw?
Convenience and impulse purchases are often wrapped in plastic.