February 20, 2011

Renee in Oregon, Week 3

Renee's plastic waste

Name: Renee

Week: 3

Personal Info:
I live on the Oregon Coast four blocks from the ocean where I walk on the beach daily. I am saddened by all the plastic on the beach so am taking steps, starting with me… I am a married female artist who works at home. We have one dog.

[See Renee’s Week 1 Challenge Post.]

Total items: 6

Total weight:

Items: Recyclable
Sun dried tomato bag
Tempeh bag
Daiya cheese bag
Frozen blue berry bag
rice cake bag

Items: Nonrecyclable
Rice noodle bag (appears to be cellophane which our recycle center does not take)

What items can I easily replace with plastic free or less plastic alternatives?
Sun dried tomatoes I usually buy in bulk. This was a old item being used up.
I will be stocking up on blueberries when they are in season and freezing them.
I found instructions for making my own Tempeh! I have to order the culture. If that works out I won’t be buying tempeh.
I recently purchased a food dehydrator. I hope to make my own crackers and bread substitutes (I am not eating gluten).I am using my last package of rice cakes at the moment so will be eliminating that packaging.

What items would I be willing to give up if a plastic free alternative doesn’t exist?
The rice noodles.

What items are essential and seem to have no plastic-free alternative?
For this week well, none are essential or don’t have an alternative. The Daiya cheese has been hard to find an alternative for but really is not an essential. One alternative, if it freezes well, is to buy it in the huge five pound version. There would be less plastic involved but still not a long term solution.

What lifestyle change(s) might be necessary to reduce my plastic consumption?
Finding alternatives and making my own, such as tempeh. I think my new food dehydrator will help me with that. I struggled a bit with this purchase as parts of it are made of plastic. We do not live in an area where drying food in the sun is an option. I purchased a good quality one so I should get many years of use out of it.

What one plastic item am I willing to give up or replace this week?
sun dried tomatoes in packages, rice cakes (finishing the final package that was purchased before challenge), rice noodles, I can find alternatives in non-plastic packaging.

What other conclusions, if any, can I draw?
Changing thoughts and habits are not always easy but finding alternatives and re-thinking what I purchase is fun as well challenging.

1 comments
Beth Terry
Beth Terry

Hi Renee. I too struggle with decisions whether to buy appliances that will ultimately reduce waste. For example, getting a soy milk maker to avoid many, many cartons of soy milk, or a soda maker. I guess it comes down to how much you will use it, and how important those foods are to you. The main thing is thinking these things through, like you are, rather than just buying whatever is convenient without giving a thought to the impact.