April 25, 2010

Tina Clark, Week 1

Tina Clark plastic waste

Name: Tina Clark

Total items: 12

Total weight:

Items: Recyclable
1 mixed sprouted beans tub, #5
1 strawberry box, #1
1 hydrogen peroxide bottle #2

Items: Nonrecyclable
Some plastic wrap
1 pull tab insert from rice milk container
2 wrappings from Trader Joe’s frozen vegetable burritos (Note: possibly also the paper trays were coated with plastic, not sure, will have to check that out)
1 holder thingy for bread bag
1 wrapper that covered a tin of mints
3 straws (only two made it into the photo)

What items can I replace with plastic free or less plastic?
If I shopped more at farmers markets, I could buy strawberries without plastic, and might even be able to find sprouted beans, or sprout my own (hey, what a concept).

I keep forgetting to tell the servers at restaurants not to bring a straw with my drink (I don’t even particularly like to use straws). I need to try to remember.

The plastic wrap was sort of unnecessary. I needed to wrap some homemade muffins for freezing, and it was all I had.

As far as the bread thingy (and the inevitable more problematic plastic bag the bread comes in), I could try to bake my own bread, or find it in paper. One problem I have trying to find the right bread is that, being vegan, I have to also find bread without dairy or honey.

What items would I be willing to give up if a plastic free alternative doesn’t exist?
All of the food items are really not necessary, and I probably could give up the burritos and the mints.

 

What Items are essential and do not have a plastic alternative?
I really feel I need the peroxide, since I use it in my laundry instead of bleach (because bleach is the devil’s spawn). I’m pretty sure there is no plastic free alternative to that.

What lifestyle change(s) might be necessary to reduce my plastic consumption?
Perhaps I need to put more thought and time into how I obtain my food items. More farmers markets, possibly even more homemade stuff, instead of just grabbing something at Whole Foods.

What one plastic item am I willing to give up or replace this week?
Ok, for this week I will work on the bread thing. In fact, since I have enough bread to last me through this week, I will say that I won’t buy any more bread in plastic bags at all, and just not have bread until and unless I can figure out how to do it without the plastic (thanks, I’ve been meaning to do that for some time now).

Are there any other conclusions I can draw?
This seems like a small amount of plastic, but it feels like it may not have been a representative week, or more accurately, maybe a week just isn’t enough to get a good picture. For instance, if I had eaten just two more slices of bread during the week, I would have also had a bread wrapper to put in, and I came within a day of having a Dr. Bronner’s liquid soap bottle emptied.

This challenge has made me think even more than I have been about possible hidden plastic, e.g., the burrito trays.

Also, at one point (after the week was over), I went to get my usual mixed baby green salad, which comes in plastic, and I always groan about it but get it anyway, because my Whole Foods doesn’t do loose salad anymore, and I always feel creepy about bulk stuff anyway, because I’ve seen people fingering it, but this time, I went without, and decided if I really want mixed baby greens that much, I can darn well buy the different lettuces and make my own.

Personal Info:
I live in Glendale, CA with three dogs. It’s just the four of us. I have my own pet sitting business (and by the way, when I walk dogs or clean litter boxes, I always bring my own recyclable bags from poopbags.com instead of using the clients’ plastic ones).

2 comments
Lisa
Lisa

I keep seeing the bread thing on a lot of these entries and I highly recommend getting a bread maker. My mom bought me one for five dollars at a second hand store and we literally haven't bought a single loaf of bread since. It's been 3 months. It takes about seven minutes to prepare (and that's a generous estimate) and everything can be bought in bulk. Plus there's no preservatives, additives etc. I can't sing the praises of mine enough!

Beth Terry
Beth Terry

Tina, it does seem like a small amount of plastic, compared to the amounts I was generating when I first started this. But I do have some suggestions/comments.

1) Strawberry box -- Right now, our farmers market only has strawberries in plastic boxes. The nice thing is that the vendor will take them back and reuse them. That's the great thing about farmers markets. You can't bring your container back to a grocery store, but often farmers market vendors will let you do it.

2) Any paper that holds wet food is lined with plastic. Burrito trays, milk cartons, coffee cups, etc. I tried really hard to find frozen foods without plastic, and it was impossible. I got fooled a bunch of times. Finally, I had to give up frozen convenience foods. But I'm not saying everyone has to be as extreme as I am!

3) Bread -- that bread clip is awful, isn't it? Did you happen to see my post about bread and how people actually swallow those things? http://fakeplasticfish.com/2010/02/bread-buy-it-store-it-keep-it-fresh-without-plastic/

Anyway, I find that I'm eating a lot less bread these days. Sometimes I pick up bagels, which I can get loose in a bin, and eat them within a couple of days. But I am tending more towards pasta, rice, quinoa, potatoes, yams -- things that will keep a very long time.

I would love for you to do the challenge for another week if you are up for it, or for as many weeks as you want to get a clearer picture of your actual consumption. You can do it privately or post it here. Whatever will be beneficial to you.

Thanks for taking the challenge!

.-= Beth Terry´s last blog ..Earth Day 2010: Buying Green vs. Being Green =-.