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June 7, 2010

Kirsten Roche, Week 1

 

Kirsten Roche's plastic waste

Name: Kirsten Roche

Week: 1

Personal Info:
Location: Kamloops, BC, Canada
Gender: Female
Relationship Status: Dating
Work Status: Away from home, within biking distance!

Total items: 30

Total weight:

Items: Recyclable
*a 2-Liter bottle of Sprite and the lid to it
*a Styrofoam to-go container- number 6

Items: Nonrecyclable
*14 wrappers for individually-wrapped Black Diamond Cheese Strings
*bag from inside my cereal box
*bag from organic frozen mango chunks
*package from organic tofu
*2 plastic ties from frozen orange juice from concentrate cylinders (what would you even call those?)
*a 2-inch by 2-inch piece of plastic from the viewing window for a box of spaghetti
*the lid from a carton of soymilk
*a package of Pad Thai Sauce
*a plastic cork from a bottle of wine (though they donate 10% of their profit to saving wetlands- I would have expected a regular cork!)
*a package of ear plugs
*lid from to-go container

What items can I replace with plastic free or less plastic alternatives?
*buy my cereal in bulk and either bring a fabric bag for it or re-use a plastic bag over and over
*I could buy orange juice in the two-liter cartons but I think that the lid for those uses about the same amount of plastic…let me think about it more!
*start buying pasta in bulk
*make my own pad thai sauce or opt for the glass jar of it instead of the individual packets
*Take-out container: bring own container when going out for dinner instead of requiring a Styrofoam container…I almost never take food home in plastic containers from restaurants. I usually ask to see if they use cardboard or styrofoam but this particular restaurant was a vegetarian, sort of hippie kind of place so I mistakenly assumed they would use cardboard and did not realize it until the food was already in the box!
*buy bottles of wine with a regular cork instead of plastic cork
*ear plugs package: I rarely buy or wear earplugs but the neighbors upstairs were exceptionally loud when I had to wake up the next morning for work. Although I rarely use them, in the future I will buy a pack of 5 pairs which uses about the same amount of packaging as my single package with one pair.

What items would I be willing to give up if a plastic free alternative doesn’t exist?
*cheese strings: have been needing to kick the addiction for a long time, if only for my health, but this challenge has really put the fire under my butt to stop buying them for the sake of the environment! I go through lots of these and I believe this was the thing I needed to really feel motivated to stop ;)

What Items are essential and do not have a plastic alternative?
*bag from organic frozen mango chunks: I can not find frozen fruit here that is not wrapped in plastic and sadly fresh mangoes and other fresh fruits are too expensive to put in the amount of smoothies I make
*package from organic tofu: no alternative
*the lid from a carton of soymilk: no clear way for me to lessen the amount of plastic from the lid (although the lids are very small)

What lifestyle change(s) might be necessary to reduce my plastic consumption?
If I start to buy pasta and cereal in bulk I can likely cut the amount of plastic I use by at least 30%. That also saves on cardboard too, meaning less overall waste. Kicking my cheese string addiction cuts my plastic by about another 20%, and is much healthier for me!

What one plastic item am I willing to give up or replace this week?
The cheese strings and boxes of pasta

Are there any other conclusions I can draw?
It is actually possible (and easy) for me to reduce my plastic consumption even more, by upwards of 40 or 50%, just by making a couple of small changes! I;m very excited to start.

Read all posts by: Kirsten Roche

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2 comments
Kirsten
Kirsten

I will definitely do it again! This week I'm going on vacation to Mexico until June 22nd but once I return I plan on doing at least another few weeks of the challenge :) I loved doing it and having a physical reminder of how much plastic you use in a week was hugely helpful in making me aware of what changes I can make. I'm going to say I've successfully kicked the cheese string habit (after seeing how much garbage they produce I haven't even thought about buying/eating them, surprisingly!) and am pretty excited to check out the bulk selection at some of the health food stores around. Making these changes is actually really fun, it's like a new game with a new goal...thank you again for this awesome inspiring site, I've shared it with all of my friends. It's the small shifts in lifestyle that make a big impact, and I'll see you in a couple of weeks with an update!

Beth Terry
Beth Terry

Kristen, I am psyched for you to start reducing your plastic consumption too! Thank you for laying it all out there like that. Cheese was a big one for me. There definitely isn't any string cheese without plastic. I ended up buying a huge wheel of waxed cheese and eating it slowly. Not the same, I know. It seems like you already know what you could do to reduce significantly. Will you take the challenge again? I'd be interested to see your progress. Cheers!