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January 27, 2011

Plastic Challenge: Katie M, Week 1

 

Katie's plastic waste

Name: Katie M

Week: 1

Personal Info:
I am a female from Metro Detroit. I live with my husband and college age daughter. I own my own business and work out of the home full time. This is plastic consumed mostly for personal use in the home. I know we consume much more plastic at work and i am consistently trying to reduce that as well, but that would require a whole other blog! (hmmm?)

(items were also used by husband, and college age daughter)

Total items: 37

Total weight:

Items: Recyclable
1 – Liquor Bottle
1 – lid
1 – creamer bottle
1 – juice jug
1 – ketchup bottle

Items: Nonrecyclable
1 – noodle bag
1 – Clementine bag
1 – OJ carton
1 – Milk carton
1 – Grapes bag
1 – coffee bag
1 – bread bag
1 – frozen food bag
2 – cheese wrappers (for work event)
1 – creamer cap
1 – carrot bag (for work event)
1 – ketchup cap
5 – food wrappers (inner/individual wrappings)
1 – onion bag
1 – inner seal from milk or juice
1 – juice cap
1 – candy wrapper
1 – veggie rubber band
1 – film seal from cheese tub

Not pictured
3-4 granola bar wrappers
3-4 fruit/veggie stickers/tags

What items could I easily replace with plastic-free or less plastic alternatives?
buying bulk produce like onions & oranges.
already bought coffee in paper bag.
Liquor.

What items would I be willing to give up if a plastic-free alternative doesn’t exist?
candy, frozen meat alternatives

What items are essential and seem to have no plastic-free alternative?
juice, produce (they all have stickers, rubber bands, tags, etc)

What lifestyle change(s) might be necessary to reduce my plastic consumption?
make more of my own snacks (granola bars),
visit more farm markets, travel farther to grocery stores that carry plastic free alt.s

What one plastic item am I willing to give up or replace this week?
already replaced coffee with a paper bag (plus fresh ground is soooo much better) :)
Alcohol in glass only

What other conclusions, if any, can I draw?
plastic is everywhere!! like a previous person taking the challenge (erin in BC)it is somewhat sad to see all the plastic consumption around me while i spend time to not bring home that extra oz. of plastic.

but, i try not to feel like a drop in the ocean and instead try to feel like that 1st step in that journey of 1000 miles.

Read all posts by: Katie

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7 comments
Molly de Vries
Molly de Vries

Katie, I know people around you are getting inspired by the changes you are making. thank you for sharing your experiences with us. it does really help to know that there are people out there wanting the same things I want. I love all of the comments in support of you, pretty cool.

Katie M
Katie M

hi jessica, I am downriver. Trader Joe's in Royal Oak (25 miles)is my closest option for the biggest variety of eco-friendly products. There is also Zerbo's in Livonia (20 miles) which has a lot of health/beauty products and fair amount of groceries. I also go to Eastern Market on occasion. Ann Arbor is about 35 miles away and I have been to the Whole Foods there, it's just a matter of scheduling and saving gas. I live very close to work and try to keep my errands within that radius to save gas, but I am definitely not adverse to traveling farther on occasion to stock up. Ann Arbor is a beautiful, eco-conscience city that I love to visit when i have the opportunity. That is a good point about local growers not being certified organic, I will keep that in mind when the growing season starts back up. Thanks!

Jessica
Jessica

Where are you in Metro Detroit? I'm in Ann Arbor and there is a ton of options I've found here and they might be options for you too :) As for the organic vs. locally grown: many of the farmers that own smaller farms cannot afford all of the red tape and paperwork that goes with official organic certification... make sure you talk to them because they could be using all of the organic practices but are just not certified for monetary reasons. Jessica

Katie M
Katie M

thanks rebecca! i am also a gardener so the summer months are full of not only fresh goodies from my own garden but also from my friends' gardens and local farm markets. I have only dabbled in preserving/freezing bumper crops, since most of it does get consumed or shared. I have already been trying this winter to only buy in-season produce from the US. But I don't think i could go with only my state as I live in Michigan and that would mean a big citrus, banana, etc. deficiency (especially if i try to cut out carton juices as previously suggested). My gardening hope for this summer is the added use of cold frames to extend the growing season. Right now I'm just looking at all the snow and counting down the days til spring. :) Thanks again for the support!

EcoCatLady (AKA Rebecca)
EcoCatLady (AKA Rebecca)

I used to get myself all tied in knots about the organic vs. local question. I finally decided that it was sort of like paper vs. plastic in terms of grocery bags. Which is better? Neither! At that point I decided to start eating seasonally. It was sort of a shock at first, though made easier by the fact that I'm an avid gardener and my decision coincided with a year of bumper crops and a purchase of a big freezer to store the surplus in. I'm not totally there yet in terms of all local food, but I won't buy anything grown outside of the US, and I'm aiming for nothing grown outside of my state. I thought it would be a huge sacrifice at first, but it hasn't turned out that way. In fact, it's actually given my life a sort of rhythm that it didn't have before. Maybe this is totally crazy, but it makes me feel connected to the planet in a much more fundamental way. Plus, there's always something exciting to look forward to as new foods come in season.

Katie
Katie

Thanks, Beth for the great tips and support. I did see the conversation about juice and while i am completely willing to try, it may be harder to convince my family to go along (but since I do most of the shopping, i usually have final say) :) A lot of the decisions, like traveling farther, do seem like trade-offs and it's often tough to make that call when time is limited or when standing in the store. (for example: what leaves a bigger carbon footprint organic peppers from Israel(!) or non-organic but locally grown?) It would definitely be easier to stock up on cleaning & health/beauty products than fresh produce, and i have carpooled as well. Like many others here, the biggest change I see is planning ahead & knowing what products are available & where. I see this challenge as an ongoing learning process that I hope will be beneficial to all in the long run.

Beth Terry
Beth Terry

Hi Katie. I totally hear you about feeling like a drop in the ocean. I deal with that feeling a lot. But then I remind myself that we are having an impact on the people around us too. We are setting an example. And we are supporting companies that are packaging products responsibly (or not at all.) Plus, it's healthier for our own bodies not to eat things out of plastic. I have a thought about that orange juice. I just posted another challenge tally with orange juice on it today and mentioned that I only eat fresh fruit now, not juice, because I think it's actually better for us. Other people chimed in on that post with their own comments. Here's the link to the post, if you want to read the comments about juice: http://myplasticfreelife.com/showyourplastic/2011/01/yaga-and-trev-week-1/ There is a balance when it comes to traveling further to find plastic-free alternatives. We don't want the extra fuel used to cancel out the reduction of plastic. Are there local products you can focus on first before considering traveling further? And when you do have to travel further, maybe you can stock up and get a lot at one time.