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January 23, 2011

Renee in Oregon, Week 1

 

Renee's plastic waste

Name: Renee

Week: 1

Personal Info:
I am female, living on the Oregon Coast with my husband and dog. I am an artist who currently works from home. I am vegan though my husband is not strictly veg. We live in a relatively isolated area that does not have a wide variety of choices. Farmer’s markets are seasonal. We eat at restaurants rarely (once or twice a year).

Total items: 30

Total weight: 7 ounces

Items: Recyclable
tofu tub
cookie wrap
mustard bottle
frozen fruit bags (2)
rice noodle bag
water filter
ramen bags (2)
daiya cheese bag
cherry tomato clamshell box
basal bag
rubber glove bag
tortilla bag
potato bag
spice container
plastic hang clip
rice cake bag
bulk food spice bag
plastic security wrapping

Items: Nonrecyclable
All but cellophane gets recycled in our community which is somewhat unusual.

What items can I easily replace with plastic free or less plastic alternatives?
I usually make my own tortillas and rarely buy cherry tomatoes out of season. The spice box was part of a Christmas gift. I usually buy spices in bulk.
I would like to find homemade alternatives to the cheese substitute and freeze fruit in reusable containers when in season. Ramen is not usually on the menu either but could make homemade using udon noodles purchased in bulk and homemade stock.
I replaced the old mustard with one in a glass container.
The rice cakes would be the biggest challenge to find a replacement for.
I am looking for a better alternative for filtering water. Most of our food is organic and we buy in bulk, however organic potatoes by the pound are almost twice as expensive as the bagged ones. Not sure why.
The co-op I belong to is the only one in the area and is about 45 miles away on a road that is occasionally closed due to flooding or slides. They have tofu in bulk. I can stock up and freeze the tofu.

What items would I be willing to give up if a plastic free alternative doesn’t exist?
I think there is a plastic free or reduced plastic alternative for all of this stuff.

What items are essential and seem to have no plastic-free alternative?
The security wrap on some bottles and jars.

What lifestyle change(s) might be necessary to reduce my plastic consumption?
We were not able to stock a freezer due to moving a couple of times during summer. Next growing season I would like to plan ahead and freeze more fruits and some veggies. Perhaps even can.
I need to get more cloth produce bags for buying in bulk.

What one plastic item am I willing to give up or replace this week?
the cherry tomatoes and the ramen

What other conclusions, if any, can I draw?
This really has made me think a bit more about how we eat and finding better solutions to reduce plastic. Looking forward to reducing more.

Read all posts by: Oregon,Renee

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5 comments
Renee
Renee

Rebecca, I couldn't agree more!

EcoCatLady (AKA Rebecca)
EcoCatLady (AKA Rebecca)

Just an editorial comment here... it totally pisses me off when the loose produce is so much more expensive than the pre-bagged variety. What's up with that?

Renee
Renee

Hi Beth, those are good questions. Our recycle center is privately owned and somewhat unique. The facility is where we drop of our materials so yes, I have seen it. I have been told that they research and find markets for everything they take in. They have a nice new web site at http://www.cartm.org. They are committed to community education to reduce our waste. It is a community wide project. One of the many reasons why I love this community by the sea! Your site is inspiring and very helpful. Thank you!

Beth Terry
Beth Terry

Hi Renee. Thanks for taking the challenge! It sounds like you have a good plan/ideas for reducing your plastic waste, so I'm looking forward to seeing your progress. Planning ahead is definitely key, especially since the coop is so far away. I'm wondering about the plastic recycling in your community. You say that everything is recycled except for cellophane, but do you know if it really gets recycled? Many communities accept all plastics in the bin in order to ensure higher compliance rates, but after the plastic is picked up, only those things for which there is a market actually get recycled. The rest gets landfilled or incinerated. It would be really educational to learn what actually happens to all the plastic that is picked up from your area. Have you thought of touring the facility? It can be a great experience.