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February 17, 2011

Plastic Challenge: Katie M, Week 2

 

Katie's plastic waste

Name: Katie M

Week: 2

Personal Info:

Read Katie’s full description in her Week 1 Plastic Tally post.

My list is pretty big this week since there are many items I am now using up that I already had on hand before I started the challenge. As I use them up I will try to seek out the most plastic-free alternates available to me. I also included all the items i overlooked last week not realizing they contained plastic (bottle caps, floss, etc.)

I am only including items that would be going into the trash this week. There were a few plastic containers & bags that I will reuse until they are unusable before I pitch them (like tubs with lids, produce bags, etc)

Total items: 55

Total weight:

Items: Recyclable
Items I owned before I started challenge:
1 peanut butter jar
1 OJ jug
1 egg carton
1 frozen meal tray

recyclable in a friend’s community and will take it there to be recycled:
1 – mushroom carton (i usually reuse these many times before they go, but have lots on hand)

Items I purchased after challenge started:
1 coffee creamer bottle

Items: Nonrecyclable
purchased before:
1 peanut butter jar lid
1 OJ jug lid
1 tortilla bag (daughter bought, I helped consume)
3 inner wrappings from fake-meat products
1 cheese wrapper
1 cellophane from mushroom package
1 little baggie w/tape that i found on our kitchen table, no idea what came in it
1 tie/tag from lettuce
5 granola bar wrappers
1 cellophane top from frozen meal
1 bun bag
2 olive oil cap parts
1 cello bag from boxed rice mix
1 plastic lined seasoning pouch from rice mix
1 plastic coated twist tie from carrot bunch (will reuse)
2-3 yards of floss (not pictured)
1 trial size toothpaste tube w/lid (received from dentist for sensitive teeth)

purchased after:
1 coffee creamer lid
1 Styrofoam take out carton
1 bag that was around take out carton to prevent spilling
1 soda bottle (returnable) with lid and ring
1 candy wrapper
1 fortune cookie wrapper
1 wrapping and seal from new bottle of olive oil
1 vodka bottle cap liner (cap is metal but has a foam insert)
1 seal around vinegar bottle top
1 bar code sticker from deli item
3 fruit stickers (not pictured)
3 beer bottle cap liners
1 plastic lined powered cheese packet from mac & cheese (hubby bought)
1 top of cheese package, rest of package still in fridge (hubby bought)
1 seal from new OJ carton (hubby bought) *sigh*

1 plastic bag with cereal sample inside left on my porch (already opted-out of future samples)

1 grocery bag re-purposed as trash can liner (these usually come from my daughter who always seems to forget to bring her own bag when shopping. Also, our city requires trash to be in a bag to prevent blowing debris. we usually only have one grocery sized bag of trash per week and it is mostly plastic)

What items could I easily replace with plastic-free or less plastic alternatives?
peanut butter
mushrooms (already bought bulk)
egg carton
oj (bought frozen concentrate in cardboard)
bought chips in a “paper” bag, then found out it was plastic lined

What items would I be willing to give up if a plastic-free alternative doesn’t exist?
frozen dinner
granola bars
free samples
boxed mixes (rice, mac & cheese)
fortune cookie (shouldn’t have eaten it anyway)

What items are essential and seem to have no plastic-free alternative?
coffee cream is one of our “guilty pleasures” that will be a challenge to find a satisfying replacement.
beer
cheese
fake-meat products (i put this one on my husband, he is the main non-meat eater in the house and has a big fondness for these. i cook for both of us so i can’t see making a separate meal for myself)
the take-out we share at work once a week on our busiest day, i just need to build up the courage to ask to use my own container

What lifestyle change(s) might be necessary to reduce my plastic consumption?
courage to ask local (sometimes barely english speaking) restaurants to use my own container for take-outs.

What one plastic item am I willing to give up or replace this week?
granola bars, a staple in our house, i plan to make them myself this week.
also plan on trying to make bread.

What other conclusions, if any, can I draw?
as much as i saw this as a personal challenge when i started, i realize now that it’s a tougher challenge when you cook for others and share meals.

Read all posts by: Katie

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3 comments
Katie M
Katie M

rebecca, that's a great idea for the cream and i am willing to try it, since this seems like the most common occurring culprit. i did also see the scramble egg idea earlier but forgot until now. i did find the textured vegetable protein and made "Garden burgers" and a "meat" loaf, both well received by hubby so things are looking good on that front. i am still struggling with being brave enough to ask to use my own container for take out. i think i will start with the friendliest places first and work my way up. the convenience foods thing is definitely more obvious when you have to count every piece of plastic it creates. my positive update is i have been making my own granola bars for 4 weeks now (with varying degrees of success) but since i like to bake it's has not been too much of a hassle. i have had 2 failures at baking my own bread, but refuse to give up!

Beth Terry
Beth Terry

Hi Katie. When I look at your list of things you would be willing to give up, I notice it's all mostly convenience foods. Have you noticed that too? Eating whole foods can be a big change when you're not used to it, but ultimately, it's more satisfying, I think.

EcoCatLady (AKA Rebecca)
EcoCatLady (AKA Rebecca)

I wonder if you could get real cream in glass instead of the coffee creamer. You can always add a drop or two of real vanilla or hazel nut extract for flavor. I used to love that coffee creamer stuff, but since I've been making efforts to go "all natural" I now can't stand it, it just tastes like chemicals to me. I am totally with you on the takeout thing. Maybe I'm just a total chicken, but I never realized how great my fear of being looked at like I was a freak was, until I contemplated trying to get my favorite Chinese restaurant to let me bring my own containers! I mean, half the time they can't even understand me well enough to get the order right! I haven't braved that one yet. And I also know what you mean about cooking for other people. My boyfriend is a big fan of the fake meat products too. Fortunately, or maybe unfortunately (still not sure which it is) I've developed a severe allergy to an ingredient that is commonly used in those things, so I was forced to find alternatives. And since it was a medical issue and not just more of my "crazy green stuff" my boyfriend was quite willing to experiment. We've actually had great luck using scrambled eggs in recipes where you'd normally find hamburger. You have to add a bit of extra seasoning in order to get it to taste right, but the texture is generally pretty satisfying, especially if you cook them thoroughly before you add them to the recipe.