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February 17, 2011

Plastic Challenge: Katie M, Week 3

 

Katie's plastic waste

Name: Katie M

Week: 3

Personal Info:

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

lots again – but again, using up what i had on hand before i started the challenge, and now cleaning out and getting rid of old stuff so that is here too. so even though it looks like my weeks keep getting bigger now, i know that in weeks to come i will eventually see the decline.

Total items: 67

Total weight:

Items: Recyclable
old: 6
1 – apple cider vinegar bottle (#2) (already replaced with glass)
1 – tofu tub (#2) had in freezer, just now using up
2 – bottoms of salt & pepper shakers (#5, will recycle at a friend’s)
1 – vinegar bottle – i use a lot of this for cleaning, have not seen any alt
1 – body wash bottle (already replaced with bar soap wrapped in paper)

new: 1
1 – coffee creamer bottle (#2)

Items: Nonrecyclable
old (had on hand since before starting challenge): 37
1 – craisins bag (bought for holiday baking, finished in homemade granola bars, will replace with bulk)
1 – toaster pastry wrapper
2 – vinegar bottle lids & rings
1 – ice cream carton w/lid presumably plastic coated (bought on a whim while i had my niece & nephew over the holidays, just now finishing it up)
1 – broken kitchen timer (received as a gift years ago)
4 – wine corks (had a small ‘collection’ going to reuse, purging the plastic ones)
1 – spice tin top (replaced with bulk)
1 – toothpaste tube and top (already replaced with metal)
1 – last granola bar wrapper (already replaced with homemade)
2 – plastic salt & pepper shakers (bought years ago for a trip)
11 – plastic windows from mail (didn’t count these last weeks so catching up, 3 weeks worth)
1 – rock salt bag (not sure what you guys do in other states but we use this to keep our walks & driveways safe from icing up, and it ALL comes in a plastic bag so there will be more in weeks to come. would love to find a bulk provider, any suggestions from those in cold areas?) should be pictured on the ‘old’ side, but we have bought more already
1 – plastic seal from wine bottle (received as xmas gift, only now drinking)
1 – sock hanger (gift)
1 – chocolate chip bag (mother-in-law likes to clean out cupboard and give me what she doesn’t want, used up to make granola bars, will replace with bulk)
1 – cheese wrapper
1 – frozen food inner package
1 – tofu tub seal
1 – tofu dogs wrapper
1 – body wash lid
1 – grocery bag to put it all in

new: 23
1 – Styrofoam take out carton (hungry at work and a co-worker was going out, otherwise would not have gotten it)
2 – OJ cartons (hubby bought again out of habit)
1 – milk carton
5 – caps & seals from oj, milk, etc
2 – pieces of floss
1 – banana sticker
2 – fruit stickers
1 – sticker from a new item that say “made from recycled material” *sigh*
2 – cheese packets
1 – creamer lid
1 – pizza crust bag
1 – inner food wrapper
1 – seal around new glass peanut butter jar
3 – firewood bags (i know, it’s ridiculous! but we were getting a blizzard and wanted to have a fire and our stock of firewood was gone and haven’t had a chance to replenish it before the storm hit) will replace with bulk delivered firewood

What items could I easily replace with plastic-free or less plastic alternatives?
already replaced:
apple cider vinegar, body soap, granola bars, toothpaste, oj

can replace:
craisins, firewood, chocolate chips, milk

What items would I be willing to give up if a plastic-free alternative doesn’t exist?
toaster pastries
the one-time items i’m clearing out as i clean: salt & pepper, timer

What items are essential and seem to have no plastic-free alternative?
rock salt.
‘fake’ meat products, cheese, coffee cream

What lifestyle change(s) might be necessary to reduce my plastic consumption?
move to where it doesn’t snow! :P
breaking old habits.
be proactive and call to stop mailings.
cleaning out the plastic non-food clutter tucked away in every drawer, closet, shelf, etc.

What one plastic item am I willing to give up or replace this week?
milk carton (go out of my way to buy it in glass), firewood packaging (will have it delivered)

What other conclusions, if any, can I draw?
my house is full of plastic clutter that i am slowly cleaning out. any usable items will go to good-will or freecycle, unusable items will have to go in the trash, thus upping my tally each week, the sad conclusion.

Read all posts by: Katie

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2 comments
Beth Terry
Beth Terry

Katie, I don't have a solution for the rock salt, either. Not sure how the weather is in Michigan, but I grew up in Maryland where there are storms of freezing rain, and rock salt is a necessity. It is hard at first to get folks at restaurants to pack your food in your own container, but it just takes practice. Just remember, you don't have to do it all at once. Keep making steady progress on the stuff in your home. And maybe start with asking the restaurant not to give you any utensils, condiments, napkins, etc. if you're not already doing that.

EcoCatLady (AKA Rebecca)
EcoCatLady (AKA Rebecca)

Oh my... you're even counting the dental floss! I fear I have been far too lazy to include that in my tally! Here's a wild thought on a replacement for vinegar for cleaning... citric acid. It can be challenging to find, you might have to order it online. I use it instead of vinegar for my hair (the "no poo" thing) and I also use it occasionally in the washing machine to clean out hard water build up. I prefer it to vinegar because it's odorless. All that being said, I'm not exactly sure how much better it is plastic-wise. I get it in powdered form, but the powder does come in plastic. sigh. But since it takes much less of the powder to get the equivalent of the liquid vinegar it's less plastic. But, who knows about the relative environmental impact of producing citric acid vs. vinegar. Maybe it's just six of one, half dozen of the other, who knows. But I prefer it for my hair because of the odor issue. I don't have any great suggestions on the rock salt, except to say that I've never used de-icer of any kind except in extreme circumstances. I am in sunny Colorado, but I've found that if I shovel before anybody walks on it, there really isn't any ice. I wonder if you could just use a little sand for traction? It's so frustrating isn't it? I mean we all want to do the "right" thing, but when you dig down into the nitty gritty, it always ends up doing the "less bad" thing, and even then, I often wonder if it really is "less bad" or not, because EVERYTHING has an impact. Sigh.