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Name: Steve and Jo
Location: New Mexico, United States
We are a family of five living in Northern New Mexico. My husband works outside of the home and I am a stay at home mom to 3 small kids, ages 4, 3 and 5 months. We have been making many changes in our lifestyle to cut back on waste, especially plastic. Our baby is in cloth diapers and we have eliminated paper towels and napkins. We now remember to take our shopping bags with us always, use cloth bags for produce and use paper bags or glass containers for bulk items. We have a long way to go still but we are getting there. It is the greatest thing to hear my 4 year old tell me “Mom! Make sure you dont get any plastic bags at the store, they kill sea animals!”
Total items: 172
2- Gallon Milk Jugs #1
1- Soup Can
1- Juice Bottle #1
1- Chocolate Milk Bottle #1
1- Antacid Bottle #2
Our County only recycles #1 & #2 Plastics.
3- Bags of playsand
1- Swiffer Wet Container & lid
2- Caps and rings from milk jugs
2- Caps from juice & choc milk bottles
1- Ice cream container & lid
2- Pull Up bags
1- Tortilla bag & clip
10- Disposable diapers and pull ups
1- Cap from antacid bottle
2- Pieces of plastic wrap
1- Coffee bag
1- Yogurt Cup
1- Peaches cup
1- To Go container
1- Wrap from roll of sausage
3- Styrofoam meat trays & Plastic wrapping
1- Pad thing from inside chicken package
1- Bacon package
2- Ring Pop rings
2- FreezePop wrappers
3- Coffee lids
2- Plastic seals from Better Than Bouillon jars
2- Bags from Happy Meal toys
18- Caps from beer bottles (plastic inside cap)
11- Albuterol Nebulizer tubes (sick baby)
Plastic scrap pieces and zip top from ziploc bag used in a project
10- Plastic windows from envelopes
2- Sauce cups & 1 lid from Mc D’s
Plastic tape from package
1- Mesh potato bag & clip
3- Candy wrappers (lollipops)
1- Hanger and tag straps
2- Battery packages
1- Tape dispenser
1- Garlic salt bottle, lid & lid insert with holes
3- Lids & scoops from baby formula cans
6- Drink lids & 6 straws
3- Coffee cups w/ lids & straws
2- Styrofoam cups w/lids & straws
1- Stir stick
3- Bags for 3D glasses
15- Fruit 7 Veggie stickers
What items can I easily replace with plastic free or less plastic alternatives?
We are using old cloth diapers attached to the swiffer mop instead of their disposal cloths. The baby is in cloth diapers and we use cloth wipes but we are working on reusable alternatives for the older kids to use at night instead of PullUps. I usually get our meat from Whole Foods in butcher paper, I am hoping to soon switch to my own containers, but with poor planning and a sick baby I had to hit our grocery store here in town for meat, bacon and sausage. No more nasty Mc D’s or getting coffee/soda in disposable cups. We are trying to make a kegorator and get beer from the local brewery to cut out throwing away bottles and beer caps. Our county does not recycle glass.
What items would I be willing to give up if a plastic free alternative doesn’t exist?
Candy and popsicles can hit the road.
What items are essential and seem to have no plastic-free alternative?
The baby formula. Just went through a scary hospital ordeal with him and he has to be on this specific brand of formula. He has also been on a Nebulizer for a chest cold but it is only temporary so the plastic tubes from the medicine will be gone soon.
What lifestyle change(s) might be necessary to reduce my plastic consumption?
No more fast food or convenience stops. Make more homemade items like tortillas, bread and treats for the kids. I need to plan ahead better.
What one plastic item am I willing to give up or replace this week?
I can definitely give up the plastic/styrofoam cups, lids and straws.
What other conclusions, if any, can I draw?
It really is an eye opener to collect and pay attention to what you produce in a week. We thought we were doing so good and I can’t believe how many pieces we have! We found ourselves using something or finishing up an item and saying Oh No!! another piece of plastic to add to the tally, it just kept coming and coming!
Thank you for taking the challenge! The first step really is looking at the plastic waste you generate. Most of us have no idea what our consumption is otherwise. I'm looking forward to seeing your progress. It sounds like you've already got some good plans to eliminate the fast food and processed foods. That will be a good start.