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December 14, 2011

Plastic Challenge: Hanh Pham, Week 1

 

Wk 1 - PTC

The produce bags that I use are often reused twice or three times before they get worn, tipped, or too dirty to rinse off. Is it more environmentally friendly to use plastic produce bags and reuse them numerous times? Or buy a mesh one – made from plastic – often from China? How many times do I need to use the mesh or cloth produce bag before it offsets the eco impact of using a plastic disposable produce bag?

I am curious though – what is your favorite produce bag? I would like to 10 high quality bags made in the US from recycled plastic.

Location:Chicago, Illinois, United States

Name: Hanh Pham

Week: 1

Personal Info:

I live in a 3-flat with my husband. We don’t have pets.

Hanh Pham’s personal blog: http://prettydirtyperformances.blogspot.com

Total items: 11

Total weight:

Items: Recyclable
Plastic tub of hummus – #1

Items: Nonrecyclable
2 plastic cups – #1
Red, netted bag from bulk onions
Container from spinach (lid, container, and packaging)
Lid from rice milk container
Luna bar wrapper
2 produce bags
1 plastic spoon

What items can I easily replace with plastic free or less plastic alternatives?
I could bring my own cup and utensils when going to parties/events so that I won’t need any disposables.
I could buy onions or produce in a reusable mesh or cloth bag and opt not to buy prepacked produce.
I could buy rice milk that doesn’t have a lid.
I could refrain from eating energy bars.
I could buy mesh or cloth produce bags.

What items would I be willing to give up if a plastic free alternative doesn’t exist?
Energy bars

What items are essential and seem to have no plastic-free alternative?
Pre-washed/ready to get spinach

What lifestyle change(s) might be necessary to reduce my plastic consumption?
Making time to prepare food. I could buy spinach in bunches and wash them myself.

What one plastic item am I willing to give up or replace this week?
Energy bars

What other conclusions, if any, can I draw?
I am a big proponent of reusing. When I am at a party with my husband or family, I often ask them if I can share their plate or cup if disposables if what is offered. The cups and utensils that were generated this week were shared. How is this accounted for in the Challenge? I am still using a plastic cup and spoon, but I am not using a new one…

 

Read all posts by: Hanh Pham,Illinois,United States

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2 comments
Margaret
Margaret

I've bought cloth produce/bulk bags from etsy - supporting individual sellers in the US. It's also easy to find ones making the bags out of repurposed fabric.

Beth Terry
Beth Terry

Hi Hanh. Welcome to the challenge! While I don't have facts about how many times you would need to use a reusable produce bag vs. reusing a disposable one, I do think that reusing anything many times instead of taking or buying new is always good -- especially if you already have a bunch of disposable bags. But to answer your question about which reusable bags to buy, check out ChicoBag's new Produce Stand bags made from 100% recycled PET: http://www.chicobag.com/category/produce-stand