February 20, 2011

Benne’ Rockett, Week 2

(Don’t miss Benne’s rant at the end of this post.)

Name: Benne’ Rockett

Week: 2

Personal Info:
After 27 years of raising children, I am now living alone in my home in Austin, TX.

Read Benne’s Week 1 Post here.

Total items: 8

Total weight: 221g

Items: Recyclable
1 Laundry detergent bottle : #2
1 Bottle of Olive Oil : #1
1 coffee lid : #6
1 coffee can lid : #2
1 zip lock bag for Turbinado Sugar
1 insert bag for boxed cereal
1 plastic bag for produce
1 plastic cover for medication

Items: Nonrecyclable
1 zip lock bag for Turbinado Sugar
1 insert bag for boxed cereal
1 plastic bag for produce
1 plastic cover for medication

What items can I easily replace with plastic free or less plastic alternatives?
I began a Notes section on my Facebook page last week, after making my first tally. Yesterday, I posted a photo of my alternative to the plastic laundry detergent, namely, I selected a box of Borax. I can buy my sugar, coffee and cereal in bulk, thus eliminating the containment plastic they are generally packed in. I have already changed to a Chico bag for my produce.

What items would I be willing to give up if a plastic free alternative doesn’t exist?
Of the items, the only one I would have some resistance toward would be the medication. I am not adverse to finding something more suitable packaged, or at least recyclable.

What items are essential and seem to have no plastic-free alternative?
None so far. I haven’t searched for the medication replacement at this time.

What lifestyle change(s) might be necessary to reduce my plastic consumption?
So many changes have already taken place! The response from friends and their suggestions has been tremendous. Each one is grateful for the attention I am bringing to the topic. I know that the contest is ending soon, but I can’t see this ending my efforts. I have long been attending the terrible situation of the Pacific Gyre. Many of my friends live on the Gulf Coast of Mexico, and see the issues first hand on the beach. One of these same friends has put me in contact with an ecologist that seeks my help toward lessening the plastic waste in several of the fishing communities. I’m so excited by this prospect as I have been teaching about these issues to children for many years. Now, with her help, I can work with families.

What one plastic item am I willing to give up or replace this week?
I am determined to find alternatives. If I can’t I am not going to take in anymore plastics of any level.

What other conclusions, if any, can I draw?
Spreading the word to friends! I am so amazed by how receptive everyone has been. They appreciate the reminder and those who have been more conscientious, are feeling well supported. One woman in particular, a crafty seamstress that lives in the Mexico beach area, has decided that instead of using the beautiful oil clothes available for her projects, she is going to hunt for used cotton items, an up-cycled advantage!

[After sending the above information, Benne’ continued with the following rant about the difficulties of plastic-free shopping.]

I just want to say that I went shopping today and realized that it is much more difficult than I had anticipated. Just finding the type of raw sugar I like in something other than a fancy ziplock bag (by a company called Organics) was nearly impossible. Shopping took twice as long – well, worth the effort as I brought home ZERO plastic. It will get easier as I learn where new items are located…and suspect that I will be going to multiple sources. I still haven’t bought toilet paper because every package was wrapped in plastic.

The biggest one is that I will have to ask my local market to consider carrying alternative products. I will also have to write to the companies I normally support and request changes on their part. I’m really just so surprised by the waste that they are creating. I know I’m just one person but I really do believe that a single voice can become a choir. So many companies profess their products to be “green” yet none of the packaging supports this…I just feel I’ve been walking around in the dark (and I’m suppose to be on the side that reduces waste) HA!

I wanted to purchase a lemon zester but it had a plastic handle. The other choice was wood but it was covered in plastic. Off the the thrift store or vintage shop to find my zester!

I spoke in haste, arrogance and ignorance when I said I would have no issues! LOL!

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