March 20, 2011

Plastic Challenge: Benne’ Rockett, Week 3

Name: Benne’ Rockett

Week: 3

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: 12

Total weight: 98 grams

Items: Recyclable
2 – coffee creamers (new waste!)
1 – container for almonds
1 – sleeve for two low energy light bulbs
1 – wrapper from previous purchase of “green” toilet paper
1 – coffee can lid
1 – straw
1 – paper cup lid
1 – plastic bottle cap (found)

Items: Nonrecyclable
1 – sleeve for two low energy light bulbs
1 – wrapper from previous purchase of “green” toilet paper
1 – plastic bottle cap (found)

At the end of Week #1, I began a note on my FB page, highlighting my progress. The title for #3 is F’ing Flip Flopping, where I discuss Flip Flops waste as well as the difficulty of choice – no plastic v strip mining.

What items can I easily replace with plastic free or less plastic alternatives?
I’m happy to report that I found raw sugar in a box, and no plastic bag containing it! Last week I was concerned about the turbinado sugar being difficult to replace.
As I’ve said before, I’m willing to go the distance. I’m about to run out of shampoo but discovered that there is a store in Austin with large vats of products like laundry detergent. I’m going there this week to see what they offer and if they can direct me to other similar sources in the city.

What items would I be willing to give up if a plastic free alternative doesn’t exist?
Beth just provided a link to dental issues. I do have to use a water pik, and she was trying to help me come up with other alternatives. I love this sharing of ideas!

What items are essential and seem to have no plastic-free alternative?
I can’t find a green toilet paper that isn’t wrapped in plastic. This is my number one complaint – green companies using harmful packaging.

What lifestyle change(s) might be necessary to reduce my plastic consumption?
This project has impacted other parts of my life. I’ve connected with a foundation in the Yucatan, my future home, that host Earth Day. I’ll be visiting with them in a few weeks and introducing an art project completely made from plastic waste. I’ve received many comments on my FB note that are leading me to research other environmental hazards around plastics. The most shocking has been youtube vidoes of people ironing/fusing plastic bags to make “fabric”. The toxins they are releasing are major poisons – lack of public knowledge on how dangerous the chemicals are is really disturbing. Health issues with water bottles are not yet common knowledge. I’m using my FB notes to make anyone willing to read my rants, aware of what they are doing to their bodies.

What one plastic item am I willing to give up or replace this week?
I gave up my chicory coffee. My family is from New Orleans, and let me tell you darlin’, this was not easy for me.

What other conclusions, if any, can I draw?
A single person can make a difference.

I think there are two problems we all will encounter. First, feeling frustrated by the shopping experience as we have to make so many changes in our habits at once. Second, forgiving ourselves when we fail. I used two creamers in a restaurant for my coffee last week. I realized that I can ask for milk for oatmeal so I will do the same for my coffee.

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