July 8, 2009

Kathryn: Counting My Plastic Waste: Week 2

Here are the results of my second week cataloging and saving all my plastic waste. Despite the long list, it’s a big improvement over last week’s results.


1 bag of feline pine cat litter
2 shopping bags
4 small plastic bags, 2 plastic molded forms, a software cd, a hang tag and a plastic security tag from my new camera1
molded plastic form from scissors
1 plastic cover for the father’s day card I bought several weeks ago but still didn’t mail on time
1 #6 plastic cup from a club
1 plastic cup from brunch at a friend’s house
1 tiny Ziploc bag and plastic hanger that contained extra buttons
1 plastic planter
1 herb marker
1 broken clothespin
2 Ziploc bags
1 bag that held coconut
2 #6 containers and plastic wrappers that held shiitake mushrooms
1 plastic top and seal from a box of raisins
1 plastic bag that held muffin mix
plastic wrap from cheese
1 Soyjoy wrapper
1 licorice wrapper
1 fruit leather wrapper

1 Via Coco Tetra Pak
3 envelopes with plastic windows
1 broken #5 deli container

The first week of the challenge I had 19 bags and this week I’m down to 6 bags (excluding the camera’s packaging). This week’s plastic waste was far lighter and compact than last week’s, check out the photo. Much of this waste was purchased or in use before I started the plastic challenge but I have to take full responsibility for buying a new camera and a box of Via Coco last week and accepting two plastic shopping bags.

Again this week, the bulk of my plastic, in weight and in number of items, was from food packaging. It’s surprising how much of food packaging is not just plastic but the almost never recyclable #6 plastic, polystyrene. That’s the same type of plastic as Styrofoam, which I’d never knowingly buy. From now on, I’ll get my shiitake mushrooms at the farmer’s market.

The scissors were from the office supply closet. The plastic packaging is ironic since according to the package, the handle of the scissors is made from recycled plastic. The father’s day card was made from recycled paper but wrapped in a protective plastic sheath.

Now about the cat… his litter and his food come in heavy plastic bags. He and I are both pretty picky about these things. I want a cat food without a lot of unhealthy grains and a nice smelling, light-weight, renewable (if not sustainable) cat litter. Feline Pine is made from Southern Yellow Pine which is grown on tree farms. Allegedly I could compost the sawdust litter at the end of the week but I don’t think my neighbors would go for that. The litter is lightweight, so the energy required to transport it is less, and a bag lasts me about a month. But I’d be happy to hear about alternatives.

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