December 29, 2010

Danielle, Week 3

Danielle's plastic waste

Name: Danielle

Week: 3

Personal Info:

Read about our family on my Week 1 post.

Hi! I live in Wilmington, North Carolina with my husband and 3 young children. Wilmington is located on the NC coast. I’m fortunate to be a stay at home mom and this year I am homeschooling my children. We have lots of pets: 3 dogs and 5 chickens (no we don’t live on a farm…we live in a nice suburban neighborhood ;) ) I write a blog called “It Starts With Me” and it is a place for me to share what I’ve done and what I do to live environmentally conscious. I also chronicle the beach clean ups that we do that are bringing attention to the litter problem– especially cigarette butt litter– on our local beach. We eliminated trash service a couple of years ago (through reducing, reusing, recycling and composting). I’m constantly looking at our waste and trying to come up with ways to reduce the amount of waste we send to the landfill.

This week is collection from Dec. 19- Dec 25… yes!… that includes Christmas with 3 kids!!

This week (just as week 1) is ONLY a tally of what we’ve thrown away in the kitchen… but even so…. we did not have any other plastic waste in our house this week. We also went camping and had no plastic waste!! YAY!!!!!! (We do have plastic… it’s contents just aren’t used yet.)

Total items: 37

Total weight:

Items: Recyclable
None. Besides… those numbers don’t mean a thing.

Items: Nonrecyclable
Kitchen: 9 pieces

3 milk jug caps (#5) from glass milk bottles
3 rings from milk jug caps
1 Gardein package
1 cheese wrapper
1 twist tie from Romaine lettuce

Bathroom: 3 pieces

1 wrap from new kids Preserve toothbrush
1 toothpaste cap
1 wrap from kids Listerine

Our Christmas: 8 pieces
2 mailers (will reuse)
2 clothing packages (#4)
2 hooks from tights
1 wrapping from game (note: wooden game)
1 kids camera box (not pictured)

Gifted to our kids (from family): 17 pieces
1 red bow (will reuse)
1 ribbon (repurposed!
1 Barbie box (1994!)
2 bags from Legos (#5)
10 bags/wrappings from games
2 twist ties

What items can I replace with plastic free or less plastic alternatives?
I’ve been buying cheese in paper since the end of September. I placed my order, but with the holiday… schedules were different so I didn’t get my cheese :( (Good news… I have 3 lbs of cheese waiting for me ;) )

Normally, I’m able to get Romaine lettuce without the plastic twist tie… but I couldn’t find any.
Don’t buy kids Listerine. We went to the dentist and refused everything… but my son walked out proud with the bottle of Listerine. (I have a plan for next time.)

What items would I be willing to give up if a plastic free alternative doesn’t exist?
Hmmm….. I don’t know. Gardein isn’t a regular thing. (I give myself one meal a week that can have plastic in it.)


What items are essential and seem to have no plastic-free alternative?
Toothpaste. We use Tom’s of Maine… so the cap is what we get.

Well, my daughter really wanted a Holiday Barbie. Instead of buying her a new one, my mom when to the antique store and bought her one from 1994. Sure there’s plastic, but it’s 2nd hand… and that’s good right??

What lifestyle change(s) might be necessary to reduce my plastic consumption?
We made a commitment this year that the majority of our gifts would be bought 2nd hand. We were able to reduce the amount of plastic waste at Christmas by purchasing through Craigslist, Ebay and Etsy. One thing that we could do would be to ask family to do the same or to be aware of plastics and kindly ask them to avoid them when possible.

What one plastic item am I willing to give up or replace this week?
Gardein… and No gifts! ;)

What other conclusions, if any, can I draw?
I’m really thrilled with how we’re progressing in reducing our plastic waste. I’m happy that we were able to commit to shopping differently this year because it made such a huge difference in our trash can and our recycle bin. The first time I did the challenge, we had 40 pieces of plastic from our kitchen alone. (As a side note: Our Christmas dinner only had one dish that used plastic… and that came from the cheese!!) Now… I add the whole house PLUS Christmas and have 37 pieces of plastic!!

Not perfect, but it’s better… and BETTER is what I’m going for!! (By the way… next year is going to be even better!!!)

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