February 11, 2011

Plastic Challenge: Jane Schneider, Week 1

Jane's plastic waste

Name: Jane Schneider

Week: 1

Personal Info:

I’m a housewife and artist/craftsperson in Colorado, and I take care of my father-in-law at home along with an assortment of pets.

Total items: 17

Total weight:

Items: Recyclable
Bottle from hair conditioner, two pill bottles.

Items: Nonrecyclable
A Craisins bag
A cereal box liner
*Plastic packaging tape
Hefty bag that had frozen hamburger
Nestles Crunch bar wrapper
Two produce bags
*Cheese wrapper
Jolly Time popcorn bag
Fruit cups
Crisco Sticks wrappers
*Blister pack from felt tip pen
*Mouthwash bottle protective plastic band
Pill bottle protective plastic band
Saran wrap

What items can I replace with plastic free or less plastic alternatives?
Craisins were a gift, I can buy them in bulk next time along with cereal, chocolate and popcorn. Fruit also comes in glass jars. Hamburger can be frozen in freezer paper instead of plastic and I now use re-useable produce bags.

What items would I be willing to give up if a plastic free alternative doesn’t exist?
Cottage cheese – I haven’t seen it in anything except plastic containers so I’ve stopped buying it. Frozen dinners are something I have kept on hand for Grandpa but don’t plan to buy any more.

What items are essential and seem to have no plastic-free alternative?
Milk chocolate chips and packaging tape and mouthwash. I could use hydrogen peroxide for a mouthwash but it also comes in plastic bottles. Bulk chocolate chips are semi-sweet only and I have a Christmas recipe that requires milk chocolate. Plastic for long-term storage of baked goods like bread; Colorado is so dry I can’t leave the bread I make in my bread machine out unwrapped.

What lifestyle change(s) might be necessary to reduce my plastic consumption?
I may decide to quit getting my hair permed. Then I could probably use home made hair products.

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

What other conclusions, if any, can I draw?

Please help:
Help in learning to make liquid soap would be much appreciated, and ideas on long term storage for some food items for when glass isn’t a good alternative. I’m keeping cubes of frozen buttermilk and yogurt in the freezer so I can make sour cream and more yogurt but I don’t see a practical replacement for plastic containers here. There are glass ones that can be frozen but they’re very expensive. And is there something besides plastic bottles that can be used to store home made shampoo and liquid soap?

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