January 23, 2011

Plastic Challenge: Jessica in Ann Arbor, Week 1


Jessica's plastic waste

Name: Jessica in Ann Arbor

Week: 1

Personal Info:

24 year old, married, living with my husband and cat in Ann Arbor, Michigan. I work away from home, at an office very close to our apartment. This tally only includes plastic from me, or shared plastic.

Blog: https://shortystylee.wordpress.com/

[Note: This is Jessica’s second time taking the challenge. Read about her 2009 Week 1 and Week 2 here.]

Total items: 14

Total weight: 6.7 ounces

Items: Recyclable
Yogurt container: #5, recycling bin
Yogurt lid: #5, recycling bin
Yogurt pull tabs: #5, recycling bin
Soda bottle: #1, recycling bin
Soda bottle cap: Aveda Institute
Spinach Carton and Lid: #1, recycling bin
Broken bowl: #5, recycling bin
Salsa lid: #1, recycling bin
Beef broth cap: Aveda Institute

Items: Nonrecyclable
Spinach tray plastic seal
Salsa cup
Broccoli tag
Beef broth spout
Rice cracker wrapper

What items can I easily replace with plastic free or less plastic alternatives?
I could make my own yogurt, however, the yogurt that I buy is from a local company that I am happy I am able to support. I could buy the spinach without plastic – either in season at the farmer’s market and sometimes our grocery co-op has it loose. There wasn’t any loose this week and the carton was one pound, which was what I needed.

What items would I be willing to give up if a plastic free alternative doesn’t exist?
Of course, I could give up pop, but I’ve tried that one…. many times and times again. Maybe they have diet coke in the glass bottles at the store…?

What items are essential and seem to have no plastic-free alternative?
Most of mine seems to have some sort of alternative… or is not “essential.”

What lifestyle change(s) might be necessary to reduce my plastic consumption?
I need to think a little bit more sometimes… It is just second nature to get a pop, or a to-go salsa container at Qdoba, or pick up a snack off the lunch table at work that is wrapped in plastic.

What one plastic item am I willing to give up or replace this week?
I can definitely *try* not to have pop. I shouldn’t have it anyways.

What other conclusions, if any, can I draw?
Honestly, I think I do pretty well at minimizing the amount of plastic I use. I try to be very conscious when grocery shopping about produce bags and bringing my own bulk containers. It is little bits of plastic that sneak themselves on in.

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11 Comments on "Plastic Challenge: Jessica in Ann Arbor, Week 1"

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you could maybe try suggesting the the woman who makes the yogurt that she use reusable ceramic containers with a deposit on them. or ask if you could give her your own container to fill (depending on the size of her operation).

Rebecca, I have thought a lot about making my own yogurt and my thought process usually goes along the lines of… “You know, I use a lot of plastic buying yogurt, I really should make my own.” Then I see the nice German lady at the farmer’s market selling organic yogurt from her own cows and I think, “I should really support local farms and businesses, after all, this lady needs to make a living.” It’s quite a dilemma for me. Also, I’ll definitely be trying to spinach and whatever I can once spring comes. I’m in an apartment right… Read more »
EcoCatLady (AKA Rebecca)
Hey Jessica, First of all, congratulations on your tiny plastic tally! Have you ever considered making your own yogurt? I went through fits and starts, but finally hit upon a method that works. I wrote it out in the comments here: https://myplasticfreelife.com/plastic-challenge/danielle-week-4/ Plus, spinach is ridiculously easy to grow. Not sure if you’re ready to “go there” or not, but I’m in Denver and I generally plant it in October and it grows all winter and into May or June before it gets too hot. It’s survived several bouts of 18 below zero just covered with some frost cloth and… Read more »

@Beth, @Bpod,
I should keep some beef buillon on hand. I have the veggie bouillon and usually make my own chicken broth/stock.

I usually only have pop sometimes when we eat out. The husband often goes out to the store in the evening to get himself a snack and returns with a pop for me. If my head is in the game though, I’ll get one of the iced teas in glass – I’ll reuse them for ice tea at home so I can have one in the fridge to grab.

I can second the Better than Bouillon. I used Knorr bouillon cubes in the past, which I loved for their convenience, but the resultant broth was a bit salty and fatty. I happened to stumble across the Better than Bouillon in the store one day and decided to try it – much better flavor, and no waxy fat buildup on the pot when I wash it (and, of course, it’s packaged in glass).

Oh, one other thing, have you considered Better Than Bouillon instead of broth in a tetrapack? It comes in a glass jar. (I’ve recommended it about 4 times so far this week.) And they have an organic version.


I should get paid for promoting this product. :-)

Hi Jessica. Great to see you’re doing the challenge again. You do use a lot less plastic than most people. How often do you drink soda? (You say pop; I say soda.) If it’s something you really do like to have on a regular basis, maybe you could consider investing in a soda maker? It’s just a thought. Not worth it if soda is an occasional luxury, but sometimes you just have to be realistic. I have a Penguin soda maker from Soda Stream that I love. Yes, it’s made from plastic, but it saves many, many disposable plastic bottles.… Read more »