June 2, 2009

Jessica in Ann Arbor: Week 2– 247 grams


Above is the week two tally that I tabulated and took a picture of last night, Monday June 1st, 2009. This was from Tuesday May 26th until Monday June 1st. I also bring home the plastic trash that is from my work (not all of it, but just what people put in the recycling container (aka trashcan) I put in the kitchen. I included that but it is separate from mine and from my total.

Non-Recyclable Plastic
-toilet paper bag
-3 skittles bags
-bag from paper napkins: we bought these probably two years ago and just finished them, it took a while since we use cloth now
-bag from easter malted milk ball eggs: present from Tim’s mom. It was sent in a box full of plastic Easter grass >_<
-broccoli label
-saran wrap from cookie
-4 claritin holders
-twist from hamburger buns
-netflix seal
-lid and 2 cups from Tim Horton’s: we stopped by there on Saturday and my one plastic cup had a crack in it, so she gave me an extra one
-tim horton’s coffee lid
-sub buns bag
-cheezit bag
-plastic mail bag: from Tim’s work stock information
-7 envelope windows: These are really hard to take off the envelope!
-bag from inside Lundberg Risotto: I should just learn how to make risotto myself
-unidentified plastic found in bathroom: no clue at all
-packaging from felt floor protectors

Recyclable Plastic:
-top from bread crumbs container (#2)
-3 pop bottles (#1)
-3 pop bottle caps (going to Aveda)
-2 yogurts (#5 to Whole Foods)
-bottom from hanging plant, washed (#5 to whole foods)

Recycling at Work:
-2 water bottles (#1)
-1 water bottle cap (Aveda)
-1 yogurt (#5 to Whole Foods)
-straw and lid from fountain pop

Week 1 Total: 312 grams
Week 2 Personal Total:
95g of non-recyclable; 153 g of recyclables; total 247 grams (8.7oz)
Week 2 Work Total: 52 grams (50 grams recyclable)

I was pretty happy this week that my total weight for recyclables outweighed by non-recyclables. I must confess that I do not hold on to the plastic trash.

* What items could I easily replace with plastic-free or less plastic alternatives?
-The Saran wrap from the cookie, the bread items– all could be avoided by either some will power (the cookie, but they’re so good at Noodles & Company), and by making my own. I just think that the hand-made bread won’t last as long and we don’t eat too much of it…. even though I know that the store made ones only last because they’re full of preservatives.

* How many of these items are from “convenience” foods that could be made from scratch with less packaging but might take more time to prepare?
-Pre-packaged risotto, Tim Horton’s. We won’t be making the trip to Tim Horton’s as often as we used to. We moved and now there is not one close to us.

* What lifestyle change(s) might be necessary to reduce my plastic consumption?
-A lot of what I buy that has plastic is sometimes just about impulse buys and not thinking. The cookie? I knew I didn’t need it and I’d already eaten a big lunch, but I bought it anyways. This is usually around the same story with the pop bottles and skittles.

* What one plastic item am I willing to give up or replace this week?
-the bag from the napkins will be gone, since we’ve switched to clothes ones.

* What other conclusions, if any, can I draw?
I think I did well this week. I have less plastic than last week, although I am not sure if this was from effort or if it just happened that way.

One thing that I think about often (which some readers of the FPF Show Your Plastic may have some input on) is what I do for my 9 hours of the day at work. It seems to contradict what I try to do by reducing my plastic usage–but my job is actually to sell plastic. I work as a salesperson at an automotive supplier (living near Detroit, there isn’t much else) and we sell small metal stamped parts and springs, along with plastic injection molded parts. We literally go through tons of virgin material a week. Some customers are okay with using scrap/regrind, but most are not, and are actually okay with getting charged more to avoid having regrind in their parts.

I usually rationalize this by saying that our parts are not single use. They go in many models of cars and are of use in that vehicle for 5, 10, as many years as that car is being driven.

Is this an okay way of looking at things? I don’t mind my job except for the fact that I feel a bit hypocritical sometimes.


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