January 27, 2011

Plastic Challenge: Katie M, Week 1


Katie's plastic waste

Name: Katie M

Week: 1

Personal Info:
I am a female from Metro Detroit. I live with my husband and college age daughter. I own my own business and work out of the home full time. This is plastic consumed mostly for personal use in the home. I know we consume much more plastic at work and i am consistently trying to reduce that as well, but that would require a whole other blog! (hmmm?)

(items were also used by husband, and college age daughter)

Total items: 37

Total weight:

Items: Recyclable
1 – Liquor Bottle
1 – lid
1 – creamer bottle
1 – juice jug
1 – ketchup bottle

Items: Nonrecyclable
1 – noodle bag
1 – Clementine bag
1 – OJ carton
1 – Milk carton
1 – Grapes bag
1 – coffee bag
1 – bread bag
1 – frozen food bag
2 – cheese wrappers (for work event)
1 – creamer cap
1 – carrot bag (for work event)
1 – ketchup cap
5 – food wrappers (inner/individual wrappings)
1 – onion bag
1 – inner seal from milk or juice
1 – juice cap
1 – candy wrapper
1 – veggie rubber band
1 – film seal from cheese tub

Not pictured
3-4 granola bar wrappers
3-4 fruit/veggie stickers/tags

What items could I easily replace with plastic-free or less plastic alternatives?
buying bulk produce like onions & oranges.
already bought coffee in paper bag.

What items would I be willing to give up if a plastic-free alternative doesn’t exist?
candy, frozen meat alternatives

What items are essential and seem to have no plastic-free alternative?
juice, produce (they all have stickers, rubber bands, tags, etc)

What lifestyle change(s) might be necessary to reduce my plastic consumption?
make more of my own snacks (granola bars),
visit more farm markets, travel farther to grocery stores that carry plastic free alt.s

What one plastic item am I willing to give up or replace this week?
already replaced coffee with a paper bag (plus fresh ground is soooo much better) :)
Alcohol in glass only

What other conclusions, if any, can I draw?
plastic is everywhere!! like a previous person taking the challenge (erin in BC)it is somewhat sad to see all the plastic consumption around me while i spend time to not bring home that extra oz. of plastic.

but, i try not to feel like a drop in the ocean and instead try to feel like that 1st step in that journey of 1000 miles.

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7 Comments on "Plastic Challenge: Katie M, Week 1"

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I know people around you are getting inspired by the changes you are making. thank you for sharing your experiences with us. it does really help to know that there are people out there wanting the same things I want. I love all of the comments in support of you, pretty cool.

hi jessica, I am downriver. Trader Joe’s in Royal Oak (25 miles)is my closest option for the biggest variety of eco-friendly products. There is also Zerbo’s in Livonia (20 miles) which has a lot of health/beauty products and fair amount of groceries. I also go to Eastern Market on occasion. Ann Arbor is about 35 miles away and I have been to the Whole Foods there, it’s just a matter of scheduling and saving gas. I live very close to work and try to keep my errands within that radius to save gas, but I am definitely not adverse to… Read more »

Where are you in Metro Detroit? I’m in Ann Arbor and there is a ton of options I’ve found here and they might be options for you too :)

As for the organic vs. locally grown: many of the farmers that own smaller farms cannot afford all of the red tape and paperwork that goes with official organic certification… make sure you talk to them because they could be using all of the organic practices but are just not certified for monetary reasons.


thanks rebecca! i am also a gardener so the summer months are full of not only fresh goodies from my own garden but also from my friends’ gardens and local farm markets. I have only dabbled in preserving/freezing bumper crops, since most of it does get consumed or shared. I have already been trying this winter to only buy in-season produce from the US. But I don’t think i could go with only my state as I live in Michigan and that would mean a big citrus, banana, etc. deficiency (especially if i try to cut out carton juices as… Read more »
EcoCatLady (AKA Rebecca)
I used to get myself all tied in knots about the organic vs. local question. I finally decided that it was sort of like paper vs. plastic in terms of grocery bags. Which is better? Neither! At that point I decided to start eating seasonally. It was sort of a shock at first, though made easier by the fact that I’m an avid gardener and my decision coincided with a year of bumper crops and a purchase of a big freezer to store the surplus in. I’m not totally there yet in terms of all local food, but I won’t… Read more »
Thanks, Beth for the great tips and support. I did see the conversation about juice and while i am completely willing to try, it may be harder to convince my family to go along (but since I do most of the shopping, i usually have final say) :) A lot of the decisions, like traveling farther, do seem like trade-offs and it’s often tough to make that call when time is limited or when standing in the store. (for example: what leaves a bigger carbon footprint organic peppers from Israel(!) or non-organic but locally grown?) It would definitely be easier… Read more »
Hi Katie. I totally hear you about feeling like a drop in the ocean. I deal with that feeling a lot. But then I remind myself that we are having an impact on the people around us too. We are setting an example. And we are supporting companies that are packaging products responsibly (or not at all.) Plus, it’s healthier for our own bodies not to eat things out of plastic. I have a thought about that orange juice. I just posted another challenge tally with orange juice on it today and mentioned that I only eat fresh fruit now,… Read more »