September 21, 2010

Kiyomi, Week 1


Kiyomi's plastic waste

Name: Kiyomi Smothermon

Week: 1

Personal Info:

I live in Honolulu, Hawaii with my husband. We became empty nesters last summer. I have become increasingly aware of the plastic pollution issues in the recent months. I live here in one of the most beautiful places in the world with many beautiful beaches nearby, yet am saddened by the fact we are polluting the ocean in front of us in such a speed that nobody seems to be able to catch up with. I just joined a coallition “Plastic Free Kailua,” hoping something can be done about it. Something has to be done!

Total items: 50

Total weight: 1 lb 8 oz

Items: Recyclable
Ketchup bottle (#1)
Pancake syrup bottle (#1)
Drinking water bottle (#1)

Items: Nonrecyclable
Tennis related:
2 tennis racket strings – cut to short pieces (my husband restrings rackets for ourselves and our friends)
Packaging of 2 new strings
4 old tennis racket over grips
Backings for 4 new over grips
Packaging of 1 racket dampner
Packaging of 1 overgrip

Food Packaging:
1 carton of 1 paint half-and-half. (paper carton but lined with plastic with a plastic cap)
Taco Bell Grilled Taquitos wrapping window.
1 bag of French bread from Whole Foods
1 vegetable bag from farmers market
1 bag of tortilla
1 cheese wrap from Whole Foods
1 piece of plastic wrap used to wrap left over water melon.
1 package of pork tenderloin from Costco
1 liner of a bag of chips.
1 unidentified bottle’s cap seal and an inner seal top
1 plastic wrap of styraform ice chest that was shipped to me with goat cheeses from Maui
1 piece of plastic tape that was used to secure a jar of goat cheese

From Bathroom:
1 TP package
1 “Always” package
1 prescription med bottle
3 pieces of containers for hair color product (recyclable but there are some left over contents, thus non-recyclable)
1 container of eye drops
1 container of skin care product
1 contact lens package
1 unidentified bottle’s security cap seal

A large(52 lb dog food)dog food bag from Costco
A small packaging piece from ASUS EeePC computer
Friday paper’s bag – normally saved for dog poop scoop but this one broke, so now it’s useless
1 expired credit card
1 unidentified bags
1 bag picked up on my walk

I did not include plastic bags used to discard dog poops. I use at least 2 bags a day (I have 2 dogs).

What items can I replace with plastic free or less plastic alternatives?
I will not buy pancake syrup in plastic bottle anymore. I will instead buy maple syrup in bulk.
I don’t know how we ended up with a water bottle, but we never buy these things anymore.
I will look to see if any ketchups are sold in glass jar.
I will no longer dye my hair. I will go to the organic salon I found and have her do it, using Henna. She will still end up with plastic containers, but at least she buys them in bigger containers.
I will only buy TPs and feminine pads in paper packaging.
I will not buy produce at farmers markets if they are pre-bagged in plastics.
I will look for bakery that will sell bread without plastic bags.
I will investigate in other ways to save left over water melons than to use saran wrap.
I will not buy pork tenderloin from Costco anymore. (I have one more in my freezer) Instead I will buy all my meats from Whole Foods where I can bring my own container.

What items would I be willing to give up if a plastic free alternative doesn’t exist?

I have been contemplating on giving up paper subscription. I am getting close, I think.

What items are essential and seem to have no plastic-free alternative?

Prescription meds bottle, although it is not often I need them.
Tortillas – I have not found any brand that do not use plastic packaging. Should I make them at home…? I shall investigate.
Tennis strings and their packaging. Also tennis rackets overgrip and their packaging.
Contact lens packaging.
Chips – this one uses the least amount of plastic for packaging.

What lifestyle change(s) might be necessary to reduce my plastic consumption?

I need to investigate in alternative way to discard my dog poops. Dig a whole in the yard? What do other eco-minded people do?

I will consider baking dog food at home or buy in bulk at health food store though this is an expensive option, so I will have to try home made option a first try.

Also I need to consider not using plastic bags for trash can liner. Can trash be taken out unbagged?

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4 Comments on "Kiyomi, Week 1"

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Wow! You are a brave soul for taking this challenge on and posting the results. I read a story about the “Park Spark” this morning. It suggests using biodegradeable bags for picking up your dogs poop and then depositing the poop into a “Park Spark” recycling device. Read more here . The designer of the product hasn’t decided to go live with the business, but if he does, these devices would be a great tool. The previous commenter also made mention of containers you can use to compost dog waste, but it is NOT something you would want to mix… Read more »
It looks like you’re doing a pretty great job so far! A few suggestions: 1. try a diva cup or glad rags instead of disposable feminine products. You’ll be happy you made the switch! and 2. I haven’t found ketchup in glass, but there are abundant recipes to make your own. It won’t be the same as Heinz, but it’s pretty darn tasty! Here’s a good one: 3. I like to use shower caps (yeah, shower caps!) as reusable alternatives to plastic wrap. Though shower caps are still made of plastic, they’re durable and washable and way… Read more »
Hi Kyomi! I too have started to eliminate plastic as much as possible and it’s surprising what you CAN do! I made my own cotton drawstring bags for veggies, fruits & the like, and discovered that when I took one to the bakery dept. of Whole Foods, they were happy to put the bread in it for me. And guess what – it stayed crusty for 4 days without getting rock hard! Keep us posted on the henna hair dye – I’ve been researching on doing it myself and am curious how it works out. My stylist says it’s terrific… Read more »

Hi Kiyomi. Thanks for taking the challenge. Here are a few suggestions.

1) Some people pick up dog poop with pieces of old newspaper. Some people use plastic packaging and bags that they end up with anyway. There is also a dog poop composter you can get so you can avoid the question entirely.

2) I don’t know what the rules are in your neighborhood, but if they don’t require a garbage bag, then no need. Here is my post about garbage bags: