February 7, 2014

Plastic Challenge: Ally Bock, Week 1


Currently I’m taking a training for the Seymour Discovery Center and am currently learning about how plastic usage effects us and our oceans. I’m definitely new to this but looking to improve on my plastic use.

Location:Santa Cruz, California, United States

Name: Ally Bock

Week: 1

Personal Info:

Currently living with my significant other in a small apartment. He also contributed to this plastic evaluation, he was equally excited to keep track of how much we use!

I work a part-time job from home but go to college a short drive away.

As Santa Cruz does not give out plastic bags while shopping, this isn’t an issue for me but would be if I lived anywhere else.

Part of the Seymour Discovery Center Plastic Challenge

List of plastic items REFUSED this week. (Yay!)

My biggest, and only, plastic usage during this first week seems to come solidly from food materials. Packaged food, food wraps, plastic boxes from fruit etc. I can’t see a good way around this, as stores make you buy food pre-packaged, especially when you have to buy in bulk as a college student.

Total items collected: 45

Total weight:

Items: Recyclable
None- as a first week trial I wanted to make sure I got all my plastic usage noted. We even kept it in a bin hidden under our other recyclables so we didn’t see how much we used until the big reveal. It was a bit startling but that only means I can improve.

Items: Nonrecyclable
Buffers for Mail, small plastic air pockets
Wine Bag
Frozen chicken wrappers
Ramen wrappers
Granola Bar Wrappers
Juice Bottle
Potsticker bag
Kirkland Cheese bag
Kefir bottles
Grocery store Fruit and Vegetable bags
Casing over Dozen eggs
Lasagna Wrapper
Broken Plastic Pencil
Goldfish Bags
Pretzel Bags
Soup Container

What items can I easily replace with plastic free or less plastic alternatives?
Grocery bags for Fruit and Veggies are easily replaced, using small cloth bags or not at all.
Wine bag is easily fixed by buying it in a glass container.

What items would I be willing to give up if a plastic free alternative doesn’t exist?
Assuming this occurs, most of these items would be packaged in a different format? I’m not sure exactly how that would change, but it would most likely include me using reusable plastic containers to be washed after holding various foods.

What items are essential and seem to have no plastic-free alternative?
The wrappings on foods, juice boxes, freezer wrappers etc. Not sure how I would change these, unless I made every single bit of my food from scratch. Food from stores now seem to always come wrapped or buffered with some sort of plastic or plastic-based material

Maybe buying different products specifically to that either come in reusable plastic tubs or in bulk?

What lifestyle change(s) might be necessary to reduce my plastic consumption?
Making more homemade food, so I buy LESS from the store, this seems to be my biggest issue. Also knowing more so I know what I can recycle and what I can’t.

What one plastic item am I willing to give up or replace this week?
Plastic bags from Grocery stores for fruit and veggies, easily put into the fridge straight from the store, no need to bag it

What other conclusions, if any, can I draw?
That living without plastic, while trying to buy foods from conventional grocery stores, would be incredibly difficult. Everything seems to come wrapped in plastic!

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