April 3, 2011

Plastic Challenge: Amanda R, Weeks 9 – 12

Amanda's plastic waste

Name: Amanda

Weeks: 9 – 12

Personal Info:

Read Amanda’s description in her Week 1 post.

Total items: 53

Total weight: 11 oz

Items: Recyclable
1 #5 yogurt container – mail away
2 #1 packages (goggles and toothbrush head) – go in regular recycling
1 #5 dental floss container – mail away
2 dry cleaning bags – recycled at some dry cleaners

Items: Nonrecyclable
1 trash bag (not pictured)
1 envelope window
2 meat pkgs from CSA
1 sugar bag
5 bags for greens from CSA
1 milk bottle top
2 seals around bottle tops
5 q-tips
13 dead pens
1 micro-chipped tag for running race
1 ferrero rocher package
4 ghiradeli chocolate pkgs
3 “organic produce” tags
1 ball of tape
About 6 random plastic baggies (electronics accessories, etc)

What items could I easily replace with plastic-free or less plastic alternatives?
Some of these items have now been switched:
– the white sugar bag has been replaced with bulk cane sugar;
– the pens are the result of cleaning out the pen cup and bringing in a re-fillable fountain pen
– I’ve said farewell to the CSA, so no more plastic bags of greens, and less plastic meat pkgs
– I’ve taken Beth’s suggestion and switched to the eco-floss
– The candy was Christmas gifts from my father — we’re working on less-plastic alternatives (like bar chocolate that comes wrapped in paper)
– The purpose of the yogurt cup was starter for my own yogurt — I was away for a month, and my starter died.

The toothbrush could be replaced with a preserve variety, although they don’t make heads for electric toothbrushes…

The organic labels from wholefoods are unnecessary — they should know better, and I can shop at the food coop where they don’t use them

What items would I be willing to give up if a plastic-free alternative doesn’t exist?
… not really any, just now

– Well, maybe the Ferrero Rocher chocolates. I wrote to the company and asked if they’d considered a more toblerone-like packaging, but no response

What items are essential and seem to have no plastic-free alternative?
– Goggles are hard — I should be able to find a store that sells them without a huge package, but so far haven’t, and the goggles themselves are of course plastic that will be thrown out.
– Dry cleaner bags seem inevitable, if one dry cleans
– The running race tag — NY uses re-usable chips, and it’s too bad Arizona’s gone for a disposable alternative

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

What one plastic item am I willing to give up or replace this week?
Saving up for a metal razor

What other conclusions, if any, can I draw?
The last couple months, I feel like I’ve made so many positive changes, and yet my total plastic numbers keep going up! I can’t imagine what they would be if I weren’t trying to cut back…

One more question…
has anyone found a way around dry cleaning bags (while still dry cleaning)?

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