April 16, 2011

Plastic Challenge: Becca Ryals and Gordon Bennett, Week 10

Name: Becca Ryals and Gordon Bennett

Week: 10

Personal Info:

Read Becca and Gordon’s full description in their Week 1 Challenge post.

Blog: http://becca.posterous.com

Total items: 26

Total weight: 9.2 ounces

Items: Recyclable
Bottle of canola oil (old)

Bottle of dish detergent (old)

Items: Nonrecyclable


  • bag of baby carrots
  • four cartons of hummus
  • two strawberry cartons
  • two whiskey corks
  • bag of fish
  • bag of pretzels
  • two envelope windows
  • lid to toothpaste
  • condiment cup from Souley Vegan


  • 4 random plastic films — one from roll of quarters, one wrapper around gift card, and two unknown
  • 2 stickers
  • tea pouch
  • granola wrapper
  • grocery bag for kitty litter

What items can I easily replace with plastic free or less plastic alternatives?

Almost everything! What an embarrassing week! We hosted a party this weekend and one of us did not say anything to the guests he invited. So, these nice, generous people came over and brought along food and drinks (and a lot of plastic!). There is even more than shown here.  We’re reusing Ziploc bags that were left behind and eating all the leftovers. The effects of this party will be in our plastics tally for weeks.

We no longer use liquid soaps. We got a box of Seventh Generation powder dish detergent. We just mix that with some water in an old bottle. I don’t know if its meant for that, but it works pretty well.

Canola oil — we replaced our completely plastic bottle with a glass bottle and plastic lid (Spectrum is the brand).  We’ve found olive oil and balsamic vinegar in bulk, and soy sauce in really large aluminum cans. I would love to know if there is a better option for canola oil, which I use often in my baking.

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

Party-derived plastics.

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

Toothpaste — we just have a lid that was from a tom’s of maine aluminum tube of toothpaste, but now they no longer offer aluminum tubes. I just bought a plastic tube of toothpaste. I was going to start using baking soda once or twice a week to conserve the plastic tubes. Are there other options?

What lifestyle change(s) might be necessary to reduce my plastic consumption?
We need to be raise awareness in others.

What one plastic item am I willing to give up or replace this week?
party-derived plastics


My partner and I are changing our lifestyle together. He deserves so much credit for how supportive and proactive he’s been in helping us achieve our goal of a plastic-free life.  However, the party that generated so much plastic was his. I asked if he would (politely) request no disposable plastics, but he felt uncomfortable asking that of his friends. As a result, we were left with mounds of plastic. So, I have two questions. How do ask friends over for a potluck with the special request of no plastics? And, how do balance the frustration of this preventable problem with the gratefulness of the long term support of your partner?

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