April 26, 2011

Plastic Challenge: Becca Ryals and Gordon Bennett, Week 12


Name: Becca Ryals and Gordon Bennett

Week: 12

Personal Info:

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

Blog: http://becca.posterous.com

Total items: 13

Total weight: 3.6 ounces  (0.29 ounces new, 3.32 ounces old)

Items: Recyclable
Bottle of cleaner (old)

Items: Nonrecyclable


  • three envelope windows
  • wrapper to Aveeno face soap


  • nylon rope from disposable camera
  • wrapper for roll of quarters
  • wrapper around mesh scourer
  • plastic bag from some food stuffs
  • floss

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

-nylon rope from disposable camera: We counted the rest of this plastic in our week 7 tally, but we actually didn’t toss it. I have actually been using the case to protect my digital camera while snowboarding. But, this nylon rope has served no purpose.

-wrapper for roll of quarter: The last one. I heard that the Bank of America in North Berkeley has rolls of quarters in paper.

-wrapper around mesh scourer: These can be purchased without plastic pretty easily.

-plastic bag from something: who knows? I found this in the cupboard, and it has a big hole in it. I get along great with no new plastic bags.

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

Lysol cleaner

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

-3 envelope windows: One of these is from the UC retirement savings program, but I just signed up for online statements. Two are from Comcast, both addressed to “current resident,” even though we are already customers with paperless billing. I can’t take it!!! I have been able to reduce a lot of my mail waste by signing up for paperless billing and calling companies. I already spent 30 minutes on the phone with Comcast, so I have to take another approach. If you get a lot of junk mail, get yourself unlisted at https://www.catalogchoice.org

-bleach? Our walls get really moldy during the rainy season.

What lifestyle change(s) might be necessary to reduce my plastic consumption?
We need to be willing to experiment (e.g. with less-plastic or plastic-free face soaps)

What one plastic item am I willing to give up or replace this week?
plastic wrapper for roll of quarters.

Question: We don’t like using bleach, but natural cleaners don’t seem to do the job in this case. Any suggestions?

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4 Comments on "Plastic Challenge: Becca Ryals and Gordon Bennett, Week 12"

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Oh, I like that idea for keeping the shower mold free! (We were using bleach primarily on our bedroom walls, but also occasionally on our shower tiles). I prefer a little bit of work every day vs a lot of gross work once in a while. Thanks!

I was afraid that perhaps vinegar would be too easy of a solution! I know this doesn’t apply to your situation but after EVERY shower, I squeege the tile walls and then wipe down with an old ratty kitchen towel. It sounds like a lot of work but I rarely have to actually clean the tile shower stall so it is less work in the long run.

Maddie – vinegar is a great suggestion! We have made the transition to use either baking soda or vinegar as a primary cleaning agent in our house. (Well, we also use Seventh Generation powder dish soap to do dishes by hand because Gordon wanted “suds”). I’ve found vinegar to be an awesome cleaner for most things, but not for our mold issue unfortunately.

I use white vinegar for a lot of my cleaning, it is a great de-greaser. I don’t know if vinegar will work on mold but it is worth a try. I buy mine in a glass bottle (pricey) but even if you chose to buy it in the the big gallon plastic bottle, the vinegar is much less toxic than bleach.