July 12, 2011

Plastic Challenge: Becca Ryals and Gordon Bennett, Weeks 21 and 22

Week 21 22

Are there plastic-free band aids?

Location:Berkeley, California, United States

Name: Becca Ryals and Gordon Bennett

Week: 21 & 22

Personal Info:

two grad students, two cats.

Becca Ryals and Gordon Bennett’s personal blog: http://becca.posterous.com/

Total items: 4

Total weight: 0.47 ounces

Items: Recyclable

Items: Nonrecyclable
one band aid
two styrofoam (!!!) plates
one plastic fork

*all new items, no old plastic waste these weeks*
* caveat – this is really only Becca’s waste. We were both traveling in different places, and Gordon didn’t keep track of his *

What items can I easily replace with plastic free or less plastic alternatives?
Styrofoam plates and plastic fork. I was in Puerto Rico for almost two weeks, and this is the total amount of plastic waste I accumulated while working down there. The plates and fork resulted from a plantain splurge by the beach the day before I left. I had access to a kitchen, so I cooked most of my meals. I brought quinoa and lentils with me and supplemented them with fresh veggies for most dinners. It was delicious fresh food after long days in the field, but I would have a hard time living there without disposable plastics. Even the locally grown cilantro was wrapped in plastic. Anyway, I really didn’t *need* the plantains, but my craving got the best of me.

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

What items are essential and seem to have no plastic-free alternative?
Band-aids, maybe? I smashed my thumb with a hammer, and I didn’t want to expose the cut while I was working. Infections happen fast in the warm humid climate.

What lifestyle change(s) might be necessary to reduce my plastic consumption?
I was surprised how easy it was to be mostly plastic-free while traveling, albeit this was not a typical vacation. One thing that helped was thinking critically about what I might need before I left.

I brought my glass straws with me, and enjoyed some amazing fresh coconuts!

What one plastic item am I willing to give up or replace this week?
Styrofoam plates and plastic forks.

What other conclusions, if any, can I draw?
I can’t wait to read your book in September!

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