May 9, 2011

Plastic Challenge: Benne’ Rockett, Week 11

Week 11 004

Name: Benne’ Rockett

Week: 11

Location:Austin, Texas, United States

Total items: 8

Total weight: 92 grams

Items: Recyclable
2 – bottles of household cleaners

Items: Nonrecyclable
1 – styrofoam egg container
4 – absolutely unnecessary packaging
1 – cereal bag

What items can I easily replace with plastic free or less plastic alternatives?
The chemical household cleaners have been replaced with Borax. It comes in a box, no plastic carrying handle, is fragrance free, and has multiple cleaning purposes.
I’ve gone back to granola until I can find shredded wheat that is not packaged in plastic. For the other wrappers, I am selling my house and had to match some hardware that I had purchased last year, before I realized how devastating plastic waste is to human health and to the environment.

What items would I be willing to give up if a plastic free alternative doesn’t exist?
I’m going to be worried about the non-recyclables for a long time. I know that they will breakdown into smaller and smaller pieces, many will fly out of the garbage truck…find trash that is not mine in my yard every Monday…and that even more will be blown out of the landfill, landing who knows where, to be consumed by what small creature, and contaminating soil and water. The more I learn about BPA and PVC, it is just shocking, though not surprising, that a $6 billion industry would win over our health and that of the planet.

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

What lifestyle change(s) might be necessary to reduce my plastic consumption?
I just need to be more careful by checking packaging guts! More often than not, something that appears to be wrapped in a paper box, is double wrapped in a plastic inner sleeve.

What one plastic item am I willing to give up or replace this week?
One of the three stores I shop for goods not wrapped in plastic, has these lovely waxed cartons with lids for their homemade soups. This same store also has bulk bins. Of course the bins are plastic, so my food has already been contaminated, but I decided to use the soup cartoons, that come in three sizes, instead of my paper lunch sacks, for my bulk items. Apparently, I am the first person to do this. I even checked out the weight difference between the cartons and the plastic bags that are stored with the bulk foods. The difference is slight, in favor of the plastic, but I don’t give a SHIT! Seriously, the lack of transparency in the plastic industry and the EPA, USFDA is freaking disgusting.

What other conclusions, if any, can I draw?
I’m still using my paper lunch sacks for produce. They dry easily and so far, I’ve used them at least three times.

Here is something really disgusting – and I know I’ll be viewed as a hypocrite with every mention of the health issues associated with plastic – but, this seems worth mentioning. I’m in the process of selling my house. Last week we held an open house. I smoke. To get rid of the butts, I put them in a ziplock bag. For some unknown reason, instead of leaving the bag outside under a bench, I stashed it by the front door inside a curio cabinet. When I returned to the house, 3 hours later, I walked in and thought the house was on fire. I could smell this stench but it took me a while to find it. Yeah, the smell of the butts had totally leached their disgusting odor through the ziplock.

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