March 13, 2012

Plastic Challenge: Beth Terry, Week 10


Location:Oakland, California, United States

Name: Beth Terry

Week: 10

Personal Info:

I am the founder of and have been collecting my plastic and attempting to live as plastic-free as possible since June of 2007.

See my previous years’ tallies at:

List of plastic items REFUSED this week. (Yay!)

1) Plastic grocery/shopping bags — bring my own reusable bags wherever I go

2) produce/bulk bags — Bought loose green beans from Berkeley Bowl in my own cloth bag. Bought bulk nuts in my own jar.

3) Produce stickers — chose produce without stickers

4) Bottled water — carried water in my travel mug and filled up at home and at water fountains.

5) Take-out foodware. Brought my LunchBots container with me for leftover restaurant food.

6) Straws — remembered to request no straw every time.

Total items collected: 10 new / 2 purchased prior to June 2007

Total weight: .9 oz new / .1 oz purchased prior to June 2007

Items: Recyclable
1) Straus organic milk bottle cap. Caps-n-Cups will accept all plastic caps, no matter what kind of plastic, to downcycle into secondary products. CapsCanDo will accept most plastic caps.

2) Plastic cap from tiny glass bottle of Underberg herb bitters. (We went to a German restaurant, and I just had to try this. It was kind of awesome but only comes in single-serve bottles. I don’t think I’ll do it again.) The Underberg website says that the plastic caps can be returned to the company for recycling (; however, the info page seems to be under construction. I wouldn’t send one cap to Germany, of course, but it’s good to know they do have a return program in place.

Items: Nonrecyclable

3 – 6) Plastic hanger tags, clamshell, and security strip from new SanDisk memory card for my phone.

7) Plastic clamshell from special wrench we had to buy to fix our sink disposal. I’m sure we’ll have many more opportunities to use this tool.

8 – 9) Two pieces of tape from a box of Lush Toothy Tabs (my toothpaste alternative)

10) 1 plastic wine cork. This should not happen anymore now that I know about CorkWatch!


2 blister packs found under sink cupboard from fly strips we purchased many years ago.

What items can I easily replace with plastic free or less plastic alternatives?
Plastic wine corks. With CorkWatch, I no longer need to guess which wines have plastic corks and which wines have real corks.

Also, I believe I could have borrowed the garbage disposal wrench from the Oakland tool lending library, but we decided that in this case, the tool would probably come in handy in future situations and it would be good to have one on hand. It’s small, after all.

What items would I be willing to give up if a plastic free alternative doesn’t exist?
Underberg bitters. It was fun to try, but I probably won’t have it again. Besides the plastic cap, I’m not a fan of any single-serve packaging. Too much waste.

Also, I probably will not be buying milk for a while. Trying to reduce animal product consumption.

What items are essential and seem to have no plastic-free alternative?
None, really. I could get away without a 32GB memory card for my phone if I limited it to calls and maybe email but no apps. But I find it to be very useful and made the choice to upgrade the memory. No plastic-free alternative for memory, although it would be nice if it came in plastic-free or less plastic packaging.

What one plastic item am I willing to give up or replace this week?

Plastic wine corks!

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