January 15, 2012

Plastic Challenge: Beth Terry, Week 2


Location:Oakland, California, United States

Name: Beth Terry

Week: 2

Personal Info:

I am the founder of MyPlasticfreeLife.com 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) Sandwich wrapper – brought my Lunchbot container to sandwich shop

3) Coffee cups – made coffee at home all week. Bought bulk coffee beans from local HellOakland coffee shop in my own bag.

4) Plastic envelope windows — Have switched all my banking and bill paying to online.

Total items collected: 6

Total weight: 0.8 ounces

Items: Recyclable
1) Prescription bottle – #2 plastic – sadly these cannot be refilled at the pharmacy, only recycled.

Items: Nonrecyclable
I’m actually unclear as to whether Oakland recycles plastic bottle caps nowadays. The rules keep changing as technology improves. For now, I’m including caps in the non-recyclable column, and since I hold onto my entire stash for educational purposes anyway, it doesn’t matter. The truth is that all plastic recycling is problematic at best.

2) Plastic cap from prescription bottle. (Unknown plastic type)
3) Plastic cap from glass bottle of Heinz white vinegar — used for cleaning (Unknown plastic type. Including the cap and ring as one item)
4) Plastic cap from returnable glass bottle of Straus Creamery organic milk — I didn’t have any of these last year but have decided I need to start drinking milk again, for various reasons. I’ll probably have one of these per week. (#4 plastic. Including the cap and ring as one item)
5) Plastic tear strip from large cardboard Priority Mail envelope. (It didn’t occur to me until this past year that these things are plastic! I still get surprised sometimes.)
6) Little piece of plastic tape on envelope from sample of Made On personal care products which come in metal tins. I’ll be reviewing these products soon.

What items can I easily replace with plastic free or less plastic alternatives?
The only thing I could have done differently this week was to be super clear about not wanting any plastic tape on envelope.

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?
None are essential, but all make my life better.

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Julie luvs keurig coffeebrewer
10 years ago

Wow, that’s pretty amazing. Even refusing the plastic windows in envelopes. I don’t know if I could go without plastic, really, considering that even a good part of my computer monitor is plastic…

10 years ago

This is really cool what you’re doing, I’ve been reducing how much plastic I use since last April. It’s not easy; I get a lot of slack from some places that won’t let you use your own containers but I do carry a set of silverware with me so at least I don’t always have to use the plastic ones. I tend to buy as many items in glass jars as I can, since I now take advantage of using them in the bulk isle of my local vegetarian store. I’m amazed by how much I save getting the same thing in the bulk isle that I would normally get in pre packaged plastic bag. My biggest defeat last year was when I bought one of those cold-drink cups from a coffee chain and watched them use a plastic disposable to measure out the coffee for my blended drink. Then the stupid cup broke a couple months later, so in to the landfill it went :-(

10 years ago

The prescription wasn’t essential?

Good Girl Gone Green
10 years ago

You are so awesome Beth! I think next week I am going to collect my plastic and do a tally to submit. I have only submitted once, and that was in July! Oh and here is what you can d with our caps: