July 13, 2012

Plastic Challenge: Beth Terry, Week 27


Need to learn how to root an Adroid phone and also how to hack phones to make them compatible with my provider.

Location:Oakland , California, United States

Name: Beth Terry

Week: 27

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!)

bags, bottles, cups, straws, take-out containers, the usual suspects…

Total items collected: 20 new / 2 purchased before June 2007

Total weight: 4.3 ounces new / 4.9 ounces purchased before June 2007

Items: Recyclable
1) Tyvek mailing envelope. Read about recycling Tyvek here:


2) Plastic bottle of Balance IT cat food supplement that we use to make our homemade cat food. It’s #2 HDPE plastic. Could go in our recycle bin.

Read about our homemade cat food here: /2008/10/less-impact-cats-eat-homemade-food/

3) Prescription bottle. It’s #1 PET plastic. Could go in our recycle bin.

4-5) Plastic caps from Balance IT and prescription bottle — Caps-n-Cups (http://www.capsncups.com) will accept all plastic caps, no matter what kind of plastic, to downcycle into secondary products. CapsCanDo (http://capscando.org) will accept most plastic caps.

6) Plastic wine cork. [Ugh. I screwed up. More below.] Terracycle will take back plastic wine corks. But read below for a better solution.

Items: Nonrecyclable

Old plastic – purchased prior to 2007:

7-8) Worn out flip flops. Read about my natural plastic-free alternative below.

New Plastic:

9) Foam insert inside Balance IT cap

10-12) 3 plastic envelope windows. Read about what envelope windows are made from here:


13) Packing tape from 1 case of Plastic-Free books. (See explanation below.)

14) Clear tape from something that was mailed to me, but I can no longer remember what it was.

15-19) 5 pieces of plastic packaging from replacement mobile phone. Read my rant below.

20) Plastic twist tie from replacement mobile phone.

21-22) Plastic clamshell and anti-theft strip from replacement SD card for mobile phone.

What items can I easily replace with plastic free or less plastic alternatives?
1) The flip flops. I have already replaced them with Feelgoodz natural rubber and hemp flip flops:

Feelgoodz: /2012/07/feelgoodz-natural-rubber-and-hemp-flip-flops/

2) Wine cork. I spaced out and forget to check the CorkWatch mobile site before buying this wine. CorkWatch lets you know whether a bottle has a plastic or natural cork stopper.


And natural cork stoppers can be recycled via ReCork:  (https://recork.org)

3) Tyvek envelope. I need to remember to request no plastic packaging even from vendors who have not used it in the past.

4) Mobile phone plastic. Are you thinking, “Wait, Beth, didn’t you just blog about getting a mobile phone a few months ago?” Why yes. Yes I did:


But sadly, that phone got stolen a couple of weeks ago at an event where I was speaking and signing books! I set my purse down, and by the end of the night, the phone was gone. And we know it was stolen because it was used to access the Internet while it was not in my possession.

To make matters worse, CREDO did not have a refurbished phone for me this time. So, in a panic, I let them send me a new one. Now, I feel pretty hypocritical. Because while I go on and on about not buying new electronics (all my other electronics are secondhand), I have been scared to try a used mobile phone. Why? Because I can never seem to find secondhand phones that are compatible with my carrier and am scared to hack into them to make them work.

But no more! I am going to learn to root my phone. I am going to learn to hack it to make it work with different carriers. I am going to learn to fix it. Because, as the iFixIt Self Repair Manifesto say: If you can’t fix it, you don’t own it.


Any experts out there?

What items would I be willing to give up if a plastic free alternative doesn’t exist?
None. All of the plastic on this list was either unavoidable OR does have a plastic-free alternative.

What items are essential and seem to have no plastic-free alternative?
1) Balance IT bottle & cap. See above.

2) Prescription bottle & cap — they cannot be refilled in California, only recycled. However, I did arrange with my doctor to prescribe 3 month’s worth at a time in a single bottle, so I am cutting down my prescription bottle waste by 2/3.

3) Envelope windows. I have reduced my mail to almost nothing by getting off of mailing lists and doing all my bills and banking online, but these particular envelopes were out of the ordinary and will not happen again.

4) Plastic tape from case of Plastic-Free books. The plastic packing tape does not have an alternative, unfortunately, because the books have all already been packed up by the printer, so that horse has already left the barn. If we do a second printing, I will request plastic-free tape, but for the rest of this year, as long as I sell books, I am going to have plastic packaging tape in my tallies. *Sigh* Read more here:


What lifestyle change(s) might be necessary to reduce my plastic consumption?
Learning to fix my phone. Being a little less impulsive.


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