February 17, 2012

Plastic Challenge: Beth Terry, Week 4


Location:Oakland, California, United States

Name: Beth Terry

Week: 4

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.

Total items collected: 5

Total weight: .6 ounces

Items: Recyclable
1) Straus milk cap — apparently, Caps-n-Cups will accept all plastic caps to recycle no matter what kind of plastic. Or downcycle I should say. They get made into lots of different secondary products.

Items: Nonrecyclable
2) 1 plastic envelope window – junk mail – remove myself via Catalog Choice

3) Pieces of scotch tape from late birthday gift from co-worker

4) Hanger card from bracelet – birthday gift from another co-worker

5) Ooh, this is a baddie bad one. Plastic wrapper from plastic headphones on Virgin America plane. You know how I always say you should remember to bring your headphones on planes when you travel to avoid getting the cheap plastic airplane headphones? Well, I forgot mine. And instead of just doing without, which is what I really should have done, I broke down and bought the plastic ones. Why? Because I’m scared to fly and listening to music as the plane takes off really helps. And because I like Virgin America for the movies, which also take my mind off flying. And probably because I was tired. These are all silly excuses I know.

So I plan to keep the cheap plastic headphones and use them over and over when I fly, to avoid the possibility of losing my good thinksound headphones. And when the cheap plastic ones inevitably break, they will end up in my tally. Arg!

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

Those blasted headphones. If I remember to bring my own, there won’t be any need to buy new ones. And even if I forget next time, I swear I will not buy new ones but will meditate instead.

What items are essential and seem to have no plastic-free alternative?
None. I don’t have to drink milk, but I am really feeling the need to this year.

What lifestyle change(s) might be necessary to reduce my plastic consumption?
Better planning, more sleep, less rationalizing.

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10 years ago

Heloise recommends keeping a packing list in your suitcase of the things you always need when you travel.

10 years ago

Could you just keep your headphones in your travel bag? That’s what I try to do with things I don’t want to forget when I travel. So it does mean duplicates of some items (e.g., I keep a toiletry bag fully packed at all times), but it eliminates the kind of plastic purchases that happen when we need something right away and can’t make the deliberate purchase we’d normally make.

Any idea why you are feeling a need for animal milk? If it’s addiction to the casomorphins, I can say from personal experience that that goes away in a few weeks, and then you’re not exposing yourself to the hormones and animal proteins, with their attendant risks for human health.