December 3, 2014

Plastic Challenge: Charlene J., Week 1


I would say the best way to reduce your waste is get to know yourself and your habits. If you often stop at the store on your way home, keep bags in the car. If you get thirsty keep a refillable drink bottle on you. Pay attention to what you eat and buy the appropriate amounts instead of single servings.

Location:  Antioch, CA, United States

Name: Charlene J.

Week: 1

Personal Info:

I am a 30-something female living with my boyfriend and dog. I work full-time in an office environment and go to school part-time. We have regular visitors and neices/nephews who drop in and stay over.

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

grocer bags and bottled water.

Total items collected: 41

Total weight:

Items: Recyclable
2 egg cartons – 1
3 soda bottles – 240
1 creamer bottle – 2
6 packing fillers/wrappers – 4
1 bagel bag
1 english muffin bag
1 hawaiian roll bag – 4
1 potato bag – 4
2 k-cups – c150
4 creamer cups – 14
4 yogurt cups – 5
1 cream cheese cup – 5
1 print cartridge wrapper – 2

Items: Nonrecyclable
1 dog food bag – no indication – Is this recycleable? I’ve always placed in my rec.bin.
1 cosmetic shopping bag
2 bag ties
1 candy packaging
2 american cheese wrappers
3 stir straws
1 plastic spoon
1 cracker wrapper
1 beef jerky package

What items can I easily replace with plastic free or less plastic alternatives?
k-cups, potato bag, egg cartons, soda bottles, creamcheese container, spoon, straws, creamer, bread bags, jerky, wrapped cheese

Ultimately the food items can be purchased with other wrappers or without wrappers all together.

What items would I be willing to give up if a plastic free alternative doesn’t exist?
stir straws & bag ties

Also, hawaiian rolls are always in our cupboard and are only sold in plastic bags, but I guess it wouldn’t kill us to give them up.

What items are essential and seem to have no plastic-free alternative?
I’ve never seen ink cartridges packed in anything but plastic or styrofoam-like material. I think this has to do with the toner. Unfortunately, I am unable to do without a printer at this time.

Also, I have never seen yogurt packaged in anything other than plastic and it is a regular staple in our refrigerator that doesn’t have an alternative I can think of.

What lifestyle change(s) might be necessary to reduce my plastic consumption?
I need to pay more attention when shopping and plan ahead.

What one plastic item am I willing to give up or replace this week?
This week I will give up the plastic egg cartons. I get this particular brand because they are a cage free/no hormones/no antibiotics/grain fed, etc. brand I am familiar with. I just have to take a look at the others. I am willing to bet another brand has a similar product in a paper egg crate.

What other conclusions, if any, can I draw?
Many of the quick-grab items purchased for my home are packaged in single-use plastic. If we put a little more thought into the shopping experience, we can probably eliminate most of these non-essential plastic packages. Whether we are taking baby steps or giant leaps we are making a bigger difference than if we do nothing.

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