May 17, 2012

Plastic Challenge: Christina Nevin, Week 01


Anyone know an alternative to the all-plastic Brita water filters and jugs in the UK?

Location:Slough, United Kingdom

Name: Christina Nevin

Week: 01

Personal Info:

I have my own tiny semi-detached flat, bought because my two best friends live in the flat above me. We do a lot of stuff together, including eating dinner at least once a week. We’re all keen ‘greenies’ and recycle, buy second hand, and shop at farmers markets or organic stores a lot.

I work in London, which is an exhausting 3 — 4 hour public transport commute each day and which sometimes sees me give in to the temptation of convenience food.

No kids, no pets and a constantly-changing death row of pot plants.

Christina Nevin’s personal blog:

List of plastic items REFUSED this week. (Yay!)
One plastic bag for a small bunch of parsley. Plastic cup for ice cream, bought a cone instead.

Total items collected: 67

Total weight: 238 grams

Items: Recyclable
# Item Where Item’s From Recycle #
2 Milk Bottles & Tops 1 Litre Milk 2
1 Yoghurt Container Yoghurt Fruit Corner 6
2 Water Bottles & Tops Spring Water (one reused) 2
1 Packaging Bag 5 Sponge Scourers 6
1 Washing Up Liquid Bottle Washing Up Liquid 2
1 Shampoo Bottle Johnson’s Baby Shampoo 2
1 Conditioner Bottle Johnson’s Baby Conditioner 2
1 Recyclable Water Cup 200ml Disposable 6
1 Sauce Pot & Lid Takeaway Soy Sauce from Wasabi 1
1 Takeaway Tray & Lid Takeaway Meal from Wasabi 1
1 Carryall Bag Bag from Wasabi 1

Items: Nonrecyclable
# Item Where Item’s From Recycle #
1 Card Glue Film Card Attached to Mail
1 Plastic ID Card Backing Mail from The Government
1 Plastic Window Ad Mail from Bank
1 Bubblewrap Envelope Mailed Book
1 Mail Wrapper Jewellery Artist Magazine
1 Mail Wrapper Charity Magazine
1 Packet Wrapper Hygrometer
1 Mail Wrapper Hygrometer
1 Wrapper of AAA Battery for Hygrometer
1 Vegetable Tag Tesco Salad Onions
1 Vegetable Bag Chinese Leaf Lettuce
1 Vegetable Bag Organic Gala Apples
1 Vegetable Bag Fair Trade Bananas
1 Vegetable Bag Fresh Thyme
1 Mesh Bag and Label Sainsburys Clementines
1 Mesh Bag and Label Tesco Organic Garlic
7 Meat Trays Bulk Buy of Duck Special
7 Meat Wrappers Bulk Buy of Duck Special
1 Meat Packaging Bag 6 Glenview Farm Irish Sausages
1 Cheese Packaging Bag Tesco Finest Queso Murcia al Vino
2 Milk Top Seals Milk Bottles
2 Sweet Wrapper Fox’s Glacier Fruits
1 Sample Spoon Kensington Station Gelato Shop
1 Sample Cup Kensington Whole Foods
1 Disposable Lid Coffee from Pumpkin Café
7 Tesco Grocery Bag Groceries Monthly Shop
2 Sainsburys Grocery Bag Lunch Salad & Fruits
1 Blister Pack 1 Week of Prescription Medicine

What items can I easily replace with plastic free or less plastic alternatives?
Fruit, vegetables, meat, milk, yoghurt, bottled water, household scrubbers, shampoo & conditioner, grocery bags.

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

What items are essential and seem to have no plastic-free alternative?
My prescription medicine. It comes in foil & plastic blister packs and isn’t dispensed here in freeform in bottles. That’s four pieces of plastic per month.

Water filters. The water in Berkshire is undrinkable unfiltered — it’s very hard with lots of lime and a heavy-handed dash of chlorine. Yuck.

What lifestyle change(s) might be necessary to reduce my plastic consumption?
A bit more planning about eating breakfast before I leave for work and packing something to eat in the gap between lunch and arriving home.

Most of the plastic I produced is from unthinking habit, I believe. More care in where and what I buy. And remembering to take along my foldup bag!.

What one plastic item am I willing to give up or replace this week?
I have since replaced my handbag water bottle with a steel one, and am using it in transit and at my work desk instead of disposable water cups.

I got the guy at Whole Foods to show me how to use the Tare function on the weighing machine and used a pay-for jar for my fresh peanut butter instead of the free plastic jar. I don’t mind putting a jar in my work bag for when I’m restocking.

What other conclusions, if any, can I draw?
I’m not as ecologically sound as I thought I was!

Also, people package way too much food — notably organic food, which shocked me – in plastic. That in particular is a real ‘give with one hand and take with the other’ scenario.

NB: The meat trays in the photo are fakes because I didn’t want them around as they smelt, even though they’d been washed. But I thought I should have them in there as it was a big part of the plastic haul for that week.

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