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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2 Comments on "Plastic Challenge: Christina Nevin, Week 01"

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Hi Christina,
It’s a bit of a different thing to Brita but maybe something like this would suit you:
My boyfriend just bought the tap version but they have a nice looking metal bottle too. I think (don’t hold me to this) you change the filter after 1600 litres and its just a small thing. There’s no fridge style jug though.
Good luck!

If you want to be rid of peanut butter containers, it is the simplest thing in the world to make your own.  I bulk buy salted peanuts, put them and olive oil into the food blender, and blend them to the consistency I want – tastes much nicer than bought stuff!  You decide how crunchy or how smooth by the length of time blending, and the amount of oil you use.
Good luck.