August 8, 2012

Plastic Challenge: Christina S., Week 2


I haven’t figured out how to replace hamburger buns, blocks of cheese, Parmesan cheese, vegetable oil, and dish soap.

Location:Los Angeles, California, United States

Name: Christina S.

Week: 2

Personal Info:

I work full-time as a public health nutritionist. Married with a 3-year-old child. We share a household with my father-in-law. I enjoy cooking, reading, running, traveling, and spending time with my family. I was inspired to join the plastic-free challenge after reading Beth Terry’s wonderful book!

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

Nothing really, just made different choices while shopping.

Total items collected: 34

Total weight: 1.064 lbs

Items: Recyclable
Milk carton #2
Parmesan cheese bottle #1
Barbeque sauce bottle #1
Ginger snaps tub #1

Items: Nonrecyclable
Bag from Trader Joe’s almonds
Bag from TJs cashews
Bag from TJs prunes
Cheese bag
Heavy cream carton
Almond milk carton
Toilet Paper 12-roll packaging
Plastic ring from oatmeal canister
Lid from my first glass milk bottle
Dried beans bag
Cereal box liner bags (2)
Wheat thins bag
Hamburger buns bag
Bread tie from the hamburger buns bag
Craisins bag
Weekly newspaper bag
Mailer padded with bubble wrap from my shampoo bar (I complained to the company)
3 envelope windows
Clif bar wrapper
Luna bar wrapper
Tie and tag from bunch of kale
Plastic fork
Packing tape from Seventh Generation toilet paper and from an order of dishwasher detergent
Plastic bag wrapping from stainless steel travel mug
2 plastic bags from ???

What items can I easily replace with plastic free or less plastic alternatives?
I really could have done without that plastic fork, but I thought my son would need it to eat the fruit salad we shared while at a meeting. Turns out he preferred using fingers!

Most of these items have already been replaced by lower-plastic alternatives, but I’m still finishing up my stockpiles from the pantry. It’ll be a few more weeks before my family goes through all our crackers, boxed cereal, and personal care items.

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

What items are essential and seem to have no plastic-free alternative?

What lifestyle change(s) might be necessary to reduce my plastic consumption?
figure out make even more foods from scratch- like hamburger buns!

What one plastic item am I willing to give up or replace this week?

What other conclusions, if any, can I draw?
It’s going to take a long time to get plastic out (or mostly out) of my life. I’ve been a coupon shopper for years, with my husband now in his 7th year as a full-time grad student and our household living on 1 income. I stockpiled items like cereal, graham crackers, bags of rice, toothpaste, shampoo, etc. when I could get them for 75%-100% discount (yes, I have a huge pile of toothpaste and toothbrushes I got for free!) using sales and coupons. Gradually, as we finish up all these items, we’ll see the results of our changes. I’ve made huge changes in my shopping and lifestyle over the past 2 weeks, and right now, discouraging that my plastic waste is only slightly less this week.
The other realization is that, despite making more foods from scratch, like baking my own bread, other expenses, like milk in glass bottles, bulk bin nuts, dried fruits, oats, etc. are increasing and I think my grocery and personal care budget is going to increase somewhat.

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