June 5, 2011

Plastic Challenge: Danielle, Week 25


Location:, North Carolina, United States

Name: Danielle

Week: 25

Personal Info:

We are collecting our plastic trash for all of 2011. Read about our family on my Week 1 post.

Danielle, Week 1

Danielle’s personal blog: http://itstartswithme-danielle.blogspot.com

Total items: 17

Total weight:

Items: Recyclable
1 sour cream container (#5)

Items: Nonrecyclable
2 milk cartons
2 caps (from cartons)
2 pull seals (from cartons)

From an out of town trip:

1 plastic cup
1 straw
3 condiment size cups
2 plasticware (spoon and fork)
3 cracker wrappers

What items can I easily replace with plastic free or less plastic alternatives?
Everything from the out of town trip.

First off, the plastic cup with straw. We went into this coffee shop and it was so earthy. Had all of this environmental lingo everywhere including selling reusables. I ordered my smoothie (with my reusable cup), everything came on reusable dishes with metal flatware… BUT… my husband ordered my son a milk and it came in the plastic cup with straw!!! ARGH!! Good news is that when we ordered another milk, my husband made sure to request it in a mug.

The small food cups: It was as simple as going to a new place and not knowing they served small items (like coleslaw) in plastic cups.

The plastic spoon: We went to the cutest little old fashioned soda shop. I saw plasticware around the restaurant… but when I requested no plasticware for a salad that I ordered… I got real metal flatware. For some reason, my husband got stuck with a plastic spoon in his coleslaw. And my son a plastic fork in his fruit (thankfully the fruit was served in a really nice glass dish!) We made sure to ask for the real flatware when ordering shakes and said “No straws please.” :)

What items would I be willing to give up if a plastic free alternative doesn’t exist?
Everything listed above. We’re really good about avoiding them locally, but going out of town makes it difficult to know what unfamiliar restaurants use. (AND… it’s even harder when you think you have a place figured out!)

What items are essential and seem to have no plastic-free alternative?
Ok… so milk. I’ve been buying local milk in glass for a LONG time now. A couple of weeks ago, I skipped buying milk because my co-op didn’t get their delivery of local milk. After that initial week, my co-op was informed by the distributer (that delivers the milk) that they would no longer be delivering to my co-op!! BOO! My co-op is working to get local milk back… but in the meantime, I’m stuck with buying the milk in cartons. (yes… I know I can “give it up”… but with my kids not liking homemade almond milk… it’s not an option for us.)

What lifestyle change(s) might be necessary to reduce my plastic consumption?
Make no assumptions.

What one plastic item am I willing to give up or replace this week?
The sour cream lasted us 2 weeks! How is that possible?? Anyway, we won’t be buying it for awhile.

Everything from the out of town trip. All of that was unexpected and really sucks.

What other conclusions, if any, can I draw?
Normally, I would be so bummed about our plastic waste. (ok, I am a little) But, from Thursday to Saturday we took a road trip to Norfolk, VA with our friend Bonnie (www.theplasticocean.org) to visit waste to energy and recycling facilities. It was great having Bonnie along because she gave me perspective. Because of her, I am reminded of all the times we are able to avoid plastic… and how hard we work at it…. and that as much as I’m irritated every time we end up accepting plastic that we’re avoiding it more than we’re getting it. I’m thankful to have her remind me that we’re doing good :)

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