July 23, 2012

Plastic Challenge: DeAna Elwell, Week 1


frozen foods and personal care items seem to be some of the hardest to cut out plastic entirely
deodorant, shampoo (the refillable glass bottle types are sooo expensive!), contact lenses, etc.

Location:Mount Juliet, Tennessee, United States

Name: DeAna Elwell

Week: 1

Personal Info:

I am a Fine Arts teacher in a public high school. I live in my own home with my husband, 2 sons (9 and 11), 3 dogs, 2 cats, 1 guinea pig, several lizards and some fish… Until this first week of collecting, I knew the humans were heavy plastic consumers, especially my boys… but didn’t really notice how much plastic we use for the care of our animals! We are committed as a family to cut down on the initial purchase of plastic items, and we have always been believers in reUSE of items. My boys love getting used toys as much as new ones, and we reuse plastic bottles, cups, etc. in our home and in my classroom.

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

We only stopped at a convenience store twice this week and bought drinks in glass or aluminum, no plastic…

Total items collected: 142

Total weight:

Items: Recyclable
21 of #1 – taken to local plastic recycling center
3 of #2 – taken to local plastic recycling center
1 of #7 (old Nalgene bottle that is no longer safe for use)

14 – yogurt cups are all used in my classroom for paint

Items: Nonrecyclable
plastic wrapping from inside of boxes, lining, pet food packages, frozen food, ziploc baggies, tabs that hold things together – like socks, medicine bottles?

What items can I easily replace with plastic free or less plastic alternatives?
bulk purchase of dog/cat food, large tubs instead of single serve, mayo/condiments in glass containers

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

What items are essential and seem to have no plastic-free alternative?
lots of personal care items, frozen foods and food storage

What lifestyle change(s) might be necessary to reduce my plastic consumption?
less stops outside of home for food or drink

What one plastic item am I willing to give up or replace this week?
sodas – looking into making it at home as a treat, but need to cut it out regardless of plastic containers!

What other conclusions, if any, can I draw?
We, as a family, noticed the most change this week in the little, everyday items that you don’t think of as plastic garbage… like floss picks, individually wrapped string cheese, the bags inside cereal and other food boxes… we need to notice EVERYthing that is plastic, not just the usual suspects.

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