July 15, 2013

Plastic Challenge: Ellen and Pedro, Week 4


week-41Location:, Belgium

Name: Ellen and Pedro

Week: 4

Personal Info:

We are a two people, two kitty household. When we, i.e. the humans, go to work we always take a packaged lunch (paper wrapped) since the veggie options at work are limited.
We shop once every two weeks and we try to never ever throw away food!

Ellen and Pedro’s personal blog:

List of plastic items REFUSED this week. (Yay!)
– plastic bags to pack fruits and vegetables
– prepackaged cheese
– cola bottle –> bought cans instead
– refused all plastic bags offered in shops and supermarket

Total items collected: 39

Total weight:

Items: Recyclable
-2 bottles of milk
-1 cola bottle (left over from the last shopping trip, now we buy cans)
-3 tetrapack

Items: Nonrecyclable
8 yogurt pots + lid foil – unfortunately non-dairy yogurts don’t come in glass
2 packages from veggieburgers
3 packages from bread filling or spread
2 bags of chips
2 containers from vegetables
1 teabag
1 package garlic (little plastic net)
1 package medicine
1 package cookies
1 broken pen
1 plastic straw (came with a drinking carton)
2 luggage tags from the airplane
1 sticky paper to remove cat hair
1 old and worn comb
2 wine bottle corks
2 caps of glass containers
1 label of clothes
150g of diverse plastic packages (19 small items)

What items can I easily replace with plastic free or less plastic alternatives?
milk bottles – we are trying to replace cow milk with soy milk which comes in cartons (tetrapack)
cola bottles – we are buying cans now
teabags – i couldn’t believe it when i opened the package that they are plastic
non-organic potatoes come in carton bags
prepackaged cheese will be replaced with freshly cut cheese if we eat diary

What items would I be willing to give up if a plastic free alternative doesn’t exist?
So far, difficult to choose

What items are essential and seem to have no plastic-free alternative?
period paper…
vegan yogurts, ‘cheese’, bread filling…weird enough all vegan stuff comes in a plastic package

What lifestyle change(s) might be necessary to reduce my plastic consumption?
need to go to more shops to get vegetables in bulk

What one plastic item am I willing to give up or replace this week?
We no longer package our vegetables in the plastic bags provided in the supermarket, we take our own bag and annoy the lady at the cash register with that ;-)

What other conclusions, if any, can I draw?
Seems we took a step back and we actually used more plastic than in our baseline fortnight…and this was just our trash from 10 days. A bit frustrating that we didn’t reduce our plastic although we paid more attention!

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5 Comments on "Plastic Challenge: Ellen and Pedro, Week 4"

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Plastic-Free Ericka Moderator

I also can’t find vegan yogurt in glass containers. I’m in love with this vegan yogurt made from almonds that I found at my local health food store and am desperate to find a plastic free alternative. Making homemade yogurt isn’t always convenient as it’s very time consuming. It is strange that most vegan foods found in grocery stores have so much plastic packaging.

It is so weird indeed! We found that also organic and fairtrade products often come wrapped in plastic in our local supermarket and health food store. Apparently when you do one step towards animal wellfare (like for us drastically reduce our dairy and egg consuption) you set a step towards more pollution.

Plastic-Free Ericka Moderator

@Ellen and Pedro It’s so true! I just read a past blog post by Beth where she talks about organic foods and their plastic packaging, here’s the link in case you’re interested: /2009/06/organic-food-in-plastic-packaging-isnt/
I’m really into fitness and finding healthy recipes and I enjoy watching Youtube videos where people show their “healthy grocery food haul’s” and each time it’s always food that’s plastic laden. I’m still searching for a new Youtuber’s channel that addresses this issue and starts showing “plastic free organic food hauls”.

Plastic-Free Ericka Moderator

@Ellen and Pedro Plastic-Free Ericka Moderator That’s wonderful news about the new store you discovered that has a bulk section!

Plastic-Free Ericka Moderator We actually found a shop that sells all organic food and all in bulk! For the items that are difficult to tag seperately (like tomatoes) they have 100% biodegradable bags. No solution for the vegan food yet though. I will definately read the link you posted.