September 12, 2011

Plastic Challenge: Ellen Simpson, Week 15

Location:Salem, Massachusetts, United States

Name: Ellen Simpson

Week: 10

Personal Info:

See week seven.

Ellen Simpson’s personal blog:

Total items: 43

Total weight:

Items: Recyclable
Milk bottle (#2)
Contact solution (#2)
2 plastic cups (#5)
3 cat food cans

Items: Nonrecyclable
2 takeout containers
2 ice cream containers
Onion bag
Cap from half and half
Chick pea bag
Funyuns bag
Bacon packaging
Celery bag
4 plant tags
Heartworm pill package
Lettuce tie
Wristwatch packaging
3 bottle caps
Floss package
Magnet from plumber
Package from cocoa
Toothbrush & package
4 sock hangers
3 underwear bags
3 sock bags

What items can I easily replace with plastic free or less plastic alternatives?
Takeout containers — I should not be at the point, anymore, where I am unprepared with my own containers when we go out to dinner.
Onion bag — just buy loose onions. I bought these at a place where loose ones weren’t available, but I could have waited.
Chick pea bag — I can find these in bulk
Bacon packaging — I can buy this at the deli counter.
Floss package — that’s my last one, now I have EcoDent!

What items would I be willing to give up if a plastic free alternative doesn’t exist?
Funyuns — this is from before the challenge. My kids don’t even like them!

What items are essential and seem to have no plastic-free alternative?
4 sock hangers, 3 underwear bags, 3 sock bags — this was part of back-to-school shopping for my two boys. I think this is just how these come.

What lifestyle change(s) might be necessary to reduce my plastic consumption?

What one plastic item am I willing to give up or replace this week?
I blanched and froze fresh broccoli this weekend, so I wouldn’t have to buy frozen, bagged broccoli!

What other conclusions, if any, can I draw?
I was feeling discouraged and overwhelmed by something unrelated to plastic reduction this week, and as a result, trying to live less plastic was overwhelming. The issue wasn’t even that big a deal, in reality (I planted a tree on what I thought was my property, and it turns out it was on the border of my property and my neighbor’s property, so I have to move it, and finding this out involved a somewhat tense discussion with my cranky neighbor), but for whatever reason it FELT like a big deal. I did manage to avoid plastic in ways that I have become used to (I needed brown sugar but didn’t think of buying it because I have become so used to making it with molasses and white sugar), but I didn’t have the energy/drive/desire to go to the co-op for bulk chick-peas, deal with asking the deli/meat counter person for plastic free bacon, etc. I think the lesson I learned from this is that it’s good when I can turn new tasks into habits, because then when my life feels a little out of control, I can stay plastic-less without having to put lots of effort into it.

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