July 15, 2013

Plastic Challenge: Hanh Pham, Week 5



What’s a graceful way to explain to people at the check out counter at a coffee shop or restaurant that I’m taking the Plastic Free Challenge so if they could refrain from serving me plastic that it would be appreciated?

There’s sushi restaurant that I love, but they use styrofoam containers. I am tempted to boycott the restaurant until they change their practices. I talked to the sushi chef about what he thinks about the future of fish, and he’s concerned. He thinks that the next generation won’t have bluefin tuna to enjoy in their sushi. I want to show the sushi chef a picture of how styrofoam affects the ocean and fish. Got any good pictures? Thanks!

Location:Chicago, Illinois, United States

Name: Hanh Pham

Week: 5

Personal Info:

This is my second go around with the Plastic Free Challenge. Last time, I made it to week 3. I hope I’ll be able to keep tabs on my plastic use for longer this time.

I am super passionate about reducing my waste. I bring reusable containers wherever I dine out so I don’t get non-recyclable plastic… or styrofoam. I bring a stainless steel water bottle and a metal spoon with me. I used to have a metal chopsticks, but they got confiscated at the airport. :(

I live in a 3-flat with my husband, and we don’t have any pets.

Hanh Pham’s personal blog: http://prettydirtyperformances.blogspot.com

List of plastic items REFUSED this week. (Yay!)
I refused buying salad dressing with plastic around the lid. I found one that didn’t have plastic and didn’t have much sugar in it either. Yay!

Total items collected: 6

Total weight:

Items: Recyclable
Spinach container
Kefir container
Peanut butter container
Black plastic lid that my burrito bowl came in. I thought I would get foil… not a plastic bowl.

Items: Nonrecyclable
Plastic packaging from toilet paper
Plastic packaging from balsamic vinegar

What items can I easily replace with plastic free or less plastic alternatives?
Balsamic vinegar – although I find that it’s way more expensive to buy it in bulk than to buy it in a new glass bottle

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

What items are essential and seem to have no plastic-free alternative?
Pre washed spinach
Toilet paper

What lifestyle change(s) might be necessary to reduce my plastic consumption?
Make more of my own food – peanut butter, kefir, etc

What one plastic item am I willing to give up or replace this week?
Kefir – I could eat oatmeal or buckwheat sprouts for breakfast instead.

What other conclusions, if any, can I draw?

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2 Comments on "Plastic Challenge: Hanh Pham, Week 5"

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Plastic-Free Ericka Moderator
Not sure if it’s the most graceful way but it’s so far the only way I can usually get by without any plastic. I start out by first having a conversation with the cashier. I start by asking if there is anyway I can get a drink without any plastic and I let them know in a nice way that this determines if I can purchase anything or not. I usually let the cashier ask me why I wish to not have any plastic and then I gladly explain. As far as photos go, anything associated with the Pacific Garbage… Read more »

Plastic-Free Ericka Moderator Thanks for the tips. I’ll try asking for my food without plastic next time and have the cashier ask me leading questions for me to explain what I am doing.
Thanks for the link on the pics. Wish there was a clear picture of styrofoam in a tuna’s stomach or something like that to make the connection really clear.