June 21, 2013

Plastic Challenge: Jo, Week 1


DSC00384Location:Nevada City, California, United States

Name: Jo

Week: 1

Personal Info:

I am the mother of two sons, eleven and fourteen. Our family of four decided to do this challenge based on my youngest son’s reaction to the movie Bag It.

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

We refused plastic shopping bags, but we already did that. We didn’t refuse anything else because we wanted an accurate baseline of how much plastic waste we actually generate.

Total items collected: 109

Total weight:

Items: Recyclable
yogurt tub #5
chocolate syrup container #7
4 berry containers #1
lettuce container #1
to-go coffee lid #6
gelato tub #1
take-out container #5
take-out container lid #5
milk cartons (I think these are recyclable as paper waste)
ice cream tubs (same as milk cartons)
tuna can (recyclable as metal)

Items: Nonrecyclable
fast food drink containers
produce bags
bread bags
shopping bags
cracker bag
frozen chicken strips bag
cheese bag
chips bags
dog toy
dog pill pockets bag
peanut butter pouch
sausage packages
plastic spiral
lid from coffee jar
pill bottle lid and seal
oatmeal pouches
otter pop
wrapper for coconut water
stevia packet
school folders
mac & cheese pouch
dog flea medicine applicator and package
envelope windows
sleeves for stickers
zip ties
twist ties
squeeze yogurt containers
ziplock bag
seal for yogurt tub
6-pack soda holder
plastic wrap
price tag sleeve
applicator for scrapbooking tape
salami bag
sticker backs
various seals & wrappers
packaging for electronic device

What items can I easily replace with plastic free or less plastic alternatives?
Replace plastic grocery bags with cloth.
Replace flossers with floss.
Replace oatmeal pouches with bulk oatmeal.
Replace packaged meat with deli or meat counter meat.
Replace frozen chicken strips with home-cooked.

What items would I be willing to give up if a plastic free alternative doesn’t exist?
fast food
individual yogurt containers

What items are essential and seem to have no plastic-free alternative?

What lifestyle change(s) might be necessary to reduce my plastic consumption?
Giving up convenience foods is the biggest change which requires both more planning and time.

What one plastic item am I willing to give up or replace this week?
I am going to see if I can have the local ice creamery pack ice cream into my own reusable containers.
My son will switch from flossers to floss.
My other son will use bulk oatmeal.
I will research ways to reduce our junk mail.

What other conclusions, if any, can I draw?

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3 Comments on "Plastic Challenge: Jo, Week 1"

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Plastic-Free Ericka Moderator
Welcome Jo and family! I am thrilled your youngest son felt so inspired after seeing the movie Bag It. Having the entire family involved in reducing plastic waste is key and also, a great learning experience for your two sons. Have you seen Beth’s earlier post on how she acquires plastic free ice cream? Beth found a local ice cream shop where she lives that is willing to fill her container that she brings from home. You can read her earlier post on the topic by clicking the link below.  /2010/02/eating-ice-cream-for-breakfast-plastic-free-zero-waste/ Looking forward to seeing how you and your family… Read more »

Thanks for the link.  I actually did just that–I took a glass container which holds 6 cups to the local creamery.  They did fill it for me, but they didn’t pack it so I don’t think I got the full 6 cups.  And they charged me $18!  My kids go through twice that amount of ice cream every week, so that’s really not a good option.  I think I’m going to buy an ice cream maker and make it myself.

Plastic-Free Ericka Moderator

@jowaters Mmmmm, homemade ice cream, that’s even better! If every company gave discounts to customers who provided their own containers, then more people would be ditching throw away plastic and paper containers. The problem is currently these throw away containers and to go packaging are so cheap to make that businesses like your local creamery don’t feel the need to offer any type of discount.