May 2, 2013

Plastic Challenge: Julie B, Week 3


I already choice out of catalogs/junk mail through Choice, but what do you do about the Presorted US Standard junk mail including local merchants? I received two mailers from a local jeweler packaged in plastic sleeves. Also, does anyone know of any cough drops NOT packaged in plastic?

Location:Denver, Colorado, United States

Name: Julie B

Week: 3

Personal Info:

Julie Buck’s personal blog:

List of plastic items REFUSED this week. (Yay!)
I bought green tea and lentils in bulk and found a small bottle of ketchup in old-fashioned glass. I used my stainless water bottle at a Chipotle instead of getting a plastic-lined cup and used my bamboo To-Go ware instead of a plastic fork. I also let my kids have Izze’s in a glass bottle instead of milk in the little plastic-lined carton…going to work on ALWAYS having a water bottle along for them, too…not just me.

Total items collected: 28

Total weight:

Items: Recyclable
Veggie broth carton; two deli salad takeout containers (This was fantastic–my husband brought them home and asked for ideas about how to get the deli he frequents to be more sustainable–I suggested he bring his own container and he agreed!); sugar sprinkles/cookie decorations containers; single-serving plastic milk jug my son bought with his bagel;plastic lid from glass milk bottle.

Items: Nonrecyclable
Frozen waffle sleeve; buffalo meat packaging; Styrofoam takeout container; dried apricot bag; seal from glass bottle of yogurt; plastic window from bread; tea bag wrapper; plastic shoelace package; fruit and veggie stickers; cough drop bags; sour cream lid liner; two plastic envelopes from junk mail; candy bags; plastic rings from six pack of beer; lollipop stick; plastic top; Starbucks bag.

What items can I easily replace with plastic free or less plastic alternatives?
I still need to make waffles and freeze them to avoid having my husband buy frozen waffles, which he loves. Tea, coffee, and dried apricots can be found in bulk–usually I buy these in bulk, but we are using up plastic items that we had hanging around. I should take my own takeout container to avoid plastic/Styrofoam. My daughter could look for unpackaged shoelaces and delay instant gratification. Glass beer bottles or canned beer by the case do not have plastic rings. Veggie broth could be made from scratch (easily–just have to make time). My son can drink from a water bottle and avoid milk in a plastic bottle. I can purchase buffalo from the deli counter, where it is wrapped in paper/waxed lining or bring my own container if they will accept it (sometimes they do, sometimes they don’t).

What items would I be willing to give up if a plastic free alternative doesn’t exist?
I am willing to give up most things in plastic; however, as I account for my family’s plastic consumption, as well, there are some things they may be unwilling to give up. They are catching on, though, and maybe they will be willing to give up some plastic items that they think they “can’t live without.”

Also, communication is key: my husband brought home dessert from a nice restaurant for me when he was dining out for work, which was very thoughtful, however the cake was in a Styrofoam takeout container! I told him that next time, he could just skip bringing dessert home for me, but I would still know he was thinking of me.

What items are essential and seem to have no plastic-free alternative?
What do you do about sour cream? This is not necessarily essential to life, but it seems essential when you are making Mexican tacos, burritos, etc.

Fruit and veggie stickers!

Plastic tops and seals for glass jars.

What lifestyle change(s) might be necessary to reduce my plastic consumption?
Again, making sure I don’t run out of our bulk staples and anticipating needs (such as buying fig bars in bulk, when I know my husband loves those for long bike rides). Choosing to take the time to make things from scratch.

What one plastic item am I willing to give up or replace this week?
I am willing to replace any packaged meat with deli counter alternatives.

What other conclusions, if any, can I draw?
Even if I think I am making better choices, there is still just too much plastic. I am irritated, especially, at the fruit and veggie stickers. I need to spend a day making stock, baking, and coming up with plastic free meal plans!

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