May 2, 2013

Plastic Challenge: Julie B, Week 1


Any suggestions are welcome and appreciated, especially as it relates to sharing the need to go plastic-free with family, friends, and acquaintances without sounding “preachy.”

Location:Denver, Colorado, United States

Name: Julie B

Week: 1

Personal Info:

I am a stay-at-home mom of two school-age children (ages 9 & 11), happily married, and a very active community/school/church volunteer.

Julie Olsen Buck’s personal blog:

List of plastic items REFUSED this week. (Yay!)
This week I tried to consume my “normal” amount of plastic, which has been reduced somewhat over the past year as I have tried to chip away at all our family’s waste in general.

Total items collected: 34

Total weight:

Items: Recyclable
Molded plastic cookie liner; mouthwash bottle; laundry scoop; yogurt container; orange juice carton; plastic liquid medicine measuring cups; take-out bowl/lid; salad dressing bottle; milk top band; brown sugar bag. (Made a list but forgot to record recycling #–not a good reader of instructions!)

Items: Nonrecyclable
Two frozen vegetable bags; frozen French fry bag; plastic wine cork; fruit/vegetable stickers and tags; chicken sausage wrapper; Starbuck’s coffee bag; lightbulb packaging; frozen waffle liner; cereal liner; candy wrappers; tape dispenser; ball of duct tape/packaging tape; cookie package; Girl Scout cookie sleeve; two stray bottle tops; plastic wrap from cheese; inner core from Scotch tape; zipper pull from express mail envelope; Vitamin bottle band from Omega 3’s, box of candy band.

What items can I easily replace with plastic free or less plastic alternatives?
A lot of items listed this week are items that I have already replaced with plastic-free alternatives; however, when I am not organized with the shopping and my husband runs out to grab things at the store, more plastic appears. This was one of those weeks. Easily (and usually) replaced items are: store bought cookies, frozen French fries, coffee bag, salad dressing, frozen waffle bag, brown sugar bag, plastic tape, and packaged cereal. I consume yogurt in a glass bottle (with plastic cap), but I could begin to make my own yogurt. My husband and kids eat a different kind of yogurt packaged in plastic.

What items would I be willing to give up if a plastic free alternative doesn’t exist?
I think most of my items have a plastic-free alternative; however, I am willing to give up almost all the items that do not have a plastic alternative, but some items my family insists on (although I am working on it…).

What items are essential and seem to have no plastic-free alternative?
Essential items include prescription medications.

What lifestyle change(s) might be necessary to reduce my plastic consumption?
Better organization and more time spent thinking ahead for non-plastic options. For me, I know that I need to take time to carefully meal plan and have an ongoing list of needed household items so that I can keep our home stocked with what we need without running out. When we run out and someone else does the shopping, more plastic enters our home.

What one plastic item am I willing to give up or replace this week?
I am personally willing to give up the take-out plastic salad bowl that I order on our almost weekly pizza night. I will make my own salad or eat pizza in a restaurant, where I can eat salad plastic free.

What other conclusions, if any, can I draw?
Plastic is everywhere. It is ridiculous how much plastic we use to eat and run our daily lives. I have also realized that I cannot expect everyone else to get to the same place I am at in thinking about plastic overnight. That being said, I need to be more willing to speak up about non-plastic options with other people.

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