May 2, 2013

Plastic Challenge: Julie B, Week 2


What suggestions do you have for freezing fruits/veggies without plastic bags? Also, does anyone know if you can freeze yogurt? Our summer farmer’s market will allow your own containers for yogurt, but we eat yogurt all year, not just in summer. Thanks!

Location:Denver, Colorado, United States

Name: Julie B

Week: 2

Personal Info:

Julie Olsen Buck’s personal blog:

List of plastic items REFUSED this week. (Yay!)
I refused to-go sushi that is packaged in a plastic container, as well as plastic cutlery (I have a bamboo set that I keep in my purse.) I made sure to buy bulk chocolate chips, cereal, granola, and nuts–all of these are normally in a plastic package of some sort. I refused to buy my kids any more of the single serving smoothies by Odwalla, even though they say they use a “plant bottle.” I did better about remembering my stainless steel mug for tea and stainless water bottle.

Total items collected: 23

Total weight:

Items: Recyclable
Only 8 items were recyclable: 3 yogurt containers, two strawberry boxes, Jif peanut butter jar, syrup bottle, and a plastic container that held candy.

Items: Nonrecyclable
Plastic netting bag from Cuties; cheese packaging; magazine wrapper; wrapper from magnetic strips I bought for a craft project; fruit/veggie stickers; tortilla bag; candy wrapper; liner from box of crackers; Girl Scout cookie liner; Milk tops/seals; plastic seal from glass yogurt container; plastic window from paper bread bag; seal from pickle jar; plastic-lined pasta bag that I thought was paper.

What items can I easily replace with plastic free or less plastic alternatives?
The plastic lined pasta bag could be replaced with the usual box of pasta with small plastic window. Oranges can be purchased bulk, without the netting. I need to ask my mom not to renew the magazine subscription that comes packaged in plastic; I read other magazines from the library. I discovered that I could purchase magnetic strips with less packaging. I can choose a different type of bread from the bakery that is not prepackaged. While I eat plain yogurt from a glass bottle, my husband and children will only eat varieties packaged in plastic, so my selection is easily replaced but not the others.

What items would I be willing to give up if a plastic free alternative doesn’t exist?
As with last week, I am willing to give up Girl Scout cookies and packaged candy (my dad sent a gift box full of many different wrapped varieties that will show up in my plastic count for a while).

What items are essential and seem to have no plastic-free alternative?
Fruit and veggie stickers!!

What lifestyle change(s) might be necessary to reduce my plastic consumption?
I see that I need to continue to do more to limit processed foods in our household. Even though we eat far less than many others, I still see lots of room for improvement. I think I need to focus more on grains available in bulk for our meals, less on pasta, which I cannot find in bulk in my area. I need to a lot more time to meal preparation so that I rely less on convenience foods. Also, I need to get busy in the summer canning and freezing!

What one plastic item am I willing to give up or replace this week?
I am willing to avoid purchasing crackers, and offering my kids some bakery bread instead. I am also going to try making my own soft pretzels to satisfy their carb cravings.

What other conclusions, if any, can I draw?
Don’t assume that everyone knows why you are trying to eliminate plastic or why it is important. Ask them what they are willing to do to help, and look for ways to reduce plastic consumption if complete elimination is unattainable or making them very grumpy! Be grateful for small changes from those around you.

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