November 15, 2011

Plastic Challenge: Kristin, Week 34


The hairdryer I’ve had for close to ten years died on me this week. I’ve bought a new one because air drying one’s hair in a climate that involves snow & a predicted worst winter ever (thanks el nina) isn’t going to happen. Can I just throw it in the trash, or can it be recycled somehow? Where?

Metal furnace filters: we have one that was neglected before we moved into our current home & tried with no luck to unclog it. Disposable, plastic filters were purchased instead as the “permanent filter” could not be washed clean. I feel like we tried everything, but maybe I should take it to a car wash & go at it with the pressure washer? The pressure from the shower head definitely wasn’t enough, and I didn’t think to use the hose on it this summer :(

Location:Prince George, British Columbia, Canada

Name: Kristin

Week: 34

Personal Info:

Couple in Prince George, BC working & attending university plus bunny.

Kristin’s personal blog:

Total items: 30

Total weight:

Items: Recyclable
Plastic recycling is not available in our area, it sadly all goes in the trash.

Items: Nonrecyclable
1. Fruit gummies bag (from camping)
2. Lid to (glass) hot sauce bottle
3. Furnace filter bag
4. Stickers on fruit & veggies
5. Seal from glass jug of goat’s milk
6. Bandaids & wrappers
7. Dish sponge past its prime
8. Stew bison meat package
9. Old shampoo bottle (intended to be reused as part of a bunny halloween costume)
10. Old food container & 2 lids no longer with a mate
11. 3 Yogurt containers
12. Udi’s bread bag
13. 2 fresh herb packages
14. Seal around new container of protein powder
15. 1 vitamin bottle & 3 lids
16. Seal around glass jar of peanut butter
17. Homemade tamales package
18. Salad tub
19. Green bean bag
20. Fedex bag
21. Plastic bag containing items in the Fedex bag
22. Card envelope
23. Straightening iron package (free w.hairdryer)
24. New hairdryer packaging
25. Dead hairdryer (what do I do with this?!?)
26. Smoked salmon package
27. Sticker backing for freezer labels
28. Tortellini package
29. Plastic packaging from fruitcake
30. Olive oil pull tab

What items can I easily replace with plastic free or less plastic alternatives?
-Fruit gummies bag: this could be eliminated in reality
-Lid to (glass) hot sauce bottle: this is a very low plastic option, but I’ll look for one with even less plastic
-Seal from glass jug of goat’s milk: I’ve noticed there’s someone who returns these rings along with the lids to our health food store, so I’m going to start doing the same!
-Dish sponge past its prime: this was a recycled plastic sponge, but surely we could make do on steel wool
-Stew bison meat package: most of this guy’s (farmers market) stuff is wrapped in butcher’s paper, but he was out of the cut that we needed & gave us this.
-Old shampoo bottle: this is OLD; we’ve switched to shampoo bars & love em’!
-3 Yogurt containers: we could be making our own…
-Udi’s bread bag: I can also be making my own bread (but I am doing without generally)
-2 fresh herb packages: I wish we got enough sun to sustain a windowsill herb garden, but we live in a basement
-1 vitamin bottle & 3 lids” all new vitamins we’re purchasing in glass
-Seal around glass jar of peanut butter: this is the best option available to us here in PG, aside from grinding our own. I’ll look into it.
-Homemade tamales package: I’ll inquire as to whether I can order these (farmers market) without packaging
-Salad tub: could be buying heads of lettuce, but they are of lesser quality
-Green bean bag: not available in bulk
-Fedex bag: the online shopping needs to decrease…
-Plastic bag containing items in the Fedex bag:….. :(
-Card envelope: I probably could have settled on one that did not include plastic, but I had a tough time finding one that I liked at all!
-Smoked salmon package: eek, I’ve realized that we gave up packaged fish a few weeks back :( whoops
-Sticker backing for freezer labels: I have a million of these sheets of labels, they’re going to be around for awhile
-Tortellini package: we gave this up a few weeks ago too, I think it was the last one out of the freezer
-Plastic packaging from fruitcake: bought at a Christmas market, it was their only product that was packaged in plastic (mostly canned goods) to maintain freshness. Mr.C’s addicted. I wonder how fruitcakes were handled before plastic was around?
-Olive oil pull tab: This will be the last plastic olive oil container (sadly the jug is plastic too; damn you costco)

What items would I be willing to give up if a plastic free alternative doesn’t exist?
-Dish sponge past its prime
-Old shampoo bottle: we’re totally sold on Lush solid shampoo
-Homemade tamales package: I may not buy these again anyways…
-Card envelope: I should commit to paper only
-Smoked salmon package: I have given this up!
-Tortellini package: this too!
-Olive oil pull tab

What items are essential and seem to have no plastic-free alternative?
-Furnace filter bag:
-Stickers on fruit & veggies
-Bandaids & wrappers: I need a new job that requires no shoes.
-New hairdryer packaging/Dead hairdryer (what do I do with this?!?): unavoidable?

What lifestyle change(s) might be necessary to reduce my plastic consumption?
I have put my list of items I’ve given up in the now 34 weeks of our plastic-free challenge onto my iphone so that I can consult the list at the grocery store. I do review it about once a month, but the fish slipped my memory this week. When we gave up packaged fish I had fresh fish in mind which we can get from our fishmonger, but hadn’t even considered other items such as the smoked salmon we bought this week.

I spent a little bit more on the hairdryer I bought to replace mine that died this week than I normally would have. I’m hoping that I bought a quality appliance that will last me longer than a cheap one would so that I do not have to replace it as quickly.

I also have 2 pairs of work shoes that I need to get reheeled this week rather than buying new ones.

What one plastic item am I willing to give up or replace this week?
We’re giving up two items this week because we slipped up and bought smoked (packaged) salmon.

1. olive oil: totally available in glass only
2. shampoo: we’ve moved onto the Lush solid shampoo’s & totally love them. We should give some as gifts at Christmas now that I think of it…

What other conclusions, if any, can I draw?

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