March 20, 2011

Plastic Challenge: Laura in Maine, Week 4

Laura's plastic waste

Name: Laura

Week: 4

Personal Info:
See full description in Laura’s Week 1 Plastic Challenge post.

Total items: 42

Total weight: 11 oz.

Items: Recyclable

Items: Nonrecyclable
top to raisins box
lid to broken reusable/disposable Gladware bowl
vacuum pack for smoked salmon
Oreo package
instant soup envelope
Crasins bag
egg noodles bag
soy milk carton
wrapper for Parmesan cheese
produce stickers
sticker from pickle jar
seal to cottage cheese
ziploc bag
15 Lindor chocolate wrappers
cat litter bag
2 plastic tags for dog treats
envelope window
itunes gift card, partly chewed by dog
part of package for sore throat lozenges
wrapper for toilet paper
5 zip ties from new snow shoes
toothpaste tube
bubble mailer sealed with plastic tape

What items can I easily replace with plastic free or less plastic alternatives?
raisins should be available in bulk

I found a guy at the farmer’s market that has made Parmesan. I’kk try that when our current block runs out.

What items would I be willing to give up if a plastic free alternative doesn’t exist?
the Oreos! I bought these for my partner to make do-it-yourself YoCrunch (those single serve vanilla yogurt cups with an additonal plastic cup of crushed Oreos on top). This was supposed to be money saving and plastic saving but what happened was we ate a lot of Oreos.
The sore throat lozenges didn’t really help. I was just sick and wanted to feel better.
The chocolates (15 of them!) were part of a Valentine’s gift.

I bought organic cotton produce bags (Ecobags) on eBay and requested as little plastic as possible in the packaging. I got a note saying “Thank you for trying to reduce your plastic use.” and a bubble mailer sealed with plastic tape. *sigh*

What items are essential and seem to have no plastic-free alternative?
The paper instant soup bag is lined with plastic. I have started making my own with chicken buillon and the egg noodles in the bag which is less plastic but still plasticky.

What lifestyle change(s) might be necessary to reduce my plastic consumption?
My plan to try using cloth in place of some toilet paper is progressing very slowly. I am only trying it in one of the bathrooms and I am not quite happy with the storage solution yet but I’m working on it so I’ve reduced my t.p. usage a little bit. I don’t want to make changes that are so big that I can’t keep doing it.
Between my new handerchiefs and all those cotton cloths I’ve reduced my tissue usage to almost nothing. :)

What one plastic item am I willing to give up or replace this week?
I am switching from the World’s Best Cat Litter to Shweat Scoop. I’ve tried it before and don’t like it as much but it comes in a paper bag and as a bonus is cheaper.
The litter bag was more than 25% of my plastic weight this week.

What other conclusions, if any, can I draw?
Even though my numbers look big (11 oz. and 42 items) I feel okay about them. The cat litter bag was more than 25% of my plastic weight this week and I’ve replaced it with plastic so it won’t be a problem again. 15 of my 42 items were chocolate wrappers that I didn’t buy for myself so they are unlikely to repeat. I feel like I’m getting a better handle on where it’s all coming from and how to avoid some of the more obvious stuff. Plus my sourdough bread came out really well and this week I’ll try to make granola bars.

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