July 17, 2011

Plastic Challenge: Margaret, Week 2


Location:Tualatin, Oregon, United States

Name: Margaret

Week: 2

Personal Info:

I live in an apartment with my cat. We’re in a metropolitan area outside the city, that’s not really suburbia, but not really urban.

Margaret’s personal blog:

Total items: 77

Total weight: 21

Items: Recyclable
Curbside recyclable

2 gelato containers
Earth Balance tub
Hand wash bottle (sans pump)

Other recyclable

Cup and lid from Starbucks
2 gelato container lids
Tofu package
2 tiny ziploc bags
Wet cat food container
Plastic bag from shipping box
2 bubble mailers
Individual dressing bowl
3 temporary planters
Earth Balance lid
Supplement bottle

Items: Nonrecyclable
3 Luna bar wrappers
8 lint roller sheets
3 cheese slice wrappers and package wrapper
5 lid plastic rings – 2 from gelato, 3 from supplements
Straw from Starbucks
Tape from box my composter came in
10 various shipping and product labels
3 envelope windows
Toothpaste tube
Wrapper from frozen pizza
2 foam things covering bottles underneath lids
Small bubble-wrap bag
“Packing list enclosed” plastic envelope
Bandage wrapper
Advertising postcard
Lettuce twist-tie type wrapper
Fruit leather wrapper
Theft-deterrent strip
4 plant ID stakes
Plastic-coated twist tie
Take-out box and 2 straws
Disposable wine glass
Dry cat food bag
Potting soil bag
(Not shown) 2 grocery bags to dispose of cat litter

What items can I easily replace with plastic free or less plastic alternatives?
Bubble mailers – I really don’t online shop as much as it appears from my weekly tallys! I go through a month or two a year where I shop a lot, and then it’s much less the rest of the year. But I need to be more specific asking sellers on etsy and ebay to eliminate plastic in the shipping materials. Amazon, though, seems to be doing a really good job. The last few shipments from them have had paper for the padding.

I’m going to try using bar soap for toothpaste.

What items would I be willing to give up if a plastic free alternative doesn’t exist?
Now that I’ve used up the tub of Earth Balance, I’m using olive oil butter (freeze olive oil until solid, then store in the fridge, it will have a margarine-like consistency). For baking I’ll probably use Earth Balance sticks. I assume the wrappers have some plastic in them, but less than the tubs.

Wet cat food in the foil-lid single-serving containers. The main part of her diet is raw foot that comes in tubs like margarine tubs. They’re better since the one container lasts about a week and I reuse them a lot for storing food and craft projects (plus the raw food is waaaaaay healthier for her).

What items are essential and seem to have no plastic-free alternative?

What lifestyle change(s) might be necessary to reduce my plastic consumption?
Work more on making time to cook from scratch, and not rely on frozen foods so much.

Get up more courage to refuse plastic items. For example, the wine glass from the work event. First, I’d like to get involved with the events committee to prevent stuff like that in the first place, but I also need to refuse to take it and explain why. There were also cheap plastic noisemakers at that event (it was to announce promotions), and I did refuse to take one of those, saying “I don’t want plastic”.

What one plastic item am I willing to give up or replace this week?

What other conclusions, if any, can I draw?

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