August 2, 2011

Plastic Challenge: Margaret, Week 4


If there is any toothpaste out there that isn’t in a completely plastic tube? Actually, I’d settle for a natural toothpaste that isn’t in a box – completely unnecessary packaging around a self-contained product like a toothpaste tube.

Toilet paper – I’ve seen commercial settings, including my work, where the toilet paper is set out unwrapped and I highly doubt the janitorial staff is unwrapping it. But all the bulk TP in cardboard boxes online is apparently intended for resale and individually wrapped. I’m not convinced individually paper wrapped rolls is better overall than the largest possible plastic wrapped package. But at the very least, I did find a 12-pack in a cardboard box on Office Max’s website. As awkward as it’d be, maybe I’ll contact the janitorial dept at my work building to inquire. Anyone work in that sort of setting and know about sources?

Location:Tualatin, Oregon, United States

Name: Margaret

Week: 4

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: 47

Total weight: 14

Items: Recyclable
Curbside recyclable

Seventh Generation dish soap bottle (the lid isn’t recyclable)

Other recyclable

2 plastic bags/covers from the dentist visit (see other items in the nonrecyclable section)
Film packaging covering a bottle of liquid iron supplement. This also had a cover underneath the lid. Why do they use both of these on the same bottle? I really think one or the other would suffice to prevent tampering.
2 prescription bottles
Mini chocolate cake container – the most embarrassing part of this challenge isn’t revealing how much plastic I waste, but how much junk food I eat.
2 pieces of bubble wrap
One of these was around a Hotjo stoneware travel mug
The other was around a bottle of Priti soy nail polish remover
42 feet! of Fill-Air packaging – this was in a box from Amazon with the Hotjo mug and Feline Pine cat litter (ordered before I realized this litter was available at the Cat Adoption Team’s store). All my recent packages from Amazon used paper for cushioning, so I was very disappointed to see 131 inflated cushions in this box. They have a take-back recycling program, so I’ll mail them back, as well as submit some negative feedback to Amazon.

Items: Nonrecyclable
Bib, small package, cushion-thingy, 5 nozzle-type items, and syringe from dentist visit.
3 lid rings
Cover underneath lid of iron supplements
2 lids from aseptic containers – almond milk and tomato soup. These may or may not have been in the fridge since before I began the plastic challenge…
2 lint roller sheets
Used razor blade from Preserve razor. I’ve now switched to a metal safety razor
Desert Essence teat tree blemish stick
Mascara container used up
3 Luna bar wrappers – I think these were the last of my pre-challenge purchase. Now I need to get around to making some homemade snack bars.
Fruit leather wrapper
Cheese packet from Annie’s Organic mac & cheese
2 Top Ramen packages – again, embarrassing food choices.
Assorted produce and shopping stickers
Envelope window
Dropper/lid and sticker from a glass bottle of dandelion/milk thistle prescribed for my cat a couple months ago.
Packaging from 12-pack of toilet paper
Wrapper from a metal tin of VerMints – these are available at Whole Foods and are awesome!
Lid from aforementioned dish soap bottle
Island Way sorbet wrapper – these are cute individual servings of sorbet packed in actual fruit shells. I had this while visiting relatives.

What items can I easily replace with plastic free or less plastic alternatives?
Dish soap – I’m going to use Dr. Bronner’s bar soap. Why is my mind trained to think dish soap must be liquid?

What items would I be willing to give up if a plastic free alternative doesn’t exist?
Snacks/dessert at relatives’ houses

What items are essential and seem to have no plastic-free alternative?
Dentist stuff. It does seem like a lot of the stuff lends itself to reusable items that could be sterilized, but I understand the hazards this is meant to protect.

Iron supplement and prescription bottles

What lifestyle change(s) might be necessary to reduce my plastic consumption?
Spend more time to find local sources instead of ordering online.

What one plastic item am I willing to give up or replace this week?
Luna bars. :( I don’t plan to buy any more.

What other conclusions, if any, can I draw?

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