August 22, 2011

Plastic Challenge: Margaret, Week 7


Location:Tualatin, Oregon, United States

Name: Margaret

Week: 7

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: 30

Total weight: 6 ounces

Items: Recyclable
Curbside recyclable

Honey jar

Other recyclable

Molded packaging from pill cutter
Produce/bulk bin bag – from pre-challenge purchase
Tyvek race bib – the event had a 5k and a mile run, timed so that it was possible to do boths, so they give you a bib for both. I have a large framed map on which I’m placing all my race bibs for display so that’s where the 5k bib that I actually ran is going; the other is to be recycled.
Bakery clamshell – while exploring Market of Choice, I found that they had nanaimo bars at the bakery!

Items: Nonrecyclable
Plastic tape from a box
2 frozen pizza wrappers
2 small bulk bin bags (not as stretchy as grocery bags or regular produce/bulk bags, so I don’t think it’s the right kind for the film plastic recycling available to me)
1 lid ring from something
Lid from glass supplement bottle
2 wrappers from metal tins of VerMints
Popsicle wrapper – from after the 5k race
Netflix envelope seal tape
Wrapper from box of checks
Torn knee-hi nylon
2 fruit leather wrappers
Sugar package (bought pre-challenge)
Wrapper from organic frozen lasagna
Plastic piece from wallet intended for putting between checks when you have carbon copies. I don’t order checks with the carbon duplicates (I write maybe 2 a month, so I can remember what checks I wrote until they show up online.) It was annoying me, so I tore it out of my wallet
Soy crisps package
Package for collapsible laundry hamper – not entirely necessary, but sometimes you just need pretty things to help you form/keep good habits, like not piling up your laundry on the bathroom floor.
Lid from honey jar
Dates package – Dole’s sugar-coated pieces are so much better than the flour-coated pieces in the bulk bins
3 produce stickers/twist ties

What items can I easily replace with plastic free or less plastic alternatives?
I need to freeze some meals so I don’t have to rely on convenience foods like frozen pizza and lasagna when I get busy and stressed.

What items would I be willing to give up if a plastic free alternative doesn’t exist?

What items are essential and seem to have no plastic-free alternative?
Events like the 5k I ran push a lot of things. I declined the goody bag (which did at least come in a reusable shopping bag), but the main packet came with stuff like the extra bib.

Wrapper from box of checks. I only order checks when I move, which I anticipate not happening again any time soon. When I banked at Chase, I was glad they shipped checks in a semi-flat box without wrapping – it was to disguise it from looking like a check box to avoid mail theft, but still, it ended up being more eco-friendly. I’m now with Umpqua bank, which is local to Oregon and California. I was glad that they don’t automatically send a checkbook cover with every order (they asked when I ordered if I wanted one).

What lifestyle change(s) might be necessary to reduce my plastic consumption?
Cooking from scratch and freezing meals.

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

What other conclusions, if any, can I draw?
This was a stressful, busy week. I’d stop by the store on the way home from work to get something quick for dinner, and just not care what I was buying, packaging-wise. Need some long-term planning to avoid stuff like that.

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