August 28, 2011

Plastic Challenge: Margaret, Week 8


Location:Tualatin, OR, Oregon, United States

Name: Margaret

Week: 8

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: 69

Total weight: 25.6 ounces

Items: Recyclable
Curbside recyclable

Cookie dough container
Iron supplement bottle (lid non-curbside recyclable) – last blood test was improved, and as I continue to work on my diet this will hopefully cease to be a necessity.
Conditioner bottle (lid non-curbside recyclable) – working on alternatives to this.
Vegetable broth aseptic container

Other recyclable

Lid for cookie dough container
Molded plastic from package of velcro – for a sewing project.
Molded plastic from package of nail files – bought 8 or 10 years ago, put the last few remaining nail files in a bathroom drawer
Blueberries pint container – received in Organics to You box.
Starbucks cup – from a work meeting.

Items: Nonrecyclable
2 Subway drink lids and straw – if I eat there, I drink directly from the cup, but these were bought for dinners on the way home from work.
1 straw wrapper – 2 straws, 1 wrapper: I noticed some taller straw wrapped in paper instead of plastic. I guess they’re for a larger size drink, but it worked just fine for the normal size drink.
1 Subway bag
Starbucks lid and straw
6 lid security rings – one from a spice bottle, one from ice cream, and the others I haven’t the slightest idea.
Window from french bread paper bag
“Packing list” plastic envelope – from OfficeMax package – I ordered a year’s supply (to get free shipping) of Ever-Green recycled toilet paper in 12-pack cardboard boxes!!!! But I don’t know why this packing list thing was there. It wasn’t even attached to the outside of the shipping box, just sitting inside the box. Why couldn’t they just toss the invoice directly into the box?
Package of dates used up
Package of powdered sugar used up
3 envelope windows
Netflix envelope seal strip
Lint roller sheet
Near East rice seasoning mix (paper lined with mylar)
2 packing labels backing from packages received
Papa Murphy’s pizza wrapping – dinner for a lazy evening
Insurance card – we switched health insurance companies at work
VerMints wrapper
Seventh Generation toilet paper package – last one! Now using Ever-Green – see comment above.
Food Should Taste Good tortilla chips bag
Couch cover packaging
2 pieces of packing tape
5 sheets of that styrofoam-fabric-type packing material from bench packaging
8 bags from bench packaging
Sticker backing from felt feet for bench
13 pieces of styrofoam from bench packaging

What items can I easily replace with plastic free or less plastic alternatives?
Pretty much all the food-related items

Toilet paper packaging! Found Ever-Green recycled TP online in a cardboard “dispenser” box. It’s designed like a fridge pop can dispenser, so you don’t have to reach a whole 10 inches into the cupboard to grab a new roll. Weird gimmick, but if that’s what it took to get rid of the plastic, great!

What items would I be willing to give up if a plastic free alternative doesn’t exist?
Subway :( Eating in doesn’t create too much waste, and I can avoid plastic by not getting a lid/straw or chips. But to take out I have to not get a drink.

What items are essential and seem to have no plastic-free alternative?
I bought a to-be-assembled entry way bench. That’s the styrofoam, bags, plastic-fabric-stuff (anyone know what that’s called). I did try to look for used furniture, but didn’t find anything in what I considered to be a reasonable amount of time. I guess I can contact them to suggest that molded cardboard packaging that I’ve been seeing more often lately.

Iron supplement – I’m improving my diet so I don’t feel the need to take general supplements, but I do have iron deficiency, so this specific one is necessary.

What lifestyle change(s) might be necessary to reduce my plastic consumption?
More planning, less laziness.

I’m having a game night next week, for which I usually have cut veggies, chips, ranch/dip, and some kind dessert, often from a boxed mix. Not a super huge amount of waste, but some, and mostly plastic. I’m planning a similar menu but vegan and next-to-no waste. I’ll have a blog post about it afterwards.

What one plastic item am I willing to give up or replace this week?
Not get food for dinner on the way home from work – Subway, Papa Murphy’s, etc.

What other conclusions, if any, can I draw?
When things get busy and stressful, I revert to old habits.

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