July 12, 2012

Plastic Challenge: Marianne Davis, Week 3


I’m looking into how I can put pressure on city managers to ban plastic bags and styrofoam containers…Any ideas?

Location:Saint Paul, Minnesota, United States

Name: Marianne Davis

Week: 3

Personal Info:

My husband and I live in the city, no kids or pets, and are actively working to reduce our waste while also transforming our yard into a vegetable garden.

List of plastic items REFUSED this week. (Yay!)

Coffee cup lid – but of course the server forgot, went to put it on, then remembered and threw it in the trash. Good lord…

We also switched from milk cartons to glass milk bottles. Expensive, but worth it.

Total items collected: 83

Total weight:

Items: Recyclable
2 bottles of tonic water
1 milk carton

Items: Nonrecyclable
2 power bar wrappers
1 Ben & Jerry’s container
1 styrofoam Dixie cup
1 plastic tub of organic home waxing kit with plastic spreading knife (don’t buy it – total waste)
1 broken plant pot
1 Bob’s Mill package
11 Orbit gum wrappers
2 Seed Savers packets (gift from a friend)
1 tube of toothpaste
1 dental tape container
1 pill bottle
5 make-up boxes (At first thought they were just paper product, then noticed just how shiny they were)
2 lamb packages (our farmers’ market supplier only works out of the freezer – looking for a new source that’s also local and organic)
1 mailer window
1 expired debit card
1 used razor blade with plastic casing
1 piece of wrapping tape
39 hard candy wrappers
6 miscellaneous pieces of plastic wrapping, sources unknown.
Cap of cream container (glass bottle)

What items can I easily replace with plastic free or less plastic alternatives?
Pretty much all of them.

What items would I be willing to give up if a plastic free alternative doesn’t exist?
Once we’ve used up our last coupon for Ben&Jerry’s we will stop buying ice cream and cartons and either make our own, or get ice cream cones.

What items are essential and seem to have no plastic-free alternative?
Debit cards…for now. Dental tape, prescriptions, toothpaste…

What lifestyle change(s) might be necessary to reduce my plastic consumption?
I feel like much of our changes now are “tweaking,” which is great… but I also see a lot of challenges ahead.

I’m feeling very passionate about this cause, and looking into how I can put pressure on city managers to ban plastic bags and styrofoam containers…Any ideas?

What one plastic item am I willing to give up or replace this week?
This weekend we are going to buy a SodaStream Penguin with glass carafes to replace our tonic water bottles, which should reduce the plastic from G&Ts by 95%. As I mentioned above, this week we switched from milk cartons to glass bottles.

What other conclusions, if any, can I draw?
This was a big week for us in many ways – our plastic consumption was way up from the first two weeks, but we are also making some significant changes.

One epic fail this week: I was so proud that I ordered a bunch of cheese-making supplies in bulk – less expensive, will keep in the freezer, and I figured it also meant less packaging… but that wasn’t the case. Today I received a box with no less than 48 plastic bags in it – 45 of them were small zip-lock bags each holding 5 packets of cheese starter.

Really? They couldn’t consolidate? Ghrrr…

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