October 25, 2011

Plastic Challenge: Mary Katherine, Week 1


Where can I find plastic free buttermilk?

Location:Mountain View, California, United States

Name: Mary Katherine

Week: 1

Personal Info:

My name is Mary Katherine and I’m 16. I live in Silicon Valley, California. My mum is pretty environmentally conscious and she raised me to be like that too. My mum taught me that I don’t need tons of stuff to be happy. Except books… This week I happened to have a couple of unfortunate plastic situations. My mum’s boyfriend brought home Chinese takeout and there was haagen dazs in my freezer.

Total items: 14

Total weight:

Items: Recyclable
3 yogurt cups (#5) and one plastic drinking cup (#6)

Items: Nonrecyclable
Buttermilk container, blueberry bag, ice cream container, piece of plastic from top of chia seed bag, plastic wrap from nasty muffin, plastic straw, plastic spoon, popsicle wrapper, chinese takeout container, plastic tartar sauce cup from a restaurant (I forgot to keep it so it isn’t in the picture)

What items can I easily replace with plastic free or less plastic alternatives?
I could carry a glass straw with me. I could also make my own yogurt. If my mum ever buys a new ice cream maker I could make ice cream. I’ve done it before and its just as good as haagen dazs. I could also buy fresh fruit and freeze it for smoothies instead of buying stuff in plastic bags. I could make popsicles too, but I don’t eat them that much.

What items would I be willing to give up if a plastic free alternative doesn’t exist?
Chia seed. It lasts a really long time, but it still comes in a plastic bag. Even though its really good for you, I guess I don’t really need it. I have a big bag right now so I don’t have to worry about it for the time being.

What items are essential and seem to have no plastic-free alternative?
Buttermilk… It comes in a plastic lined paper carton. I make sour cream and ricotta cheese out of it. I know you can make buttermilk out of milk and vinegar for baking, but for sour cream and ricotta cheese you need the right cultures so it doesn’t work. I tried it. It was a sad situation. But at least I’m not throwing away sour cream tubs and ricotta cheese tubs.

What lifestyle change(s) might be necessary to reduce my plastic consumption?
Packing an adequate lunch so I don’t have to buy nasty food wrapped in plastic at school.

What one plastic item am I willing to give up or replace this week?
Plastic utensils. I’ll carry metal ones from home with me.

What other conclusions, if any, can I draw?
The plastic wrapped chocolate muffins at Foothill College are terrible.

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