November 21, 2011

Plastic Challenge: Mary Katherine, Week 4


Is it possible to find cranberries that aren’t in a plastic bag? They’re a necessity for Thanksgiving next week and I didn’t see them at the farmer’s market. I want to try and tackle a plastic free Thanksgiving. I’ll let you know how that goes.

Location:Mountain View, California, United States

Name: Mary Katherine

Week: 4

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…

Mary Katherine’s personal blog:

Total items: 28

Total weight:

Items: Recyclable
Shampoo cap (#5)

I’m putting this in the Preserve bin at Whole Foods. Preserve turns used #5 plastic into toothbrushes.

Items: Nonrecyclable
4 plastic rings from milk bottles (I forgot to add these before because I didn’t realize they were on there. My mum or sister usually open the milk bottles and throw the things away.)
1 plastic ring from half and half
1 plastic ring from heavy cream
2 plastic rings from eggnog… Let me just say if you haven’t tried Straus eggnog you have to. You haven’t lived unless you’ve tried it.
1 ring from plastic jug of raw milk (Still in fridge)
Top of frozen fruit bag that looked like paper but was lined with plastic. Arg!
Plastic fork
Shampoo bottle
Facial wash bottle
2 contact lens packages
“Quality seal” from honey jar
2 plastic rings from tubs of candied cherries and citron
Packet of liquid vegetable boullion (My mum isn’t going to buy that again)
Plastic ring from yogurt jar
Plastic ring from kombucha bottle
Brown sugar bag
Frozen mango bag (I know I said I’d give this up but there was still a bag in the freezer)
Parmesan cheese bag
Plastic wrap from cheese
Tub from sauce I got at the cafeteria
Lens cloth wrapper (I use them occasionally when my phone gets really dirty)

What items can I easily replace with plastic free or less plastic alternatives?
Shampoo. I found shampoo bars at the farmer’s market! They’re way cheaper than the ones from Lush. I’m using a Lush one right now and it’s really nice. I can also give up face wash. I’m using stuff in a bar from Lush. Brown sugar also comes in bulk at Whole Foods.

What items would I be willing to give up if a plastic free alternative doesn’t exist?
Contact lenses. I hardly ever wear them and I find them extremely irritating anyway. I also don’t really need to buy raw milk, but it makes a nice treat once in a while. I also don’t really need lens cloths. I can just use one of my reusable makeup pads and put rubbing alcohol on it. I’m going to use up the ones I have though. I also bought some candied cherries and citron to make a fruitcake. Holiday spirit! It’s soaking in the fridge right now. It’s going to be awesome. Next year I’ll figure something else out though. Those candied cherries are good, but they’re in plastic tubs and laden with nasty chemicals and corn syrup.

What items are essential and seem to have no plastic-free alternative?
Cheese and the plastic rings on Straus milk. I’m going to make art out of them. I think making art out of plastic is a good idea. I’ve seen some stuff about plastic art on the Treehugger app on my phone. I even saw an article on a house made of plastic bottles. That sounded pretty neat.

What lifestyle change(s) might be necessary to reduce my plastic consumption?
I think I need to be more aware. It’s kind of hard sometimes. Sometimes I think I’ve got it down and then I look at the pile at the end of the week and I feel like I’m not trying hard enough. Its unsettling to look at that pile of plastic that’s just from one week… I can’t even imagine how much I’ve thrown out in my entire life. Planning things out helps. And also, some of the stuff in my pile is from way before I started doing this. I don’t even buy some of those things on the list anymore.

What one plastic item am I willing to give up or replace this week?
Brown sugar in a plastic bag. I’ll get it in bulk.

What other conclusions, if any, can I draw?

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