December 27, 2011

Plastic Challenge: Mary Katherine, Week 9


What do you do when you visit friends and they produce plastic waste when they make food for you? Do you suggest plastic free alternatives or do you keep quiet?

Location:Mountain View, California, United States

Name: Mary Katherine

Week: 9

Personal Info:

I’m Mary Katherine and I’m 17. I live with my family, and I’m trying to throw less plastic away. I think eventually I can eliminate plastic from my life. (Except retainers and glasses.) This week I visited my friends so I have a lot of stuff on the list that I wouldn’t normally have. I didn’t collect any stuff or refuse their food while I was there because I thought that would be rude.

Mary Katherine’s personal blog:

List of plastic items REFUSED this week. (Yay!)
Plastic water bottles
Plastic produce bags
Plastic shopping bags
Several tasty things at Whole Foods
Goji berries in a plastic bag
Hemp seeds in a plastic bag
Black sesame seeds in a plastic bottle (Wow, by now you’re probably thinking I eat really really strange food.)

Total items collected: 26

Total weight:

Items: Recyclable

Items: Nonrecyclable
Here’s the list of stuff from when I was visiting my friends:
1 liner from gingerbread cake mix (not pictured)
1 milk ring (not pictured)
3 tortilla chip bags (not pictured)
1 bag from bean sprouts (not pictured)
1 candy wrapper (not pictured)
1 soymilk juicebox (not pictured)
1 straw (not pictured)
1 straw wrapper (not pictured)
2 wrappers from dried wood ear mushrooms (not pictured)
5 tofu boxes (not pictured)
2 pasta bags (not pictured)
Here is the list of the stuff from after I came home:
Electric toothbrush packaging (My sister gave me an electric toothbrush for Christmas. Maybe she’s trying to give me a hint…)
Plastic window from pasta machine box I got for Christmas
Plastic packaging from digital kitchen thermometer I got for Christmas
2 plastic bags from fruitcakes I was storing in the fridge
2 milk rings

What items can I easily replace with plastic free or less plastic alternatives?
Obviously, I didn’t need to keep the electric toothbrush. But my little sister bought it for me with her own money. If I had returned it my whole family would have thought I was a total jerk. So I’m going to use it and try to make the head last as long as possible. I’ll only use the electric brush in the morning. I’ll use my Preserve toothbrush at night.

What items would I be willing to give up if a plastic free alternative doesn’t exist?
Electric toothbrushes. They’re not necessary, and my dentist uses one to clean my teeth every six months anyway.

What items are essential and seem to have no plastic-free alternative?
Milk rings

What lifestyle change(s) might be necessary to reduce my plastic consumption?

What one plastic item am I willing to give up or replace this week?
I found a recipe for tofu! I’m really excited because I haven’t cooked with tofu in over two months. I bought the soybeans today and right now they’re soaking in the fridge. If it turns out I’ll put the results on my blog.

What other conclusions, if any, can I draw?

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