December 3, 2014

Plastic Challenge: Maryam Majidi, Week 1


What can we do to reduce plastic waste from beauty and personal items? How about waste from foods like chips, yogurt, milk, etc. that aren’t easily packaged/transported in other materials or can’t be measured and bought by putting them into non-plastic containers brought from home?

Location:  Antioch, CA, United States

Name: Maryam Majidi

Week: 1

Personal Info:

Hello! I am a 19 year old female living with my mother and father. I don’t have any siblings so I don’t have to share much at home otherwise I would have much more waste if I was sharing things with them. My mother is a traditional woman that cooks at home and rarely eats food from outside so that eliminates a lot of her waste because I found that a lot of my waste comes from quick-to-grab foods or junk food since I go to school. My dad is out most days repairing houses. He eats outside a lot and buys things to install in the houses so I’m not sure how much plastic waste he probably generates. He takes a lot of water bottles for sure.

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

I wasn’t too conscious of refusing while doing this challenge this week. I also wanted to see how much I would normally be generating.

Total items collected: 41

Total weight:

Items: Recyclable
Dole juice bottle #1
Crystal Geyser water bottles (6) #1
Bolthouse Farms beverage bottles (2) #1
Fanta soda bottle #1
St. Ives Timeless Skin moisturizer container #5
Chobani Greek Yogurt single serve cups (6) #5
Taco Bell Cheesy Fiesta Potatoes styrofoam container with lid #6
Taco Bell drink lid #6
Marinela Canelitas cookie wrapper #5

To tell you all the truth, I don’t really know how these items get recycled in my community or in any community. I only have a vague understanding that there are different types of plastics that probably have different compositions and melting points and that’s what I always believed happened to most plastics.

Items: Nonrecyclable
Plastic bags from stores and Taco Bell (5)
Mini M&Ms, Butterfinger, and Reeses wrappers (3)
Trader Joe’s blueberry cereal bar and organic pumpkin toaster pastry wrappers (2)
Trader Joe’s sliced colby jack cheese wrapper
Curn-Nuts wrapper
Taco Bell plastic fork, wrapper, straw, and quesadilla wrapper
Dawn Paratha wrappers (this is a frozen ethnic-type food) (3)
3-pack AA batteries wrapper

What items can I easily replace with plastic free or less plastic alternatives?
The plastic bags could have, and should have, been replaced with reusable shopping bags. The water bottles could have been replaced by a single refillable water bottle. All of the junk food (Taco Bell and anything else that had a wrapper) could have been avoided and replaced by healthy foods that I could prepare at home. I like the Bolthouse beverages but I think it is possible to replace them by making your own at home with a juicer.

What items would I be willing to give up if a plastic free alternative doesn’t exist?
I would give up the junk foods because they aren’t good for me either and I would be doing the earth and myself a favor by cutting those out.

What items are essential and seem to have no plastic-free alternative?
I didn’t include a milk gallon because it’s still not empty but as I mentioned before, I’m not sure what the alternative for that would be.

What lifestyle change(s) might be necessary to reduce my plastic consumption?
I need to start eating more healthy, carrying a refillable water bottle, and using reusable shopping bags.

What one plastic item am I willing to give up or replace this week?
Water bottles will be replaced with a refillable water bottle.

What other conclusions, if any, can I draw?
I think the transition to a completely plastic-free life will take some time but there are things that should be done immediately to reduce the amount of disposable plastic I use in my daily life. Eating more healthily has been a goal of mine for a while but I haven’t been steadfast about implementing it. The plastic-free life is a life with many benefits and I really hope that more people comply to it after realizing the harms of plastic. I also hope that I will be able to stick to it because sometimes it is hard, although not difficult, to break routine.

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