January 9, 2012

Plastic Challenge: Nan, Week 1


Right now I’m struggling with time and energy to cook and bake from scratch, and also struggling with finding supplements/vitamins (very expensive and some hard to find in glass).

Location:Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States

Name: Nan

Week: 1

Personal Info:

Nan’s personal blog:

List of plastic items REFUSED this week. (Yay!)
Lots of plastic bags (I found I have to be quick to refuses those). Beverage cup at blood center (really had to get inventive to get my tea and cookie there, but I was determined)

Total items collected: 27

Total weight: 3.5 oz

Items: Recyclable
3 plastic bags- one found in kitchen cabinet, one from newspaper and one from work (long story but I’m including it in my tally)- will probably use 2 of these for cat litter so will not recycle, but can bring to local store to recycle
2 medicine bottles- bottoms recyclable #2 in curbside
lid for protein powder cannister- #4, have to bring to local store to recycle
hummus container – bottom recyclable – #4 , have to bring to local store to recycle

Items: Nonrecyclable
6 single tea packages
medicine bottle lids
2 emergen-C packets
1 pretzel package
1 allergy med swap
1 candy wrapper
Bandages from giving blood
tamper seal from protein powder
seal from another protein smoothie pouch
packaging from fire alarm battery
hummus container lid
wrap from flax oil bottle
papery/plasticy wrap around new pillowcases
top of toothpick from sandwich at restaurant

What items can I easily replace with plastic free or less plastic alternatives?
hummus container- I’m learning to make my own
pretzel bag – can buy in bulk. These were leftover from a friend’s party.
tea bag wrappers – I’ve pretty much switched over to loose leaf bulk, but still using up my stash for when I’m on the run.
Emergen-c – can take herbs, vitamin C tablets, eat fruit, etc , but my niece won a year’s supply of Emergen-C (seriously a lot of the stuff) so I have a large stash right now.
Candy wrapper – buy in bulk or make at home (popped this one in my mouth at work and tossed in trash before I realized what I was doing).
Battery wrapper – I know I have seen some batteries in just paper, but I could not find them at 2 different stores). I could move towards rechargeables, but not for the fire alarms.
Plastic bags – I could ask for the newspaper in no bag. I use one or 2 a week right now for cat litter needs. I’m still trying to figure out this one. Kitty uses a pea gravel system where the pee gathers on newpapers below. Some folks with this system flush the poop and compost the paper (the gravel gets washed), but there are issues with that. Sorry if this is TMI.

What items would I be willing to give up if a plastic free alternative doesn’t exist?
new pillowcases – I could buy used, and I probably did not really need them anyway
sandwich toothpick – never even thought of this one so next time I’ll ask for no toothpick

What items are essential and seem to have no plastic-free alternative?
medications (perhaps I could look more into herbal remedies?)
bandage from blood donation (not really sure what this is made of, but seems like plastic). I suppose I could bring a cotton bandage, but I’m not willing to try that one right now
Looking for the willingness to not see protein powder at essential, which I know it really is not.

What lifestyle change(s) might be necessary to reduce my plastic consumption?
cook from scratch more
become more willing to ask for no plastic and be mindful of this.

What one plastic item am I willing to give up or replace this week?
hummus container

What other conclusions, if any, can I draw?
Strangely I found myself lamenting over being seen as a ‘freak’ for asking for no plastic, and hauling jars around, etc.

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