May 26, 2013

Plastic Challenge: Natalie, Week 3 – 7


Know what I could do with polysterene packaging? Donate to art places? Anything else?

Location:, New Jersey, United States

Name: Natalie

Week: 37

Personal Info:

I’m a young person living with my family after a year of living on my own. I really got excited/upset about the situation with plastic after watching documentaries, especially Plastic Planet, but also Bag It and Tapped. I’m trying to make a difference, but the more I try the more I see plastic and the clearer it becomes that they are impossible to cut out without going totally off the grid. So my real goal here is to have less of an impact, and find ways that work for my life. I am putting a five weeks up together since I’d been saving it all, but I don’t remember all of what I refused and the things that might have been thrown out by others/etc.

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

Coffee Cups, Straws, Containers, Bags…

Exciting: I went to my dad’s house which he is renting out to pick some things up, and I took all of his plastic shopping bags and produce bags. He has saved all his bags (he has tons of ziplock but never buys them), and I always thought it was a little weird, but I think it makes sense to not want to throw that stuff out. My grandma uses the shoppers for trash, so it means being able to not take them when I go shopping (after a while of trying really hard, I had to ask for them again so she’d have enough). And produce bags in our house do seem to be considered superior, so I’m using used ones. I’d rather do it differently, but this is what works.

Total items collected: 135

Total weight: 13.32 ounces

Items: Recyclable
1 soymilk carton
2 blueberry containers (1 or 2 code)
1 bottle lid (looks like water bottle, ?)
1 sage container
14 contact “dishes” – bottom half of individual contact holder
1 Tomato container
1 tofu container (not top plastic)

Items: Nonrecyclable
Plastic top of 1 tofu container, family bought + I ate
9 kale labels (ripped off of twistie which will be reused)
1 tempeh package
1 coffee cup and lid, plus annoying little plastic thing that sticks in the lid so there’s no splash
4 foam containers from groceries, family bought +I ate
teabag package
teabag sampler package (Trying to use up old tea, I don’t feel bad)
2 envelope windows
vitamin neck safety covering
Protien shake package
old piece of duct tape
ravioli package (family bought, I ate alone – need more self control)
spinach bag
wheat thins bag (I helped eat even though I’m not a fan)
14 contacts
14 top foil/plastic seals from contacts package
2 hospital bracelets (saving)
11 individual eyedrops
3 Plastic store tag holders
3 synthetic clothing labels
8 Newspaper bags
1 soy sauce packet from supply in cupboard
plate from cookie
2 plastic lid and container
tissue plastic from top of box
2 straws
knife (I brought container to community day, but put server knife in my pie
broken rubber band
mushroom package
9 probiotic containers
cookie package
2 ricecake indinivid. pkgs (very upset that they started doing this to my fav. carob mint coverd bulk rice cakes. I dont buy them but my mod did and I ate both)
9 loratadine pill pakcage
greeting card package from green store
tissue package (travel pack, just one left from a long time ago)
3 stickeres
olive oil lid
foam security layer from vitamins
2 containers from restaurant (I forgot?)
mushroom label
“1/2 moom something” I don’t know
ring from around maple syrup

What items can I easily replace with plastic free or less plastic alternatives?
most of these, I am trying natural remedies for my allergies.
homemade ravioli for those moments
homemade dipped rice cakes with carob and mint (plus I’m writing a letter)
maple syrup (From massachusetts where my dad lives): I know people who sell it in jars, and they actually ended up giving me a ride, but I didn’t think of it until I’d told my neighbor I was coming to get his. Relationships are important too.
Farmer’s market for greens

What items would I be willing to give up if a plastic free alternative doesn’t exist?
Protein shakes! Really not my thing.
probiotics – i can stick with fermented foods. mm and tasty too.
soy sauce
tea bags (there’s always loose leaf and cloth bags)

What items are essential and seem to have no plastic-free alternative?
sometimes eyedrops, etc.
olive oil – I try to cut down, but I don’t see it going away.

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

What one plastic item am I willing to give up or replace this week?
Whoa, Contacts for sure. They really suck. I had to go to the doctor twice to see if the contact was still in there, take antibiotics because I’d scratched my eye when the lens had slipped out. So I have been looking for frames to get.

What other conclusions, if any, can I draw?
Time to get a notebook. Also, I collected some litter, and I want to carry a bag with me when I do that. I haven’t been including things like that.

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