July 24, 2011

Plastic Challenge: Rachael M R, Week 1

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Most of our plastic comes from food packaging – we do buy as much as we can from the local Farmer’s Mkt in the summer and grow some of our own food, but we can’t always afford the store options that are not packaged. We do try to buy in bulk in some items but they still come in plastic – how do we reduce when we can’t afford the other options?

Location:Portland, Maine, United States

Name: Rachael M R

Week: 1

Personal Info:

I am a 38 yr old artist, and stay at home mother of a 1 yr old beautiful clever girl. My husband and I think that we are conscious of our environmental footprint. We are concerned for our health, our babies health and our local impact.

Total items: 43

Total weight: 29 oz

Items: Recyclable
1 lb strawberry container
pint fresh fig container
pint blueberry container
pint grape tomato container
3 baby yogurt containers
1 vitamin D bottle
64 oz juice container
1 lb grocery deli/ olive container
tom’s of maine deoderant

(i did not write down the numbers before recycling, but my community recycles these options)

Items: Nonrecyclable
1 lbcelery bag
2 lb carrot bag
feminine pad bag (plus 18 individual wrappers)
12 pk toilet paper pkg
3-1 lb mushroom styrofoam + pkg
2 plastic 6 pack rings
vit D bottle pkg
1 lb ham slice pkg
1 lb hot dog pkg
12 oz bacon pkg
2 deli bags
3 sandwich size ziploc style bags
2 Lg ziploc style bags
2 milk jug rings
3 grocery bags
paper towel pkg
1 7th Gen diaper pkg
fresh basil bag
2 fresh vegetable bags
1 lb string cheese pkg (with 20 individual wrappers)
1 lb cheese pkg
2 cracker bags
2 plastic wine corks
8 multi vitamin wrappers
1 mandarin orange plastic net bag
2 onion plastic net bags
1 baby wipes refillable pkg
2 pint plant pots with plastic labels
plastic lid for olive oil bottle
plastic lid for red wine vinegar bottle
plastic window in fresh bread bag
2 bread bags
2 store clothes hangers
ipod shuffle usb docker
Birthday balloon
kitchen sponge

What items can I easily replace with plastic free or less plastic alternatives?
I could probably get rid of my baby’s string cheese addiction and go back to just buying blocks of cheese – reducing the packaging. I could try and find a brand I don’t hate of feminine pads that come in more paper options. I could focus on using our cloth diapers more often (I use them about 50% of the time) but then I would just use more laundry detergent (that comes in plastic bottles).

What items would I be willing to give up if a plastic free alternative doesn’t exist?
Not very many. I already buy in bulk, I try to buy BPA free or corn made plastics, I reuse all my grocery bags and ziplocs that I do get.

What items are essential and seem to have no plastic-free alternative?
Since most of our items are food and household help items, I feel that almost all are essential.

What lifestyle change(s) might be necessary to reduce my plastic consumption?
I guess if I totally revamped my life to be self sufficient and grew all of my food, made my own soaps and didn’t rely on any outside foodstuffs. Or if we made a considerable amount more of money so that I could buy food more often, in smaller quantities from local markets without packaging.

What one plastic item am I willing to give up or replace this week?
I will focus on changing my feminine pad brand to a full paper option.

What other conclusions, if any, can I draw?
I think that it is a shame that even organic foods (for which we buy most of our bulk veggies and meat options) come in plastic.

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