November 28, 2014

Plastic Challenge: Raven, Week 1

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The biggest challenge I’m having with the plastic free lifestyle is keeping food fresh without plastic bags. I’m experimenting with different ways of storing home baked bread, but so far, nothing seems to work. Wrapping the bread in a cloth keeps it fresh about three days, airtight bread box, about 5 days, refrigerated bread (wrapped in anything) about 30 hours, but in plastic bag the bread lasts for nearly 3 weeks before loss of texture and/or mold. There must be a non-plastic solution. I’m on the look out for a breathable bread box, maybe something made from wood… or maybe some food safe kraft paper? Adding preservatives to the bread isn’t an option, as it is sourdough it has a decently long shelf life with only flour, water and salt. Any thoughts or solutions you’ve found for bread storage would be great.

Location:  Saanich, BC, Canada

Name: Raven

Week: 1

Personal Info:

Farm girl living on a small 3 generation, family acreage. Interested in pre-industrial food cultures, and all ’round back to the land kind of living. Although there is not a lot of plastic in the rest of my life, food and food related activities seem to generate a great deal of plastic waste – time to do something about it!

Raven’s personal blog:

List of plastic items REFUSED this week. (Yay!)
Plastic grocery bags, plastic bulk food bags (used paper provided), lettuce (because apparently we can no longer buy salad without plastic, when did that happen?), bought my milk in glass instead of plastic.

Total items collected: 40

Total weight: 3/4 pound

Items: Recyclable
Shampoo bottle, rice milk carton.

Items: Nonrecyclable
Binder twine, plastic wrap, tea bag wrappers, envelope windows, wine bottle topper thing, plastic bags, produce bags.

What items can I easily replace with plastic free or less plastic alternatives?
I can use real milk in glass bottles instead of some of the rice milk. Loose leaf tea instead of some/all of the tea bags.

Also, not use a plastic bag for produce.

What items would I be willing to give up if a plastic free alternative doesn’t exist?
Don’t know yet.

What items are essential and seem to have no plastic-free alternative?
Livestock supplies like binder twine and the wrappers for the mineral blocks. I included the livestock supplies in my pile because I raise them for food and fibre which directly benefits me. Going to be talking to the feed shop next week about recycling binder twine.

What lifestyle change(s) might be necessary to reduce my plastic consumption?
My first focus is plastic bag reduction. This means carrying cloth bags with me (not too hard), but also finding ways to shop for bulk foods without plastic. Going to play around with some sewing and knitting to see if I can find a light weight substitute for produce and bulk bin.

I’ve also been talking to some of my regular food shops and they seem receptive to me bringing in my own containers instead of their plastic ones… we’ll see how that actually goes when I try it out.

What one plastic item am I willing to give up or replace this week?
Plastic shopping bags

What other conclusions, if any, can I draw?
With the focus on eliminating plastic shopping bags from my life, I’m actually worried about the garbage collection. In the past they have been very strict about all rubbish being packaged in plastic. Now that we have separate food waste collection, they have relaxed their wording to something like all garbage must be confined. However, wrapping the garbage in paper is technically against their rules as it is mandatory to put all paper in the recycling bin. Now they are thinking of installing cameras and observing what each household bin contains as it dumps it into the truck… This is going to be an interesting challenge to find a plastic-free way to manage our garbage.

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