August 13, 2012

Plastic Challenge: Rhiannon, Week 1


Location:Leeds, United Kingdom

Name: Rhiannon

Week: 1

Personal Info:

I’m a postgraduate student, now living alone.

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

All plastic carrier bags.

Total items collected: 45

Total weight:

Items: Recyclable
Tetrapaks (local collection point): 1 small soymilk, 1 large soymilk, 2 orange juice, 1 pineapple and coconut juice

Through city council kerbside recycling:
#1: 1 pepsi bottle, 1 orange squash bottle, 1 ketchup bottle, 1 Abel and Cole fruit punnet
#2: Cauldron tofu tray (base)

Through Abel and Cole’s collection service:
2 plastic bags from lettuce

Items: Nonrecyclable
film top from Cauldron tofu
wrap from jar top (sweet and sour sauce)
plastic tape from an otherwise all-cardboard Amazon wrapper
plastic tape holding a ‘reduced’ label to the sweet and sour sauce jar
three plastic tabs from Tetrapak tops
three ‘Abel and Cole stickers’ (used to hold their paper bags closed)
plastic bags used to pack worms and their bedding (for my wormery – reducing landfill through indoor composting)
six bottle tops (from the bottles mentioned above plus two glass ones)
plastic netting from onions
wrapper from the next of a glass bottle of soy sauce
five plastic food wrappers (beans, rice, dried cranberries, potato scones, carrots)
one envelope window
medication wrappers (outer wrapper and blister pack)

What items can I easily replace with plastic free or less plastic alternatives?
I’m experimenting with replacing tetrapaks of juice with glass bottles of juice concentrate. There’s still a plastic cap, and it’s relatively more expensive, but it’s less plastic.

Buying my carrots and other fresh veggies from Abel and Cole is usually plastic free or less plastic (and most is recyclable); because this is a delivery service, the trick is to time the deliveries correctly and buy optimal amounts.

I’ve discovered a market stall locally which sells nuts and some dried fruit in paper bags; next time I’m going to the market, I hope to shop there and perhaps ask if they would refill my own containers.

What items would I be willing to give up if a plastic free alternative doesn’t exist?
I’m definitely considering giving up some of the pre-prepared food where I could make my own from plastic-free ingredients – potato scones and sweet and sour sauce were treats this week with an impact on my plastic count.

What items are essential and seem to have no plastic-free alternative?
Soymilk with calcium and vitamins included; fruit juices and other drinks.
The only really plastic free drink is tap water – I’m drinking much more tap water, but it doesn’t disguise the taste of medications or give me any vitamins (or caffeine!).

What lifestyle change(s) might be necessary to reduce my plastic consumption?
Better food planning; more willingness to cook at home.

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

What other conclusions, if any, can I draw?

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