February 17, 2012

Plastic Challenge: Sara, Week 1

Location:Murrysville, Pennsylvania, United States

Name: Sara

Week: 1

Personal Info:

I’m a single mom with two children ages 5 and 8. I work full time, but telecommute from home 2 days per week. The plastic I collected is for myself and my children, although my children spent 3 nights a week with their dad. We also have a dog and cat.

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

I brought my own bags to the store (when I remembered!).

Total items collected: 30

Total weight: 15.25 oz

Items: Recyclable
2 plastic juice bottles, number 1
3 yogurt containers with lids, number 5
Pecan container with lid, number 1
Strawberry container, number 1
Hummus and pita chips container, numbers 1 and 5
Pasta sauce container, number 4
Pasta container, number 7
Plastic cap, ?
Plastic grocery bags
Plastic bread bags
Parsnips bag

All items except bags are picked up with the trash. Plastic bags are recycled by the grocery store.

Items: Nonrecyclable
Fruit roll up wrapper
Plastic wrap
Plastic wrap for Mochi
Plastic wrap for sauerkraut
Cereal bags
Essence C pouches
Sweet potato bag
Pistachios bag
Pet food bags

What items can I easily replace with plastic free or less plastic alternatives?
I can buy vegetables without the bags. Ditto for nuts.
I can place leftovers in my Pyrex storage containers, rather than wrapping them in plastic wrap.
I can buy juice in glass containers. The better juices seem to come in glass containers anyway!
I didn’t have any empty milk containers this week, but I can buy milk in glass bottles.
Sauerkraut comes in glass containers too. I will look for those next time.

What items would I be willing to give up if a plastic free alternative doesn’t exist?
I bought the hummus and pita chips at work, which I don’t normally do.
I can cut back on the bread. My kids eat it, but I don’t need to!

What items are essential and seem to have no plastic-free alternative?
Not sure if I can give up Mochi, and I’ve only ever seen it in plastic wrap.
I don’t take Essence C often, but it really seems to work!
Cereal. I don’t eat it, but my kids do.
Fruit roll ups, granola bars, etc. My kids don’t a lot of these, but I think it would be hard to cut them out completely.
Pet food bags. I know people make their own pet food. I’m not there yet!

What lifestyle change(s) might be necessary to reduce my plastic consumption?
I could cut my plastic consumption significantly if I bought less prepared foods. But that involves more cooking. I do enjoy cooking, but finding the time is tough. It also requires a lot of planning, which is not one of my strengths!
I need to shop at the food co-op which does not pre-bag their produce, and has items in bulk. The trouble is that the store is not close by to where I live. The regular grocery store is much more convenient. I also need to purchase reusable produce bags.
I’m experimenting with the no ‘poo method and oil cleansing method. I’m not loving either yet, but it’s only been a month. I also tried baking soda for deodorant (great idea from this site) and am finding that it works well! Those all will reduce my plastic consumption.

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

What other conclusions, if any, can I draw?
Yikes. I was surprised at the amount of plastic we use. I consider myself to be someone that cares about the environment. I do recycle whatever I can, but the best thing to do is to not consume the plastic in the first place.

By the way, I’m using my iPad and I’m not able to upload the picture I took. It’s not pretty anyway!

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