February 19, 2014

Plastic Challenge: Shannon Tempelton, Week 1


One thing I struggle with is the food that I buy that’s wrapped in plastic. I need this food to make meals, and I’m not sure how to substitute these items out to reduce plastic.

Location:Santa Cruz, California, United States

Name: Shannon Tempelton

Week: 1

Personal Info:

I am a 20 year old female. I live with five other girls. We eat a lot of fast food and pre-packaged food, which means a lot of plastic. I think it might also be important to note that I ate Chipotle during the week that I was doing this exercise, and therefore spent a lot of time eating left-overs and thus probably didn’t use as much plastic as I usually would. Also, I am completing this exercise for the Seymour Center docent training.

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

The only plastic I can think of that I explicitly refused this week was plastic water bottles, which I try to use rarely if ever.

Total items collected: 23

Total weight:

Items: Recyclable
. 14 Oz Nesquik bottle- 1
. 2 Grocery produce bags-2
. 18 Oz soda bottle-1
. Chipotle guacamole container-4
Cream Cheese container-5
.16 Oz shampoo bottle-1
. 16 Oz Coffee-Mate bottle-1
. 1 Gallon Arizona Tea-5
. 3 Plastic air bags from mail order-2
I’m not sure how these things get recycled in the community, but I do know that my roommates and I rarely sort through our plastic, and therefore most of the recyclable items probably get thrown away.

Items: Nonrecyclable
. 8 Oz bag of frozen chicken
. Packaging for a laptop case
. 2 wrappers from individually wrapped brownies
. 2 strips of saran wrap.
. String cheese wrapper
.5 random pieces of plastic from miscellaneous packaging

What items can I easily replace with plastic free or less plastic alternatives?
I could use tupperware to save leftover food instead of saran wrap. I could also buy bigger bottles, because I use the smaller ones quickly and therefore must buy new bottles. I could also not use as many produce bags at the grocery store.

What items would I be willing to give up if a plastic free alternative doesn’t exist?
I would be willing to get rid of the air bags and packaging that came in the mail order, but since I am not in control of how things get shipped there isn’t a lot I can do about this.

What items are essential and seem to have no plastic-free alternative?
I cannot think of an alternative to individually wrapped foods, except for packaging them together. However, since I have no control over this and need to buy the food to eat, I am at the mercy of the company.

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

What one plastic item am I willing to give up or replace this week?
I am willing to use less saran wrap and not buy small bottles of soda.

What other conclusions, if any, can I draw?
I should be more mindful of the plastic that I am using, and look harder at the grocery store to see if I can find alternatives.

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