March 13, 2012

Plastic Challenge: Valerie Teruel, Week 2

Will Aveda accept the flip open lids on all the almond milk/soy milk containers? There is no number on them, but they have the same quality as caps. I’d feel happier being able to recycle at least some part of it.

Location:Chicago, Illinois, United States

Name: Valerie Teruel

Week: 2

Personal Info:

We are a family of four, I’m including all of us, as I’m hoping to raise my children’s awareness at the same time as my own!
Hoping to become a more serious activist once I understand the difficulties of keeping plastic out of our lives.

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

Plastic bags (always, wherever I go) I carry those tiny foldable totes

Total items collected: 32

Total weight:

Items: Recyclable
Peanut butter jar last one!
Tofu container (not the tear off part)
Grapefruit juice ( goodbye yummy drink!)
humus container not lid
Parmesan container
Sprouts container

Items: Nonrecyclable
4x Produce ties plastic label attached
1x Jar wrapper plastic coated
3x lids coated with plastic
6x almond milk containers
McCormick spearmint essence jar and lid
2 cracker wrappers
1 plastic spoon found in my car!
Oreo cookie bag and inside container
1x disposable razor ( vacation emergency!)
6x frozen food bags

What items can I easily replace with plastic free or less plastic alternatives?
I had success replacing plastic wrapped cheese, worth sharing. If you shop at WholeFoods, you can pick up a salad bar container (biodegradable) and take it to the deli section and have them slice cheese for you. I favor the fancy stuff, so the selection is pretty basic, but I was happy to find a way around getting cheese. Warn them ahead of time so they don’t line the tray with plastic film. The store I go to uses wax paper.
The container stayed perfectly clean so I transferred the cheese when I got home. I carefully took the price label off and used the container again this weekend when I bought more cheese.
Hopefully this will go on indefinitely and no one cries out some health violation!

What items would I be willing to give up if a plastic free alternative doesn’t exist?
I’m prepared to give up most items. Nothing seems worth buying unless it is an absolute essential.

What items are essential and seem to have no plastic-free alternative?

What lifestyle change(s) might be necessary to reduce my plastic consumption?
I anticipated spending a lot more time in the kitchen at least 45 minutes, boy was I off on that mark. I spent at least an hour and a half extra every day cooking completely from scratch. Boiling beans, chickpeas etc. When I use up my stash of almond milk I will be making that from scratch too.
This week I’m getting the kids to help me cook, we will either bond and develop advanced cooking skills or drive each other crazy…
Not looking forward to using home made laundry detergent as I remember trying it before and it was troublesome.

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

What other conclusions, if any, can I draw?
I read that we once spent more money on food and far less on health care. Now we spend more on health care and less on food. I have to be prepared to spend a lot more money on food.
I only buy organic so it’s already expensive for us as a family. It will cost us even more but we will benefit more in the long run and at the same time we are being responsible consumers.

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