May 28, 2010

Rebecca in Vancouver, Week 1

Rebecca's plastic waste

Name: Rebecca

Week: 1

Personal Info:
Vancouver, Canada. Two people – one part-time, one full-time working

Total items: 19

Total weight:

Items: Recyclable
1. An ice cream cake container that we brought to our friend’s house and shared in the benefit (Not pictured)

Items: Nonrecyclable
1. Styrofoam base – it has a #6 recycle symbol, but our curb-side program does not take them
2. Cling wrap over styrofoam
3. 2 creamer containers from cafe – I thought these were recyclable but there is no number
4. Tea bag package – has a shiny layer that I think is plastic
5. Straw
6. Stick from a q-tip
7. Seaweed package
8. Wrappers from pollock sticks
9. Butter wrapper – not sure if it contains plastic or not
10. Net bag from onions
11. 3 rings from lid seals of bottles still in use
12. 2 apple stickers
13. Grocery bag we reused as a garbage bag (Not pictured)

What items can I replace with plastic free or less plastic alternatives?
1. Cake container – bake a cake instead of buying one – though ice cream is hard to source plastic-free
2. Styrofoam and cling wrap – make my own dim sum buns instead of buying packaged ones
3. Creamers – say no to plastic in cafes as they must have a bigger jug of cream somewhere
4. Tea package – try to source tea loose-leaf in tins
5. Straw – say no to straws!
6. Net bag – buy onions in bulk with my own bags
7. Apple stickers – look for apples without stickers, maybe at farmer’s market

What items would I be willing to give up if a plastic free alternative doesn’t exist?
1. Pollock sticks for making California rolls – guess we can create a new roll if we can’t find a way to source pollock with no plastic

What Items are essential and do not have a plastic alternative?
1. Butter wrapper – I bake a lot to cut down on packaged foods. Haven’t seen an eco-friendly wrapper for butter yet.

What lifestyle change(s) might be necessary to reduce my plastic consumption?
I’ve been trying to reduce my plastic consumption for a little while now. The hard part is thinking ahead to refuse plastic that people may bring you, like straws and cream containers. The other change is trying to buy less convenience foods when you are hungry and tired.

What one plastic item am I willing to give up or replace this week?
I am giving up onion and potato bags and buying in bulk now.

Are there any other conclusions I can draw?
Reducing your plastic consumption can be pretty easy, but it takes awareness. You first have to realize how much you’re consuming and where plastic hides, before you really figure out how to cut down on it. That’s why this challenge is a great exercise!

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