January 29, 2011

Renee in Oregon, Week 2


Renee's plastic waste

Name: Renee

Week: 2

Personal Info:
I live on the Oregon Coast four blocks from the ocean where I walk on the beach daily. I am saddened by all the plastic on the beach so am taking steps, starting with me… I am a married female artist who works at home. We have one dog.

[See Renee’s Week 1 Challenge Post.]

Total items: 11

Total weight: 4 1/8 ounces

Items: Recyclable
All pictured currently gets recycled in my community. The produce bags I will reuse until they no longer serve.

Items: Nonrecyclable

What items can I easily replace with plastic free or less plastic alternatives?
Using up items from before starting challenge. I am able to buy pasta in bulk. In this small community sometimes finding carrots in bulk are a challenge. Depends on time of day and week but since they keep well, will stock up next time I see them.
Need to start requesting plastic free shipping when ordering online.
Art supplies can be a problem. I could stretch my own canvas to save on the shrink wrapping that is used with each individual canvas. At this time, it is more expensive to stretch my own canvas which at the moment I can’t afford but I am putting that as a priority as soon as I can.
I haven’t found a source for tempeh that doesn’t have plastic involved. I have never looked into making my own. I will do that but suspect it may be hard to do at home, unlike tofu.
I am looking for an alternative fire starter. This is the first time we have had to use them. The house we are renting has a cranky stove which we need to use for heat. The starters are used in addition to recycled newspaper and wood kindling. They are made from fatwood. Perhaps can find it in bundles instead of bags.
Did buy tofu in bulk this week so no plastic tubs!

What items would I be willing to give up if a plastic free alternative doesn’t exist?
brown rice cakes. I can find an alternative to those. I haven’t seen rice cakes in anything but plastic.

What items are essential and seem to have no plastic-free alternative?
I am concerned about my contact lenses and solution bottle. Glasses don’t work well for me for long and the ones I wear when I take the contacts out have plastic lenses. If they were made of glass they would be too heavy due to the prescription strength! Any suggestions are welcome.

What lifestyle change(s) might be necessary to reduce my plastic consumption?
Basically old shopping habits. I need to bring awareness when shopping and think about alternatives to items when purchasing.

What one plastic item am I willing to give up or replace this week?
The fire starter we use when the current one is finished. I will look for a better alternative.

What other conclusions, if any, can I draw?
I know that it will be a few weeks before the items with plastic that I had on hand before starting the challenge will be used up. It also make take a bit of time to find replacements and alternatives. It is worth it though. I am reminded every day when I take a walk on the beach!

Leave a Reply

4 Comments on "Renee in Oregon, Week 2"

Notify of
EcoCatLady (AKA Rebecca)

I’m seething with jealousy about the wood stove. I’ve always wanted one of those to cozy up to on cold winter nights. OK… given my history with combustion, it’s probably a really bad idea, but I still want one.

And to add to your rueful chuckle, the other day I announced with glee that I had ordered some reusable sinus “nose cones” to use instead of breathe right strips. Without missing a beat, my boyfriend asks: “Do you have to boil those?” I’ll never live it down, NEVER!

Beth, thanks for the comment! I had a good chuckle at Rebecca’s post on flaming Diva cups. It was a rueful laugh as I am guilty of similar crimes. I once melted a tea kettle but I blame an unfamiliar electric stove! And, let’s just say I am glad my stainless steel tea kettle doesn’t fit into the microwave and leave it there. I use Swissper cotton swabs and suspect that this is what Rebecca uses too. They cost more as they are organic cotton and they come in a cardboard box. I suspect my plastic tally will vary for… Read more »

We also have the “fatwood in a bag” problem. I haven’t seen fatwood bundles but I have seen it at Lowe’s in a box instead of a plastic bag. Our local hardware store also carries wax firestarters with embedded wood chips and wick and these are sold loose. We think the fatwood works better.

Renee, you are doing an amazing job. I too wear plastic glasses. Glass would be very heavy and thick. But my feeling is that it’s more important to focus first on the disposable plastics. I’m glad you can get tofu in bulk. I could too until just recently. Whole Foods and Berkeley Bowl in my neighborhood just suddenly stopped selling it. I smell something fishy going on because they have a new supplier. I’m going to look into it. I don’t know anything about making tempeh. I do know all about starting fires, just not on purpose. See my comment… Read more »