February 11, 2011

Plastic Challenge: Sabrina L, Week 4

Just this week’s new garbage:
Sabrina's plastic waste

This is plastic already in use in our home:
Sabrina's plastic waste

Name: Sabrina Lutes and family, 2 adults and 1 2-year old

Week: 4

Personal Info:

See full description in all of Sabrina’s posts.

Total items: 48

Total weight:

Items: Recyclable
4- envelopes
1-handful packing beans
1-cup, we asked the server twice to NOT bring this, only to have it handed directly to my two year old (6)
1-milk carton (2)
1-takeout topper, again told the man no plastic, no topper, still got the topper with half my food stuck to it. (2)
1- marinate cup (5)
1-food container
1-toilet bowl cleaning solution (2)
1-applesauce container (2)
2- milk lids

Items: Nonrecyclable
1-diaper. We use cloth, but apparently ran out of clean ones and my husband grabbed the plastic
2- Lara bar wrappers, given to my son
2- meat wrappers
2- cheese wrappers
1- bubble wrap, some tape. These were sent with our water filters, which as you can see were not perfect but amazingly minimal, my husband asked for no plastic
3- cutlery, my husband swears he will wash and reuse, one was my bad because I asked for an ice-cream sample before I realized what I was doing!
3- glass jar labels
2- cereal wrappers
5- razors. Help on this one! My husband has shaky hands, feels like a life hazard with a straight edge, any thoughts to reduce. This waste?
3- emergen c wrappers, bought before, it’s cold and flu season so will go ahead and use em up
1- chocolate chip bag. So praying these come in bulk…:). These were the last of em
1- bubble wand
4- jar lids
3- straws, I don’t use them but some how they just appeared in drinks before we could refuse them or the drinks
1-fig newton wrapper, I tried to avoid this, but my dad left them and it got the best of me!
1- veggie tie, got to get better about seeing these things!
1-toy crayon
1-wrapper for paper towels, haven’t used them in years, had a roll in the closet, somehow they escaped, and now the plastic made it into my stash. Going to send it to 7th generation with a note, perhaps.

What items can I easily replace with plastic free or less plastic alternatives?
Paper towel wrapper
Restaurant stuff, although we tried, I don’t know how to keep the discussion going after my request has been totally ignored?!

What items would I be willing to give up if a plastic free alternative doesn’t exist?
Toilet bowl cleaner
Takeout/ restaurant food

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

What lifestyle change(s) might be necessary to reduce my plastic consumption?
More planning, all this waste that was new was because I didn’t plan things, we had company, ran out of town, I had a class all day….very unusual week. Even though I worked so hard and had so many gains, it was a total backslide and wash. I made muslin bags, took an hour to figure out my small grocers backward bulk system if you bring your own bags, I found someone to fill my containers with fresh meat, got funny looks and blank stares at every request I made to not end up with plastic. We’ve even dropped our trash can size! So lifestyle change will have to be planning, and adding more sizzle to my requests!

What one plastic item am I willing to give up or replace this week?
I’ll make my kid Lara bars so he’ll stop pilfering them from other people!
We won’t eat out until I can get my lines down and am armed with suggestions on how to keep plastic out.

What other conclusions, if any, can I draw?
All my happy dance last week got stepped on this week! Plastic reduction is tough, especially when you talk to people. I got so many “it’s JUST one plastic bag, straw…” responses. I wanted to cry! I’m ready to wear my monkey wrench tee shirt when I go shopping. Must find my happy place! :). It’s worrisome that knowing what we know, we still make a lot of trash. That most people aren’t even aware how quickly it adds up, we weren’t. Luckily my husband reminds me that we are doing it, change takes time. The items and size are falling, I can see it because I photograph on my tile floor. It’s taking a lot less space across those tiles. Thank you for hearing my rant! I’ll stop now.

My Question:
The razors
How do you educate people when they say I can pour your food into your reusable container from our plastic bag? Yes, he was serious! He wasn’t trying to be smoggy, just didn’t get it.

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