January 29, 2011

Plastic Challenge: Sarah Schmiechen, Week 2

Sarah Schmiechen's plastic waste

Name: Sarah Schmiechen

Week: 2

Personal Info:

See my full description in my Week 1 Challenge Post.

Total items: 24-ish

Total weight:

Items: Recyclable
2 milk containers – one cardboard w/ plastic, one all plastic
1 Brita filter (not pictured)

Items: Nonrecyclable
2 produce bags and 1 produce net

8 envelopes with plastic windows

1 oyster crackers bag (my sons, but I had some)

1 toilet paper wrapper

1 bulk Kleenex wrapper

2 plastic wrappings from Kleenex box

1 bulk toilet paper wrapper

several other plastic bags, including large kitchen garbage bags

some plastic packaging from meat (not pictured)

What items can I easily replace with plastic free or less plastic alternatives?
I think I could get Kleenex in all-paper boxes. I’m sure I could do without the produce bags, we’re working on that.

The oyster crackers could be swapped for a different snack.

I’m working on the mail envelopes. I did one last week and I’ll try and do at least one this week.

What items would I be willing to give up if a plastic free alternative doesn’t exist?
This week we gave up our Brita filter. After doing some research into our local water quality, and what the Brita was actually gaining us, we decided to just switch to tap water. Honestly, I’m most happy about not having to fill that stupid thing up all the time. Additionally, when I was researching it, I started a nice little conversation on Facebook with my friends about what they do for drinking water, and why.

I also started using baking soda instead of deodorant. I was skeptical, but it totally works for normal day to day use. I still carry my deodorant with me in case I need it because I’m a little paranoid about being smelly. So far no one has complained. :)

What items are essential and seem to have no plastic-free alternative?
I tried to go to my local co-op to see if there was a plastic free toilet paper option. The Seventh Generation they had also came in a big plastic wrapper, so no go there. Plus it cost me a bunch more.

What lifestyle change(s) might be necessary to reduce my plastic consumption?
Not using garbage bags? Not 100% ready to do that yet. We’re still using diapers too, but hopefully that will be over soon.

What one plastic item am I willing to give up or replace this week?
I’m going to call at least one of the companies sending me mail and get off that list.

What other conclusions, if any, can I draw?
I think we’re doing better this week. The Brita thing was exciting for me, and something I probably wouldn’t have done without the challenge.

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