January 26, 2011

Plastic Challenge: Suzanne in Davis, Week 2

Suzanne's plastic waste

Suzanne's plastic waste

Name: Suzanne in Davis, CA

Week: 2

Personal Info:
I work full-time and travel for work occasionally; my husband also works full-time and we have two kids under 6.

I have two photos: one is plastic that represents our chronic uses of plastic. The other is of plastic of a “one-time” plastic — I don’t plan on replacing it, next time I’ll refuse it, etc.

I don’t include plastic that my husband bought and consumed himself or fed the kids while I was away.

In Davis, rigid plastics #1-7 can be put in curbside recycling.

Total items: 38

Total weight:

Items: Recyclable
1. Cetaphil: #2
2. Ibuprofin was #5 & 6.

Items: Nonrecyclable
Photo of “chronic” (clockwise from top)
1. plastic wrap from IKEA (right now I will occasionally buy stuff from IKEA, but have noted how much plastic they use so am mindful about what I buy)
2. birdseed (I don’t have bulk wild bird seed available in my town, will continue to look but not a high priority)
3. kid’s ibuprofin
4. wrapping from a kid’s party “favor” bag (my view is that I will not refuse things offered with love)
5. Perrier bottle cap and bread tie
6. masking tape from bulk buys and random sticker backs
7. envelope plastic (I’ve noted as a future project to figure out where these are coming from and elminate these mailings)
8. super glue wrapping (to fix another item that we didn’t want to throw away)
9. cheddar cheese wrap
10. butter box (still searching for bulk butter – buy Straus b/c it’s local)
11. center — St. Benoit yogurt plastic ring and milk ring.

Photo of stuff I will not replace or refuse next time (top left, clockwise):
1. Crapola of plastic that came with gingerbread house kit. Never again!
2. Wrapping that came with new power cord (next time – refuse and return)
3. 2nd to last wipes container … almost there…
4. Ecover dishwashing tablets (using up my stash, already bought box of 7th gen powdered detergent to replace it with)
5. Tangerine wrapping (next time, will buy loose – this is ridiculous)
6. fruit leather wrapping (more plastic than food! next time will get treat for kids from bulk)
7. plastic card from target that I will refuse next time if offered.
8. plastic wrap on toothbrush from dentist that next time I will refuse
9. balloon that next time I’ll refuse – my kids love them for about 2 seconds
10. Cetaphil – replacing with hard soap with minimal packaging.

What items can I replace with plastic free or less plastic alternatives?
Right now my “reducing waste” focus is on:
(a) relearning to cook for my family with dried beans and only bulk items (this is huge and will take some time).
(b) finding alternate sources for tortillas, bagels and bread.

So I’ve noted future areas of improvement, but they’ll be later…
Aside from the comments in the “one-time” list, I could:
– buy used frames, lamps etc. at secondhand stores with no wrapping (this will be a big lifestyle shift for me so now it’s in the future)
– figure out way to buy cheese without plastic (this is also in future, as will take some figuring out or activism at my store)
– find bulk butter (see above)

What items would I be willing to give up if a plastic free alternative doesn’t exist?
All the items in the “one-time” photo.

What items are essential and seem to have no plastic-free alternative?
For me…
1. ibuprofin
2. birdseed
3. milk jug and yogurt jar rings

What lifestyle change(s) might be necessary to reduce my plastic consumption?
Shopping second hand
Refusing more
Sourcing bulk dairy at a second store or with a higher PITA factor.

What one plastic item am I willing to give up or replace this week?
Finding bagels w/o plastic.

What other conclusions, if any, can I draw?
Going slowly is the key…. taking it one thing at a time.

0 0 votes
Article Rating
Notify of
oldest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments