June 2, 2009

Vanessa in Vista Week 1


Show Us Your Plastic Trash Results Questionnaire

1) Week #1: May 11th to 17th

2) Name: Vanessa Farmer


3) List of Recyclable Items 

None :( only #1 and #2 are curbside recyclable in my area. 


4) List of Non-recyclable Items
package from ramen noodles and sauce packet
tahini tub #5 plastic
1 fed ex bubble envelope from shipment of new moto renew phone(phone itself is made from recycled plastic)
1 plastic baggie from charger for phone with a bit of tape
2 small grocery bags from taco bell
1 plastic plate and lid
1 paper food envelope with plastic window
1 salsa cup with lid #5
4 plastic lids and 4 plastic straws
1 plastic film wrapper to new twist brand sponges
1 plastic wrapper from top of wine bottle
1 ice bag
1 asparagus tag
1 plastic twist cap from soy milk
1 inner plastic seal from soy milk (often times save these and use them as cat toys, they love them)
6 hot sauce or bbq sauce packets
1 gallon zip lock bag that appeared out of cupboards, hubby probably finished something
1 fig bar snack tray
1 container of turtle food no recycle number on it so I just toss it


Lid from turtle food (reused as an animal food dish)
3 fast food cups (reuse in garden, for watering or cut bottoms off and use to start seedlings)
cottage cheese tub (reuse in garden use as pot)
2 produce bags (will be reused for cat litter collection)
2 bulk item tag/clips (will reuse for next purchase, i always say that and always forget them and get new ones but i have not thrown any away in a long time)

5) Total number of items

6) Total weight of plastic stash (if you are able to do this)
Don’t have a scale
7) Tally analysis 
What items could I easily replace with plastic-free or less plastic alternatives?
Tahini is available in glass and if I purchase it again I will buy it in glass. 
I am trying to get my husband to stop buying bags of ice at the store but I can’t seem to find ice trays I like.  We don’t have a full size fridge, it is just a big smaller but there is not shelving in the freezer so it is hard to have the room to make ice and I also can’t find ice trays I like.  The classic plastic ones I have are “shedding”, bits of plastic is left in our ice. I want to pick up some silicone ones but I can’t find any in the local stores.  
I also need to get myself some reusable bags for the bulk foods at the store and actually remember to reuse the tags. But then I would have to take bags every once in a while for kitty litter.  Haven’t found an alternative to plastic bags for nightly cleanings of the kitty boxes that works for me. 
Things like the sponge wrapper and package from the phone are not usual things, I actually won the phone and besides the bag it was shipped in there was very little plastic.  The wine wrapper was actually off an old bottle I have been reusing for iced tea and I am not a big wine drinker at all.
What items would I be willing to give up if a plastic-free alternative doesn’t exist?
I don’t like to eat so much fast food and often don’t get a drink because the cups are plastic but it is one of those things we do when pay day is looming but we don’t have enough money to go for a full grocery store run, a lot of times the food is bought for us by my MIL.
How many of these items are from “convenience” foods that could be made from scratch with less packaging but might take more time to prepare?
25 are from fast food. 2 pieces from top ramen, not something I tend to eat a lot of but something we sometimes buy and put in the cabinet so when we are lazy and/or broke we can eat something. I recently bought myself some miso paste and although it is in a plastic bag it will last me FOREVER and will easily replace top ramen for me, it tastes so much better and I would assume is a bit healthier.  And of course there is the bag from the ice that I am working on.  
What items are essential and seem to have no plastic-free alternative?
The turtle food is a must, I wish I could get them to eat greens like adult Red Eared Sliders are suppose to but they were raised on this stuff before I “rescued” them and they won’t even eat another brand that is in a #2 plastic bottle. The soy milk cap and seal too are essential, I use it for my morning coffee, every brand sold in the stores is in similar packaging.  
What lifestyle change(s) might be necessary to reduce my plastic consumption?
I need to get on finding myself reusable bags for bulk items and an ice tray I can rely on. The store with bulk bins doesn’t have any sort of system for reusable bags/containers so I need to find something light weigh.  I do reuse the same paper bag they supply for their bulk coffee and I get weird looks because it is so crumply after being used for the past 6 months so it will be interesting to see how they react to reusable bags for bulk items.  They do give a discount for each reusable shopping bag you use but I don’t think I’ve seen anyone ever use their own bags for bulk or even produce.  
What one plastic item am I willing to give up or replace this week?
Besides the fast food there isn’t much that is a normal occurrence or easy to replace. 
What other conclusions, if any, can I draw?
I really need to cut back on fast food.  I have been consciously trying to reduce my plastic consumption over the last few years and I actually feel very little guilt over this exercise because I thought I used a lot more plastic than this.  
8) Personal description 
I am 29 (although only for another month) married woman who lives in Vista, north of San Diego, California. My tally includes things me AND my husband went through at home.  So the fast food cups were only half consumed by me personally, but if we have fast food we usually both get a drink or both don’t get a drink and sometimes we share drinks. So it is the whole households plastic consumption. We don’t have any kids but we do have a lot of pets, 2 cats, 2 water turtles, 1 box turtle, 1 tarantula, 1 frog, 1 skink, 2 snakes, and 5 goldfish. I have a much much more detailed listing for this week on my blog mudpuddle, I actually tracked ALL my trash for this specific week! That was enlightening. 
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