Last week was the first week of my plastic-free challenge. In some ways it was very rewarding to find alternatives to plastics but on the other hand, I was surprised at how easy it is to be a plastic consumer and not even realize how quickly it can add up! Some things I wouldn’t even notice, until my 3-year-old would say, “Uh oh! Mom that’s plastic!” Overall though having my mom visiting, plus my husband, me and my two children -I feel we did pretty good.
What plastic did I consume?
Instead of putting plastic in the trash or what could be recycled, in the recycling bin, I kept everything separate in a brown grocery bag. The image above is what I had and here is a list:
- Yogurt container
- Plastic lid wraps
- 3 banana bags from Costco
- Bag of corn I already had in my freezer
- 3- It’s-It ice cream sandwich bags
- Juice container someone gave my daughter
- Phone charger case
- Plastic spork from my husband’s work
- Salad dressing lid plastic wrapper thing
- A few Emergen-C packs
- Stickers and plastic tags from Ross
- Insurance cards
- Plastic part from envelopes
- Bubble wand found on my porch
- Pasta packaging
- Cold medicine packaging
- Produce stickers
- Bulk section twisties (I’ll be reusing these though)
- Mail package that kept the pro-biotics I ordered online cold.
*Also some snacks and other food related packaging from my in-laws house because we stayed there this weekend…..didn’t think they’d appreciate me going through their trash though. HA!
How hard was it to strive for plastic free?
As you can see by my picture, it isn’t so much that it’s hard to refuse as it is just sometimes not in our control or we would forget. There are quite a few things that I already had in my kitchen before the week started (pasta, frozen corn bag) that I can start to make alternatives for but I wasn’t expecting the plastic on envelopes and then there are kind gestures from people in packaged form (toys, food, etc.)
There was one time I went on a walk unprepared with out my water bottle and my mom and I were so thirsty but I refused to go in a store for a water bottle. If it was in the middle of the day and we were sweating I would have. We weren’t by large stores with drinking fountains, just small ones that would be selling water bottles.
What’s left in my trash can?
I have to mention that I did use a trash can this past week -with a plastic bag cover. I used 4 trash bags for the week and one small bathroom trash bag. Almost everything in my kitchen trash can were food scraps that all could be composted and diapers. My bathroom trash mainly had floss and tissues, which actually the tissues could have been placed in the toilet when we went to the bathroom. Extreme? Maybe. So with this knowledge I’ve thought about alternative ways to reduce my trash bags. Diapers -If I had my own washer and dryer I would do cloth diapers but financially and practicality wise I do disposable. Food scraps- It’s hard to compost everything in an apartment but I am looking into ways I can at least reduce the food that goes into the trash. Floss- I’m also looking into alternatives for disposable floss.
What have I learned so far?
Plastic is so much apart of our everyday life we don’t even think twice. It takes practice, thought, and letting others around us aware. Something I will say though is it is cheaper. When you aren’t buying things in packaging you aren’t paying for the packaging. Bulk is cheaper and since I didn’t buy bread/tortillas in bags, it was cheaper making them too but a little time consuming. I still don’t have a good system down for either of these. Another thing is the closest store that has a bulk section is Sprouts for me and I really wish they had a larger snack selection in the bulk. We don’t need a lot of snacks but sometimes having something convenient on-the-go is nice. Moving forward I am going to look into making more snack, easy to grap, foods. And they’ll probably be a lot healthier too.
I love the comments here or on my social media platforms! Anyone else feeling inspired to minimize their plastic usage? Let me know!