Show Your Plastic Challenge: Week 4

WEEK 4 SHOW YOUR PLASTIC CHALLENGE

TOTAL – 60 PIECES, 1 LB 9.6 OZ
Our ugly evidence…
As I was contemplating my post for this week I realized that some of  you might be questioning my motive for undertaking this project. Why would anyone want to go to such effort to rid their life of something so pervasive & convenient as plastic? Some of our regular blog visitors may already be aware that Amanda and I (along with our three other siblings) lost our dear mother almost two years ago to primary progressive multiple sclerosis. She died only two weeks after her 50th birthday. She was a lively, loving woman who inspired everyone around her.

Why do I mention our Mother in this story?

She grew up during her childhood in the Love Canal subdivision in Niagra Falls, NY. For those of you who aren’t aware Love Canal was built on top of a toxic waste dump. While I cannot state that our Mother’s disease was a product of her childhood exposure to the toxic chemicals that surrounded her, I certainly question its involvement. It is obvious that we are a product of our environment. At the time of our Mother’s diagnosis, we had already been educating ourselves for some time on the benefits of healthy lifestyle choices: organic and whole foods, locavore eating, green living, homesteading, simple living. But his was the straw that broke the camel’s back. It sent me into a mode of questioning everything.

Who says that plastic was safe?

What impact will chemicals continue to have on my family? While I realize that many factors are out of my control – plastic consumption is one factor that can be somewhat controlled. Is ANY plastic really SAFE? While there is much debate on this subject, there exists a plethora of convincing evidence that shows, in even food grade plastics, toxins leach into our food. Think of these terms: BPA (bisphenol A), Phalates. Where does most virgin plastic come from? Fossil fuels. I don’t want my children becoming a product of someones experiement. An experiment that is later found to be harmful to its subjects. A discovery that would come too late. Therefore, I have chosen to become a mindful plastic consumer and limit NEW plastic purchases in 2013.

PLASTIC FREE PROGRESS:

  • Completed the Grocery Substitution from Beth Terry’s book Plastic Free – How I Kicked the Plastic Habit and How You Can Too with ideas for plastic free substitutes of my top 13 grocery items. See my completed Grocery Substitution worksheet.
  • Finished week 2 without store-bought dog food
  • Implemented two plastic free changes from the Grocery Substitution Worksheet: bread and cereal/granola. I felt brave enough to finally go without my gluten and soy free convenience foods and attempted the different task of learning how to bake again – this time, GLUTEN FREE. As I start to build a new collection of dependable gluten-free recipes I’ll share them with you.
  • This week our waste is turning from convenience foods to more basics. I traded in my olive oil plastic container that I’ve been reusing for several years (YUCK!) for a repurposed Spectrum canola oil bottle. I buy my oils in bulk from Azure Standard by the gallon and refill my bottles. The bright-colored alluring plastic packages are almost non-existent in our pantry as of this week.

GOALS:

  • Write to one company and suggest positive changes to reduce or eliminate plastic in their packaging: Frontier Coop.
  • Grocery Substitution Worksheet: Research a local source for milk and cheese to eliminate plastic packaging.
  • Grocery Substitution Worksheet: Make homemade gluten-free crackers.
  • Locally Grown Farmers Market Trip: Bring my own containers and make a plastic free statement to market manager.

Remember we are what we eat and sometimes that might mean chemical toxins from our plastic environment.

Comments

  1. says

    What an inspirational challenge you have taken on, with a touching back story. I am so sorry to hear of the loss of your mother, but I think you are honoring her memory in a wonderful way that can make a huge impact on society. I will following your progress and taking notes!

    • Jen says

      Thanks, Sarah. I’m excited to have so many people as excited about this challenge as I am. I hope you find some helpful tips that you can feel comfortable implementing.

  2. Lori G says

    What would your suggestion be on what to use when Freezing bulk? Although I have gotten better by not reheating freezer storage containers in the microwave (I reheat on the stove now). When I make soups, spag. sauce, BBQ or bake large portions of meat dishes…..and with only 2 in my house…..I freeze smaller portions for meals ahead. I started doing this years ago because it came in handy not only because it was cheaper per serving cooking in bulk, but on Meeting nights, Assemblies or Conventions nights not having to cook, but just reheat.

    • Jen says

      I freeze my extra servings in glass, lidded jars. The trick is to remember to pull it out of the freezer to thaw in sufficient time. You can reuse glass jars from other things like sauces, peanut butter, jelly, etc. or use canning jars. Either work fine. Remember not to subject your glass to drastic temperature changes or your delicious creations could be ruined by the glass jar breaking.

      Leftovers frozen in glass jars can be a life saver on those long, long days or tired evenings. Glad to hear that you’ve given up using plastic containers to reheat in the microwave.

  3. says

    Sounds like you are making some good progress! We have an olive oil store in our area where we can purchase glass bottles and then bring them back to be refilled.

    • Jen says

      It’s wonderful to have access to such stores that provide things such as honey, peanut butter and oils in bulk. That helps to drastically reduce the plastic consumption. Think of the size of each of those bottles. That’s it good reduction of packaging!

  4. says

    Great challenge. Most of our food is imported (Living on an island) and we have a very short growing season…Only 3% of the food in our province is local. I grow everything I can in summer, but we are stuck with so much plastic in winter, it’s crazy, even though we eat 100% organic. I usually reuse what I can but it still eventually ends up in landfills and the new corn based bidegradable “plastics” are from GMO corn so it’s not much better – if any. Even waxed brown paper has petrolium wax. So hard to find safe products with safe packaging.

    • Jen says

      Living on an island does pose a interesting twist to living plastic free. There’s several things that we can all do no matter where we live: (1) use reusable bags, (2) carry a reusable water bottle/mug (3) reduce or eliminate one time use convenience items. It sounds like you’ve already conquered these basics. Great job!

    • Jen says

      I’m thrilled to hear your comments, Shannon. I’ll be posting an update every week. I look forward to hearing everyone’s comments & ideas each week as we continue our journey. It’s all about the journey.

    • Jen says

      I think I’ll take some of my containers to farmers market to have growers reuse before recycling. Reduce, repair, reuse and last recycle. Thanks, Krystyna!

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