Show Your Plastic Challenge: Week 6

WEEK 6 SHOW YOUR PLASTIC CHALLENGE

 TOTAL –  52 PIECES, 1 LB 4 OZ

Week 6 Plastic Waste

After 6 weeks I feel a sense of, umm,  not of failure but of disappointment. With expectations set high I wanted to see significant change by now. I’ve been working to hard to ensure that my bread is homemade, we do without conveniences, sourcing plastic free food locally, etc. Yet why do I not see a change in the amount of plastic consumed? Each week there is a new hurdle to jump over or through. Do I feel pulled by alluring packaging? Less work, immediate gratification. Wow advertising does a doozy to our minds! Remember… life style change.

I’m still determined to keep treading water to prevent this plastic sea from swallowing me!

This week we welcomed a few laying hens to our flock and as a result were in need of cedar shavings for our chicken house. Ordinarily I would pick up a big plastic wrapped bale of shavings from the feed store. Here in North Central Arkansas we are surrounded by logging companies and tree mills. As I was driving through our town one day, on the same route I always drive, a light bulb came on. Why do I pay some unknown company across the country to ship plastic encased cedar shavings to Walmart or the feed store when I drive by a cedar mill everyday?

The answer can be summed in one word – CONVENIENCE.

When we go to big chain stores it’s a one stop shopping experience. They have programmed our brains to believe that every need can be met within the four walls of the megaplex SUPERSTORE. It’s funny, I’ve hardly been in those stores lately. They don’t sell very much that I want to buy. I decided to call our local cedar mill and ask if I could buy some of their ‘waste,’ the leftover cedar shavings. The end result of a brief phone call was that we were able, for free, to load as much of the shavings as we wanted. We brought a couple of garbage cans and a big shovel and filled up without any expense or plastic consumption.

The lesson here for me was: (1) don’t be afraid to ask and (2) think outside the big plastic box that I’ve been trained by for so long. 

Even with the mind set that I’m working so hard to cultivate in the hustle and bustle of the city I managed to walk out of Whole Foods with four plastic produce bags.Were they filled with produce? No, they were filled with ice. Due to the distance we travel I’ve always picked up bags of courtesy ice after paying for my groceries on my way out of the store. This week after walking through the produce aisles in pursuit of plastic free produce I mindlessly picked up four bags in my last few seconds in the store.

It didn’t hit me until hours later when I was unpacking my groceries at home. What did I do?! Utter disbelief came over me. How could I forget? Whenever I let my hectic environment get the better of me this happens. Another reason to slow down and smell the roses. Not only do we enjoy life more but naturally less plastic is consumed. Single use disposables are a product of our fast paced lifestyles.

Here’s a list of what we consumed this week: Week 6 Table

PLASTIC FREE PROGRESS:

  • Visited my convenience store: Dempsey’s Bakery in Little Rock. The world’s most delicious gluten and soy free bakery to pick up some GF bread, cookies, and pie crusts without any packaging. I needed a bit of a break this week to catch my breath.
  • Obtained cedar shavings from a local plastic free source.
  • Week 2 of no store bought milk.
  • Picked up Azure Standard order. 20 lb case of apples did not have produce stickers and were packed in a cardboard box. The box was secured by a plastic tie. The 40 lbs of onions were packaged in a very large onion bag, albeit #4 plastic. My 40 lbs of chicken feed did come in a paper bag minus plastic.
  • Made 4-5 month supply of laundry soap.

SUMMARY

Week 1 Totals – 64 items, 10.7 oz

Week 2 Totals – 76 items, 1 lb 10 oz

Week 3 Totals – 73 items, 1 lb 10 oz

Week 4 Totals – 60 items, 1 lb 9.6 oz

Week 5 Totals – 54 items, 1 lb 6.5 oz

GOALS:

  • Source local coffee roaster to purchase in bulk without plastic packaging.
  • Pickup locally made cheese without plastic packaging. We weren’t able to connect last week.
  • Continue to implement plastic free changes from the Grocery Substitution worksheet.
  • Research any alternatives for pet food in recyclable packaging or find a way to reuse our pet food bags: still working on this.

Comments

    • Jen says

      Glad to hear that, Tamara. My plan is to post for all 52 weeks. I’ll do my utmost to follow through with all of your support.

  1. says

    I’ve been following your plastic challenge since the beginning and I’m so impressed! I don’t even have the guts to start and look how far you’ve come! Keep up the good work and you just might inspire me to give it a go! :)

    • Jen says

      The more the merrier. Corporate America responds to demand. If we collectively demand plastic free alternatives they will respond. Let us know what change you’re inspired to make, Jenny. Never underestimate what your so called ‘small changes’ can do.

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