Friday, April 29, 2011

plastic awareness challenge

Last Friday was, as we know, Earth Day and I issued a challenge, a plastic awareness challenge. I gave two ways to do this. One was to list all the things plastic that you touched in a single day or to save and list all the plastic you would throw away (not including recycled plastic) in one week.

Here are my lists:

All the things plastic I touched on Earth Day, 4/22/11:

  1. reading glasses
  2. pill caddy
  3. filtered water container
  4. computer/keyboard/mouse
  5. handle of the coffee maker carafe
  6. laminate that covers kitchen cabinet doors, kitchen and bath counters and drawing table
  7. floor tiles in kitchen and bath
  8. bag inside the cereal box
  9. beverage carton
  10. refrigerator handle and door coating
  11. light switch
  12. automatic pencil
  13. erasure holder
  14. truck (so many plastic things in and on it)
  15. phone
  16. spiral on my notebook
  17. sunglasses
  18. grocery bag
  19. bulk food container and scoop
  20. various product packaging
  21. turtle and fish food containers
  22. various food packaging
  23. kitchen scale
  24. pitcher
  25. various re-used small plastic containers I use in my work, jars of frit
  26. plastic food wrap
  27. hose and sprayer nozzle
  28. beverage (juice) bottle
  29. whiskey bottle

Here's my throw away plastic for one week (7 days - Friday the 22nd thru Thursday the 28th):

  1. plastic coated silk container
  2. styrofoam meat tray
  3. paper label from meat tray with plastic wrapping stuck to it
  4. plastic/paper pad from meat tray
  5. two cheese wrappers
  6. chicken plastic wrapper
  7. 2 chip bags
  8. packaging for salmon
  9. coffee seal
  10. applicator and packaging for cat flea treatment
  11. 2 caps and stoppers
  12. twist tie

My week of throw away plastic is pretty typical, some weeks more items, some weeks less.

So. Did anybody else make a list?


  1. You were very thorough at recording what you touched. I could see a dozen items I probably used. Recycling and bottle and can redeemption saves a lot of bulk getting tossed.

  2. No - I totally forgot to. But I can here me now - Mike, is this plastic? Because I am just that uninformed. I might try the throwaway stuff for a week...

  3. I didn't make a list but read yours... by the way we can't buy whiskey in plastic bottles here in Australia that I know of, just glass... interesting post!

  4. I think you actually did quite well for one week's worth of plastic. I was thinking the other day how many plastic bags I saved by having my own nylon bag in my purse in just one year. Probably at least a couple of hundred of the buggers. Our world is plastic.

  5. Nancy - we try to be very conscious of plastic but even so we averaged 2 pieces of throw away plastic a day. that's 730 pieces of plastic a year that goes in the landfill and we are only two people out of the millions in this country.

    Sunshineshelle - welcome. I wish it was the same here, no plastic beverage containers at all. it used to be that way when I was a kid and we always scrounged up bottle to redeem when we needed pocket money. some places are starting to outlaw plastic water bottles but not soda. why not soda too?

  6. I didn't know about it just got here. What a good way to become more aware of the things we throw away though.

  7. You buy whiskey in a plastic bottle? Wow.

    One of the very good things about washington dc is its recycling program. It's very thorough.

    I'm a minor consumer of anything packaged, though of course I do generate quite a pile of recycling during any given week. Making a list is a good idea. I'm going to give it a try.

  8. Houston also has a good recycling program, everything except #6 plastic (styrofoam). About once a month we haul all our collected recycling stuff to Houston on one of our forays into the city.

  9. oops, I forgot.
    Still sticking to the recycling.

  10. Very inspiring - I started to count up and got an eyefull of how much. [The bathroom scared me the most. Wow.]

    Went and got the bins - we are fortunate that our city does the higher number plastics too.

    We have always recycled some stuff, but it is going up now.

  11. Trying to stay away from plastic in this world is next to impossible. Tissues in a box are wrapped in plastic now.... why? I probably have the same plastic recycling list as you and all things plastic around the house. Like Reya, we have glass bottles for alcohol here in Toronto too. I have been carrying nylon shopping bags since last year and this year I replaced my plastic food containers with glass containers. Every time I think of it, I try to reduce the plastic. Thanks for posting this inspiring blog, Ellen

  12. Linda - so much packaging on products is so unnecessary and it's always plastic! we have stopped buying some products that are over-packaged for that very reason. I've been using my own canvass bags for over 20 years and sometimes I have to say, as I hand them over to the bagger, 'no plastic' because if I don't they'll put stuff in plastic bags and then in my canvass bag. you go in any liquor store around here and half the products are in plastic. I would much prefer glass.


I opened my big mouth, now it's your turn.