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Could you go plastic-free?

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Everywhere we look—from food containers to DVD packaging to the insides of our cars—we see plastic. It seems almost impossible to escape, but is there a way to reduce our plastic consumption?

Yes, we can recycle the plastic we use, but it is actually downcycled. Every time plastic is recycled, it gets weaker. Therefore, we will always have the need to make more plastics. However, not all types of plastic are actually recycled. The list varies from city to city.

Why is plastic bad, you may ask? In a nutshell, plastic is made from oil, which is a non-renewable resource. It actually takes more oil to recycle plastic than to make new plastic. Plastic contains all kinds of chemicals from PVC to BPA to phthalates, which help make the material pliable. These chemicals have been known to seep into the foods we eat, causing health issues.

I have always been pretty conscious of how much plastic I use and buy on a daily basis. I’ve decided to ditch the conventional plastic and store my food in glass containers. I always try to buy food or items that have no or very little plastic packaging.

A few weeks ago, I stumbled upon a blog, My Plastic-Free Life, and was very intrigued  by the concept. How could this woman, Beth Terry, eliminate plastic from her life and have a positive impact on the environment?

After further digging on the topic, I realized that the goal isn’t to get rid of all the existing plastics in our homes, but rather to make a conscious effort to look for alternatives to plastics.

On her site, Beth has documented the amount of plastic she has consumed from 2007 until now. I was amazed by the drastic change in the amount of plastic she uses weekly.

Beth challenges her readers to collect all the plastic they use in one week. Once the week is over, they are asked to consider the changes they can make to their own plastic consumption. Is there a non-plastic alternative? Can this plastic item be used less frequently? Can this plastic item be eliminated altogether?

Naturally, I was up for the plastic-free week challenge. So, for the next seven days I am going to collect all the plastic that my husband and I use. At the end of the week, we will analyze our plastic consumption to see where we can make some changes.

I am keeping you in mind of course! I have decided to begin the challenge on Monday, July 18 to give all of you the chance to start with me. Are you up for the challenge? If so, please leave a comment below letting me know you are ready to start the challenge and go to My Plastic-Free Life to read the rules.

In a week, I will be back with my results. How about you? Let’s make a date for next Tuesday, July 25 to give us time to look through all the plastic.

Let’s get this plastic party started!

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15 Responses to Could you go plastic-free?

  1. Good Girl Gone Green July 14, 2011 at 8:19 am #

    Great! See you in just over a week with the results!

  2. Joyce July 15, 2011 at 9:36 pm #

    The city one lives in makes all the difference. When they have a recycling collection program, it’s just as easy to dump in the recycle bin as in the trash. When the city doesn’t provide this, we have problems.


    • Good Girl Gone Green July 17, 2011 at 12:23 am #

      I agree. Right now I bring all my recycling to the recycling plant because the city doesn’t pick up where I live…so frustrating!

  3. Jennifer *Jennifer's Deals* July 16, 2011 at 9:49 pm #

    Hello! Thank you for stopping by Jennifer’s Deals!
    I get so many compliments about Amberly’s red hair. I love her red hair. It is really bright when you get her out in the sun!
    I am a new follower also!

    • Good Girl Gone Green July 17, 2011 at 12:34 am #

      Thanks for the follow! And again, her hair is gorgeous! :)

  4. Good Girl Gone Green July 17, 2011 at 12:22 am #

    Yes, I think people can make changes if they really wanted to. I just think people don’t want to make the changes, that’s the problem.

  5. Mrs Green @ July 18, 2011 at 2:03 pm #

    Good luck with your challenge; it’s a great one to do. We tried to do it this week but failed miserably. However, we only buy recyclable plastics. I know that’s not the point, but hey, you have to do something. It is a great awareness exercise though and you realise how scarily reliant on plastics we all are …

    • Good Girl Gone Green July 18, 2011 at 2:29 pm #

      Thank you! At least you tried, that’s matters too. Most people do not put too much thought into what they buy and where the packaging ends up! :) It’s better to buy plastics that can be recycled apposed to plastics that will just sit in a landfill! :)

  6. Michelle July 19, 2011 at 12:08 am #

    I’d be scared to look! Although, really we don’t usually buy bottled water, etc. I should make a conscious effort to look at the packaging on other things. We truthfully are not very good at recycling here, but I try to re-use as much as possible. I would like to get rid of all my plastic stuff and store stuff, like you, in glass containers. But, I’m afraid that wouldn’t be very practical with my kids right now. Some day! Thanks for stopping by my blog. I’m following you back. Good Luck on your challenge this week!

  7. Tara July 19, 2011 at 10:32 am #

    I’m very interested to see how that goes for you. That is a challenge my family could use! Plastic usage has been on my radar for a while, but I’m sad to say that I still use a ton of it. And more lately it seems as the kids have gotten older and I’m giving into more single serving food items. Thanks for the reminder here!

    • Good Girl Gone Green July 19, 2011 at 11:48 am #

      I will be back tuesday with the results! It is hard to reduce plastic but it is possible. Just takes some work!

  8. July 26, 2011 at 3:37 pm #

    Life without plastic is hard. if we can think of a good and permanent substitute for them, without compromising health, the ecosystem and other factors, then it will be a great challenge. Any suggestions aside from glass materials and recycled card boards?

    • Good Girl Gone Green July 26, 2011 at 4:09 pm #

      Life without plastic can be a challenge, yes. I am not saying I don’t buy anything that contains plastic. What I try to do is buy plastic-free as much as possible. I know my TV contains plastic and there is not much I can do about that. However, not using plastic bags, not buying water bottles or juice bottles, I do have a choice and I choose not to buy plastic. The reason being it is toxic and it has been known to leach out chemicals and lots of the plastic we consume ends up in our water. And you can imagine the damage plastic is doing to our ecosystems. I don’t have all the answers, but I am living as sustainably, eco-freindly and organic as possible. With thats I am not sure of other materials other than glass and cardboard.

  9. Good Girl Gone Green January 20, 2012 at 11:39 pm #

    Beth, I am going to get organized and do some tallying! You are so inspiring!

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I'm Stephanie, the Good Girl Gone Green, and I'm excited to share my own experiences with learning to live a greener, healthier life!

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