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  • Writer's pictureYi Yu

Plastic Challenge: Yi Yu, Week 4

Updated: Feb 26, 2022

About This Challenge:

As I learn more about living sustainably, I came across the plastic challenge created by Beth Terry and I decided to take the challenge.

Location: Los Angeles, California, United States

Name: Yi Yu (Stephanie)

Week: 4 (2020/11/05-2020/11/11)

List of plastic items REFUSED this week. (Yay!)

Grocery bags, bottles, straws… the usuals

Total items collected: 19

Total weight: 167g (5.89 oz)

Items: Recyclable

1-2) Delivery envelope from Amazon and Leuchtturm1917

3) Bubble plastic wrap

4) Ziplock bag for tea leaves from Tiesta Tea

5) White small stand in a pizza box from Pizza Hut

6) Tofu container

7) Air-filled plastic protector

8) Boba cup

9) Sauce container from McDonald’s

Items: Nonrecyclable

10-12) Bags for Chips from Ruffles and Lay’s

13-14) Take-out containers from McDonald’s and a local coffee shop

15) Tag from vegetables purchased at Vons

16) Wrap from Paper Source

17) Small plastics from cosmetics products, tea leaves brands, a jar, and other sources

18) Sticker from Paper Source

19) Plastic knots from clothes

What items can I easily replace with plastic free or less plastic alternatives?

Nothing from this week’s list really.

What items are essential and seem to have no plastic-free alternative?

Most items from the list don’t have a plastic-free alternative since they are packages from branded companies instead of local stores and it’s harder for me to convince them what packages they should use.

What lifestyle change(s) might be necessary to reduce my plastic consumption?

Same as every week since I’ve started this challenge: cook more at home and order less take-outs. I’ve been more conscious about the plastic take-out containers since I started the plastic challenge. I’m happy to say that I order less take-out these days, but even if I have dine-in meals at restaurants, they provide plastic utensils. Ahh, what a struggle to be in a pandemic yet try to live plastic-free at the same time (*sigh*).

What one plastic item am I willing to give up or replace this week?

Toothpaste in tubes. I just opened the last tube of Sensodyne toothpaste, and I’ll try to find a plastic-free substitute before using it up.

Commentary of the Week

It is the afternoon of National Recycling Day as I write this article. The off-white rooftop of a house outside my window is painted with sunset while I listen to a symphony by Edward Elgar. How romantic the golden hour in California is. Then the sunlight goes away in the blink of an eye. It reminds me this can all be taken away as nature pleases.

Recycling, the last “R” among the 5 “R”s of Zero Waste, is perhaps the easiest step for us to execute. The other 4 “R”s are Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, and Repurpose. To me, the 5 “R”s of Zero Waste is a patchwork system for the lack of environmentally aware manufacture. However, I have to admit that it takes time for the society to shift from a petroleum-centered economic model to a green one. The 5 “R”s are a starting point to build ourselves a brighter future, and they can be executed on a personal level. It is greatly encouraged to follow those steps. Even if we don’t know how our behaviors can contribute to a better environment, practicing the 5 “R”s is a good way to bring awareness, which is the start for every successful revolution.

I never truly believe in “hope”. The fact that environmental activists fight as if they see the lights at the end of the tunnel has perplexed me. How do they stay hopeful even amid the endless political chaos and the continuing aggravation of climate change? What is it in their mind that guides them? Where is the beacon? I couldn’t fathom their mental strength. Then it struck me with certainty: hope never exists because it can be only be CREATED.


Wrote on Nov 15, 2020

Los Angeles

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