top of page
  • Writer's pictureYi Yu

Plastic Challenge: Yi Yu, Week 5

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. It’s worth noting that the purpose of such challenge is to raise awareness on plastic use by observing one's own behaviors, not to provoke guilt.

Location: Los Angeles, California, United States

Name: Yi Yu (Stephanie)

Week: 5 (2020/11/12-2020/11/18)

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

One-time use masks, grocery bags, straws… the usuals

Total items collected: 30

Total weight: 515g (18.17 oz)

Items: Recyclable

1-2) Plastic Delivery envelope from Uniqlo

3) Sprite bottle

4) Cheese-less cake cup from Trader Joe’s

5) Small plastics from cosmetic products and Ricola

6) Effervescent tablets tube

7) Plastic coffee cup

8) Plastic lid for coffee cup

9) Peanut butter jar from Skippy

10) Oat milk carton

11) Coffee mate creamer bottle from Nestle

12) Film canister

13) Plastic wrap for rice cake with bean paste

14) Plastic wrap for Kewpie’s sauce

15) Pills from Dayquil

16) Container for tofu

17) Container for instant ramen

18) Clear plastic wrap for cheesecake from Trader Joe’s

19) Protective foam

20) Air-filled plastics

21) Clear plastic bags from deliveries

22) Small plastic lid from milk carton

Items: Nonrecyclable

23) Scarf hanger

24-26) Toothpaste tubes - 3

27) Stickers from vegetables

28) Package for cake from Lotte

29) Wrapper from Ricola

30) Bag for ramen

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

Cough drop…? It’s not the most essential item and I could purchase the ones in tins. Peanut butter in plastic jars can also be replaced by the one in glass jars.

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

Milk in cartons, film canisters, any type of medicine/vitamins.

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

This question gets trickier to answer every time. The unintended consequences of online shopping resulted in accumulating more plastics. For instance, I’ve purchased three candles on Amazon last week. Although I’ve chosen the no-rush delivery option so my order could come in less packages, each candle was still delivered separately. One of the candles came from the seller directly instead of going through Amazon. The package filled with white protective foam was overwhelming, as you can see in the image. Anyways, if there is one lifestyle needed to change, it’s online shopping. However, Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales are coming up… we’ll see how much self-control I have.

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

Shampoo in plastic bottles! I purchased a shampoo bar from Spring & Vine at Target recently and I’d say it’s the most nourishing shampoo bar I’ve tried so far. I’ve heard good things about Hibar Shampoo Solid as well. Perhaps I’ll buy one at Whole Foods once I finished the current bar.

Commentary of the Week

The weight of the plastics has reached its highest ever since I started the challenge. I’d be dishonest if I say that the figure didn’t upset me. The feeling risen from seeing this number is not guilt, but a sense of urgency (or anxiety) -- when will I be able to get the number down? On the other hand, I’m glad to see the number even if it fluctuates because each time it tells a story about my own life. My actions that week seem to boil down to one number that requests me to step back and look at myself as a bystander.

Although the total weight has gone up, it’s worth pointing out that the number of items has remained relatively stable, which indicates that the rise in weight is partially due to the increased weight of few bigger single items (such as the milk carton and coffee creamer bottle). A small win this week is not having any take-out containers (not even sauce containers, yay!).

Overall, I can see my own lifestyle gradually changing. Sometimes I’d look back at how I used to treat plastic products few months ago, and I found the shift in terms of mindsets very surprising. I occasionally feel alone in this journey of living a more sustainable life and encouraging others to do the same. I’m a rather shy person and it takes real courage for me to reach out or speak up. If you’re reading this, I want to say, thank you so much for being my reader. You have convinced that even the steps I’m taking are small, they are still seen by some of the most genuine souls. Thank you.


Wrote on Nov 22, 2020

Los Angeles

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page