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Andrea Schlunk's avatar

Andrea Schlunk

National Aquarium

"Thirty-one days to start good habits for a lifetime of plastic reduction!"

Points Total

  • 0 Today
  • 0 This Week
  • 959 Total

Participant Impact

  • up to
    5
    minutes
    spent learning
  • up to
    27
    plastic containers
    not sent to the landfill

Andrea's Actions

Community

Estimate My Plastic Consumption and Go #PlasticNeutral

I will visit the rePurpose website, complete the 3-minute plastic consumption calculator, and explore how I can reBalance my annual plastic footprint.

Completed
One-Time Action

Lifestyle

Buy Only What I Need

I will not buy anything except items required for health and safety.

COMPLETED 20
DAILY ACTIONS

Pets

Rubber Glove Pet Hair Removal

I will use a rubber glove to remove pet hair from clothes, carpets and furniture.

COMPLETED 20
DAILY ACTIONS

Personal Care

Lather Up

I will replace my soaps, shampoos, and conditioners with either a bar or refillable option.

Uncompleted
One-Time Action

Food

Buy Unpackaged Produce

I will purchase produce items without plastic packaging, making sure to wash them well before using them.

COMPLETED 4
DAILY ACTIONS

Food

Minimize Packaging

I will purchase food items with the least amount of packaging.

COMPLETED 20
DAILY ACTIONS

Personal Care

Brusha Brusha Brusha

I will replace my plastic toothbrush with a bamboo toothbrush.

Completed
One-Time Action

Food

Use Reusable Containers

I will only use reusable containers instead of single-use plastic storage items (such as plastic wrap, single-use sandwich bags).

COMPLETED 27
DAILY ACTIONS

Personal Care

Fresh as a Daisy

I will use deodorant either from a bar or a jar or I will make my own.

Completed
One-Time Action

Feed

  • Reflection Question
    Community Estimate My Plastic Consumption and Go #PlasticNeutral
    What did you find out about your plastic consumption by using the calculator? What did or didn't surprise you?

    Andrea Schlunk's avatar
    Andrea Schlunk 7/30/2021 5:12 AM
    Having lived in Europe before, I was not surprised to see my usage was closer to that percentage and much lower than the average American's. I still found it disconcerting how much plastic was tied into my lifestyle, which I thought rather minimalist given income and recreation preferences. While they state the calculator is not always accurate, I feel the calculations could be honed if a duration feature were added in. For example, I may have home decor that came packaged in or is made of plastic, but it is not something I am getting rid of after a year; more often than not, I will hold on to household furnishings (and clothing) well beyond the average lifespan. 
  • Reflection Question
    Pets Rubber Glove Pet Hair Removal
    We know you want to - tell us about why your pet is so awesome!

    Andrea Schlunk's avatar
    Andrea Schlunk 7/19/2021 9:39 AM
    My dogs hold me accountable! They came into my life almost on a whim and played such an important role in keeping me grounded and sane--even when their pestering and whining makes me wonder if I truly made the right decision. Their excitement and seeming joy at being surrounded by forests, or sunbathing on the patio, or encountering new people...they're a reminder to live in the moment and be present. 
  • Reflection Question
    Food Use Reusable Containers
    How can you think outside the box (or bag!) when it comes to disposables?

    Andrea Schlunk's avatar
    Andrea Schlunk 7/19/2021 9:12 AM
    I've turned more to glass and metal containers, from mason jars to storage tins with O-ring seals. Some of these are bulkier and require I lug more weight around (like when I pack a drink and a mason jar meal for my office lunch), but I'll take the exercise. Things like wax paper are making a reappearance in my cupboard, as are silicon products. Cutting out the disposables and single-use plastic wrap has also made me more conscious of how much food waste I can generate. Choosing to store food in makeshift containers using my regular plates and bowls encourages me to eat leftovers quickly, too, so I'm seeing a reduction across the board in my overall food budget. 

  • Andrea Schlunk's avatar
    Andrea Schlunk 7/17/2021 11:13 AM
    Does anyone else find it extremely frustrating when you purchase something packaged in paper (thinking that's the only layer) and then find the actual product inside, encased in a little cocoon of plastic? My list of products I should no longer buy is getting longer by the minute!

    • Allie Tilson's avatar
      Allie Tilson 7/20/2021 7:15 AM
      I find it incredibly frustrating!!! Sometimes I think I am doing a good job purchasing cardboard only to find a plastic bag inside! 

  • Andrea Schlunk's avatar
    Andrea Schlunk 7/15/2021 8:09 AM
    Having just moved, I've had a few days where I have purchased superfluous items that are more suited to my new living space. While I like the items, I wish I had taken a bit more time to hunt for second hand pieces that could have served equally well. The allure of customization and displaying individuality through clothing, decoration, etc. is something I feel is deeply ingrained in our society and it can be difficult to break away from.
  • Reflection Question
    Food Buy Unpackaged Produce
    Why do you think these produce products started amassing so much plastic packaging? Who is the plastic packaging really serving -- the consumer, the producer, or someone else?

    Andrea Schlunk's avatar
    Andrea Schlunk 7/15/2021 8:03 AM
    I get the impression plastic packaging does more for peace of mind and convenience on the consumer's end. For some items, a plastic barrier can indicate security (e.g., tamper-proof caps, or bubble wrap) or a "sterile" environment (e.g., where perishables will stay fresh longer than when left in paper packaging). As for producers, there are many links in the chain for manufactured/cultivated products--processed goods are handed over to multiple parties as they are amalgamated and modified from their original, more natural state into the final, refined form. Each one stands to benefit from receiving undamaged parts needed for the final product. That does not mean everything must come in a hull of plastic material, though. There may be cost involved in setting up the packaging system, but those short-term expenditures can be recouped over time as items sell. The top tier of that production chain leads back to plastic producers/suppliers, who will ultimately benefit from more organizations choosing to package using synthetic wrapping like plastic.

  • Andrea Schlunk's avatar
    Andrea Schlunk 7/12/2021 6:25 PM
    I find myself being much more mindful about purchases. I’ve also started compromising on which items I do buy, looking for options packaged in foil or paper. It gets tough when dealing with a specific craving, but the exercise of willpower gets easier each time. 
  • Reflection Question
    Food Minimize Packaging
    With the added mindfulness of reducing your packaging, what have you noticed about the amount and type of single use plastics used for packaging when you shop in the grocery store?

    Andrea Schlunk's avatar
    Andrea Schlunk 7/05/2021 1:26 PM
    Cooking for one can be a challenge--especially when one of my fallback solutions (e.g., buying a single, larger package and freezing what food I don't need immediately) is hampered by space constraints. I'm making a concerted effort to find the middle ground between the largest volume packaged in the least amount of plastic that still fits in my kitchen, but it's harder than anticipated. If there were multiple options with less packaging, I would consider buying smaller items with more frequency, but that often generates more waste thanks to single-packaged items. Perhaps I need to restructure my diet to include more foods that don't require as much packaging? Or look for less "convenient" items and put a little more elbow grease into preparing my meals. 

  • Andrea Schlunk's avatar
    Andrea Schlunk 7/02/2021 6:29 AM
    Started off strong, even if looking around the grocery store aisles is even more depressing now as I really take a hard look at all the plastic encasing far too many food items. 

  • Andrea Schlunk's avatar
    Andrea Schlunk 6/30/2021 7:11 AM
    I'm excited to continue reducing my plastic footprint; being surrounded by many eco-conscious folks at work is definitely motivating, and it's quite satisfying to see my recycle bin filling faster with paper products than with plastic bottles and such.