Sunday, August 16, 2009

Plastic, food, and other projects

The plastic thing is a bust for me for now. Sounds like my aunt is doing fantastic. Not really something to do on the spur of the moment for me. This will be an eventual gradual goal to reduce the amount of plastic. I was at Whole Foods on Friday and they even had a ton of plastic packaging including cheese. What a bummer. So how can you get cheese not in plastic? I think some are wrapped in foil if I remember correctly. I may have to explore that. I still did make some changes listed in my last post.

As many of you know I have gone vegetarian, though I am changing that to pescatarian (where the only meat you eat is fish and seafood). I am still for the most part not missing meat, though burgers do smell good. This is part a health decision, but it also more environmentally friendly to stop eating meat, though some would debate that, but it is where I stand. My other issue with meat is not knowing how it was raised. If I absolutely knew the animals were raised in humane conditions it wouldn't be such a problem, but still, I have other reasons for going meat free. I still haven't bought organic cage free eggs. It is so much more expensive, but I do believe this is a change I need to make.

Another food goal is cutting out high fructose corn syrup. I think this will do more for my health than cutting out meat. There is soooo much stuff with the junk in it, even some spaghetti sauces. Thankfully my tomatoes are finally starting to turn color so hopefully soon I'll have enough to make my own spaghetti sauce, sugar free. What is with people putting sugar in spaghetti sauce? It tastes fanstastic without it.

Speaking of tomatoes, look at my beauties:
tomato 8-15-09
tomatoes 8-15-09

When I was in door county, Gretchen at Whitefish Bay Farm taught me how to spin better on my drop spindle. Here is the result (sorry the picture is really bad, but when I am done with the project I'll get better pictures):
yarn to ply 2
Believe me, it is sooo much better than what I was doing. Even my mom noticed how incredibly much better it is. There is still room for improvement. The yellow/red one is done spinning and I am working on the blue/orange one. Gretchen also told me how to ply using a drop spindle, so I will eventually ply those two different colorways together. I think it will turn out really cool.

I still haven't edited all my July pictures from our family get togethers and camping trip. Who knows, maybe some time before 2010 I'll get to it.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Day one of reducing plastic

So there are things I can do for this week and things I am not yet able to do. It is no longer a week without plastic, but a week of reducing plastic. I'm afraid so far I like my bread in plastic. I would like to know what the other alternatives are to storing bread and how did people store bread before plastic? So far my food transportation is best in plastic, mostly because I won't have money until Friday to buy a more earth friendly alternative. I do want to stop using my glad containers though. I no longer microwave in my plastic containers. I can bring a ceramic plate to work to eat on for this week, but eventually I would like my permanent container to be something safe to transport, microwave, and eat in.

Changes I made:
Drinking out of a ceramic cup
Eating on real plates
Using real silverware
Using my soap saver to scrub and clean my body with
Using my shampoo soap bar
I changed to using only bar soap in general some time ago, I no longer buy liquid soap.

Last night I tried the shampoo soap bar for the first time. It seemed to lather up fine. My hair felt different afterwords than it does with my shampoo. Now that my hair is dry, I think my hair looks soooo much better. Too bad no one will really tell because it is too hot and I need to put my hair back in a pony tail. I definitely recommend it. After this week I still want to use up what I have left of my shampoo, conditioner, and body wash in plastic, why let them go to waste. Once those are used up then I am done with that. That makes me really happy. Last night I made a tomato tart, plastic free (oops, come to think of it though the cheese was in plastic, but what can I do?). Very yummy. Now how does one find cheese plastic free? Possibly at the Whole Foods cheese counter I could probably get my cheese without plastic. Whole Foods also has bulk bins for things like rice, flour, beans, etc and they have brown paper bags to put them in. Now I just realized the pie crust for the tart also was in plastic. I can make my own crust in the future though, I have done it before.

Some more links (found in the comment section of the Readymade article):
Fake Plastic Fish

The Readymade Blog of one week without plastic:
Day 1
Day 2
Day 3
Day 5

Ok, so I couldn't immediately find the link for day one, but now Readymade is doing an experiment of a week without processed food, another noble goal I would like to do, though I think winter would be a challenge. Anyways, All the posts for a week without processed foods (first) and a week without plastic (further down the page) are all on one page, so maybe just go here:

Readymade, a week without feature

Now I should say, that even though I am not doing as much this week because of money, lack of solutions right now, etc, I eventually plan on doing more. Like I have said before, it will be a process of attrition. When I need to replace plastic items, I will look for non plastic solutions.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Plastic continued

First of all, look at the planet green channel for ideas about being more environmentally green:
Planet Green

Today they had a show on that showed the result of plastic pollution (though I only caught part of it, but it was powerful) called Hawaii: Message in the Waves. It is a VERY sobering show that should be watched by everyone in the world.

With all this I realize that my week without plastic will simply be trying to reasonably reduce plastic as much as possible. As I need to replace the plastic I have, then I'll replace it with non plastic things. You know my hair brush is plastic? Are there non plastic ones out there? Man, to think 100 years ago there was no plastic. How do we go back???

Anyways some more links:

Etsy search for soap savers
No Impact Man
Home made cleaning products
Plastic Free Blog

I have yet to read the plastic free blog, just found it just now, but from a brief glimpse it looks like getting rid of plastic by attrition which is what I would like to do, but I wonder how people really really reduce it. I have yet to read and learn more about it. As I find links, I will share them.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Living without plastic

My Aunt Sue and I are going to try going plastic free for a week inspired by ReadyMade. I think this is mostly doable, but have realized that this will be impossible for me at the moment, but I'll get to that later. I am not worried about things like computers and tvs and refrigerators and other appliances that are a part of our everyday life. I think about all the things I am going to cover here.


So this is a couple of examples of how I keep my water:
water bottle
plastic 3
Yes, it is all plastic. The way to go plastic free with water is to drink from the tap and in the city of Milwaukee, the tap water tastes just fine and if I lived there I would drink it. I live in Cedarburg and the tap water tastes horrible. If I didn't rent, I could get a water filtration system. There are some that can be added onto the faucet, but I can't use them on my faucets. What I do is get the refillable gallons of water at the grocery store. You fill the same water gallon jugs every week at the water dispenser. Most grocery stores have these. I then fill my two gallon water holder in my fridge with the spicket dispenser. My water bottle I'm sure is BPA free one, but for this week I will drink out of my ceramic mugs. My method of getting water, though it involves plastic, is not changing for the week.

Food packaging

I had to think about the food I am going to eat. So much food comes in plastic. The bread I eat, the mayo in the fridge, just everything!!!!
plastic 5
plastic 6
plastic 4
plastic 2
You can see honey and spices too. I do have some spices in glass containers. The place to buy those is in downtown Milwaukee, I'm not there much. As I finish using my spices in the plastic containers, I will convert to the glass container ones. I don't know what to do about milk. They used to be available in cardboard containers, but I don't think so anymore. There is an expensive brand that comes in glass and I think that is hormone free. I will consider it for future milk purchaces. I am not wasting the milk currently in my fridge because it is in plastic. I think you can find honey in glass jars. For bread, I need to explore making my own, but for now I will take the bread I have and transfer it to a brown paper lunch bag. Oh what else? There is sooo much. *sigh* I'm still using my honey that is in plastic. When I need to buy more, then I'll get glass.

Now for the produce. Mostly you can avoid buying things in the plastic bags. Buy it where you can pick and choose how many and what you want. Don't put them in the little plastic bags. There are solutions at Craftster and Etsy. Buy the produce loose. After it is rung up at the register, then put them in your own reusable produce bags.

Food Storage, transportation, untensils:

Here are some of my food containers:
plastic 1
plastic 7
About 99% plastic. This week's solution is to have sandwiches and wrap in parchment paper and carry lunch bags. Currently I am in a personal swap with someone to get reusable lunch bags, but I won't have them this week. Those lunch bags can be thrown in my compost if I can't reuse them. I have heard there are glass containers available now, but I haven't seen them, but I haven't been to places where I can find them. There are also tiffin containers (though the metal ones cannot be microwaved and others are supposed to be microwavable plastic, but I still wonder how safe it is. For my flour and sugar etc I can get ceramic containers like at Crate and Barrel.

Bath and Laundry

I recently made my own laundry detergent using this recipe (scroll down) and it works. There are many other cleaning recipes on this site. For shampooing you can use a shampoo shower bar (I have one, not used it yet because I was using up what I have, but for my week I will try it out). Instead of using body wash and plastic scrubber I use this:
eco scrubber
It is a crochet bag with soap inside. I haven't checked, but you might be able to find the crochet bag on Etsy (search for soap saver). I made this one myself. If you are in my family, this may be in your future. Brushing teeth, hmmm.... I am still using my plastic toothbrush with toothpaste still in plastic (yes, you can brush teeth with baking soda, but ick).

I really need to go now. There may be a part two of this and may blog during the week how it is going. There is more I want to blog about and I'll do that tomorrow. Tonight I'll be on WMSE from 6-9pm central time. Tune in if you read this in time. This is why I need to get going, need to do my hair and find a decent shirt to wear. Please please please leave comments and questions, I am sure I have only scratched the surface.