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Tuesday, May 18, 2010

A Buying Freeze and Other Thoughts

 I've been on a 'buying freeze' for a few weeks...and our refrigerator and freezer are quickly emptying!  I started with drawers full of produce and am now down to a few carrots and 2 bell peppers.  Our drinks are almost gone.  I made 3 quarts of homemade iced tea this week, so we still have that...woo hoo!  I've been checking out options for different things we use a lot of and trying to find better alternatives to single-use plastics.  One thing I found an alternative for is the regular skim milk container with the plastic ring and cap.  I just discovered that Whole Foods sells its 365 brand of skim milk in the 'old-fashioned' type of container with no plastic cap!  Unfortunately, most of the family drinks soy milk, and the 365 brand of soy milk HAS the plastic cap...not sure why, but I'm guessing it's the producer that makes it for them...another letter-writing campaign!  So I'm still on a mission to find plastic-free soy milk because making it from scratch is a task I don't feel ready to take on at the moment.  Until I find it, I will definitely cut back and use less.

Our son, JD, is a cheese-aholic.  If he could live on one thing alone, it would be cheese.  I don't buy Kraft singles anymore...thinking about individually-wrapped slices of cheese can set me off on a whole other tangent...but we still get a plastic bag from the deli counter.  I already get made fun of for my voice at the deli counter, so I'm not sure I'm brave enough to ask them to use my cotton bag to put my cheese into, but I'm hoping to gather the nerve to do it soon.  I know, I know...I need to stop worrying about what other people's still a weakness.  If only there were a self-serve deli....

The next thing we eat a lot of is apples and oranges.  I used to get the pre-bagged oranges, but now I will take the time to bring my cotton bags and load up my own.  Same for apples...luckily, we even have organic apples cheaply priced at our local ShopRite, right across the street, so that's an easy one for me.

I'm getting used to grabbing a head of lettuce and putting it in my cotton bag instead of getting the pre-bagged or packaged lettuce.  It's a little extra work, but it's worth it to me.

My boys love tomatoes and it's hard not to grab those little clamshell containers full of cherry or grape tomatoes....This Saturday, we'll visit our local Farmer's Markets to see what's available and I'm hoping to be pleasantly surprised...look for my post about that next week!  We also started our own garden, thanks to Whole Foods who supplied us with a free 10'x10' plot of ground to grow on this year.  I will do a post on that sometime soon, too.

Beth Terry (Fake Plastic Fish) posted this really awesome guide to storing fresh fruits and veggies from Berkeley Farmers Market (which has gone plastic-free!).  Check out her blog this week for lots more great tips:

Slowly, but surely, I'm finding ways to reduce my plastic use and it feels really good.  I was digging in the sandbox with our almost-3-yr-old the other day and was saddened to find some little chips of plastic mixed in with the sand...this in such a tiny space of sand...imagine what the beach is like with all of the plastic trash it is bombarded with on a daily basis.  I want the beach to be here for my grandkids and their grandkids to all of my plastic-free efforts feel like a step in the right direction!

So, back to the buying you have a stockpile of plastic in your fridge, freezer or cupboard?  Are there plastic-free alternatives readily available?  If yes, take inventory, phase out your plastic and make your voice heard with your purchasing power!  Let me know how you are doing!  Give me your ideas!  Have a great week! :)

Monday, May 17, 2010

We Can Do Better - My Challenge to You!

Just watched this video, like many others I've seen this year:

It makes me feel motivated to do more and do it faster since I know we all want a better world for future generations than the one we're leaving behind right now.

So here's my challenge:  Get rid of as many single-use plastics as you possibly can, as soon as you can.  Make it a thought that stays on your mind.  Use your purchasing power as your vote.  I watched an interesting video on the 10 R's of Sustainability made by high-schoolers and one of them said something so simple, yet so profound:  We need to slow down.  This is so true.  If we can slow down, we will be able to think about the choices we are making.  If we can slow down, we will be able to make the better choice.  If we can slow down, we will have more time to enjoy our lives.  We are being sold quickness and convenience, but we are losing what really matters the most.

It's a tough challenge.....Who will take it with me?  Let me know what you are giving up, trading in, finding alternatives for and how it's going!  I just made the decision to ask for my kids' drinks in glass, like the adults from now on when we eat at a restaurant.  JD drank from one at breakfast yesterday and did quite well.  If he can do it, so can the older boys!  Small steps...big changes...right now!  Are you with me?

Monday, May 10, 2010

Plastic is bad, Waste is worse

Hello, Dear Readers! :)

I've been TerraCycling for our school since November (see earlier post for more info. about that) and it has been a real journey, to say the least.  I started out wanting to do good for the planet and I feel like I am in a small way, but it has also made me think about so many issues that are bigger than chip bags and juice pouches.  Like how huge the plastic problem has become and how we don't even think of it as a problem in the U.S.  It doesn't make the nightly news, even though there are huge gyres of plastic filling up our oceans....the very oceans we depend on for survival.  And like how much we waste in this country.  If you ever want a lesson in waste, take a look at what is thrown away at a typical Elementary School lunch.  This leads me to so many other thoughts.  Do parents realize how much money is being thrown away, even if they aren't at all concerned about the environment?

I haven't posted for a while because all of these thoughts are swirling around me like a gyre.  I'm trying to figure out what I'm supposed to do with them.  When I do, I'll post more, but if you have some of your own that you'd like to discuss here, please let me know.

Have a great week!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Slow down and notice the trees....and other stuff

Sorry for the lack of an original post, but I loved this micromovie and thought I'd pass it along in honor of Arbor Day which recently passed - it only takes 2 mins. to watch:

I found it from the comments section at Fake Plastic Fish since I agreed so much with what Clif said there (Here's just part of it):
"P.S. How about that Gulf oil spill – will it be the 3 mile island of deepwater drilling? Another holocaust for wildlife – from plankton right on up the food chain. We are outraged when a single innocent person suffers injury from others or when someone poisons a neighbor’s dog, but wildlife takes repeated blows from us and on we go."

I also think you'd probably love some other info. from Clif that can be found here:

If you get a chance to read his 'Life at 12 Miles an Hour', let me know what you think!:

If you have 4 mins. to spare, this video is definitely worth a watch...I think these guys really hit the message home with what they say about plastic: