Saturday, March 21

Less Plastic: On Being Plastic

It has been a long time since I have written about plastics, and they are what started this marvelous journey into wakefulness. I realized tonight, as I started to read some other blogs whose bloggers are at different points in the journey from myself, that some things have become habit for me and I have stopped stressing about plastic so much.

I have my shopping and cooking all streamlined to be "less plastic," and so I don't even think about that anymore. I grab my canvas produce and grocery bags to go to the store, and I don't set foot beyond the bulk bins. I also rarely eat out and never get take out, so these are non-issues. I carry my Klean Kanteen and to-go mug with me all the time, and I take lunch to school in my tiffin tin and eat with a real fork and a cloth napkin. These things are all habits now, and it feels wonderful!

To give you some more examples: I haven't had to buy toothpaste since December, and this tube is going to last me a while. I have completely stopped thinking about the fact that I wear glasses now, even after ten years (!) of wearing contacts.


I am going to NYC next week, and the true challenge will begin. I will be on-the-go all the time, and I don't know how much I'm going to be able to avoid plastic. I will take my water bottle and to-go mug, even if airport security gives me funny looks. I will take a fork and a cloth napkin, and I will try my best. I plan to go grocery shopping when I get there and buy PB & J, even though I know these will involve this case, the financial savings is really important to me. However, I'm going to make granola tomorrow for my trip.

I'll let you know how the trip goes, but for the time being: what kinds of changes are becoming second nature to you?

Monday, March 16

Reduce: Food and Eating

It has occurred to me recently that I have been eating less, and I am really excited by this. I have tried to do this intentionally before in the name of eating only my fair share or being healthy, but the thing that has really whipped me into shape has been cooking for myself and buying in bulk.

I didn't cook for myself at school, and the cafeteria was "all you can eat." I took whatever I wanted. I tried not to waste food, but it still happened sometimes when I didn't like a dish.

Now that I cook for myself, I know that I have to eat what I cook because there just isn't another option for lunch or dinner, etc. I know that I can't eat as much as I want, because the food comes at a price and it comes from somewhere.

For example, take bread. Now that I make my own bread, every piece has the feeling of time and effort attached to it, and I am much less likely to OD on it.

My lunch today consisted of: one slice of bread, a half cup of cooked lentils, a couple tablespoons of tuna salad, one 1/4" slice of cheese, a carrot and an apple. That's like...epically healthy in my world.

Sunday, March 15

Reduce: Making Things Last

One of the best ways to reduce our footprint on this earth is to simply use fewer resources. This means taking less from the earth, and making the things we do take sustain us longer.

I try to do this in a lot of ways, but one of the changes of mindset that I've tried to adopt over the last year or so is figuring out ways to "make things last." Today, I can use my jeans as a concrete example to illustrate this concept.

I have two pairs of jeans, and I bought them both in Fall of '07. They are both the same, which has saved me a lot of time fanning the flames of my vanity; I don't waste time trying to figure out which jeans go best with which shirt: if I'm wearing jeans, I'm wearing jeans. I bought the simplest jeans I could find and didn't seek anything "trendy". This will make them last longer because they won't go out of style. I also bought them for comfort and fit, and I seek to maintain this pants size, which will also make them last longer. Lastly, I always line dry them in order to keep them from shrinking.

Last week, I wore one of the pairs of jeans when I was painting the set of the musical at school. I tried to be very careful, but I still managed to get paint on them. I got a splatter of white around an ankle, a dash of "Pepto pink" on one knee, and a huge stripe of black along one calf. I knew that I couldn't ditch this pair of jeans just because I had messed them up in my clumsiness, so I sought a way to remove paint from clothing.

A simple "remove paint from clothing" search on Google gave me the answer: alcohol and elbow grease. I poured some vodka on the paint splatters (hand sanitizer was another option available, but it didn't work for me) and scrubbed for five or ten minutes until the paint started to disappear or lighten. The pink and white came out, and the black faded until it is no longer noticeable. I rinsed the jeans and put them in the wash.

Today, I had to inspect the two pairs of jeans on the line very closely until I could say with confidence which pair had originally been stained. Hooray! Not only did I save resources, I saved about $40!