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@BethTerry @EcoCatLady Oooooo La La! :-)
1 week, 3 days ago on A Tale of Two Plastic-Free Salad Spinners
Ha! Very interesting... and I love the photos! I've never actually owned a salad spinner. I generally just put it in a colander with a dish towel on top and shake like crazy. But maybe I'll give the cloth bag a try. Probably wouldn't work too well when it's below freezing outside though... Maybe I'll reserve that experiment for warmer weather! :-)
I think the key to getting people to change their behavior is to stop trying to appeal to the do-gooder impulse and to focus more on the enlightened self-interest aspect of making better decisions. I was raised as your typical fast food eating, chemical product using, plastic wrapped American. The further I get from that lifestyle the more I've come to loathe it... but it's not for lofty do-gooder reasons, it's because I've come to feel that the highly marketed typical choices are inferior to the "real thing."
The catch-22 here is that I think it requires removing oneself from the hype and the over-stimulation of all of the phony products to be able to realize that the real thing is actually better. I think we've trained our taste buds to accept the toxic soup as good tasting - but once you get away from it for a while, all of those artificial flavors and scents stop seeming yummy and start to taste and smell remarkably, well... artificial! And none of that even touches on the obvious health benefits of making better choices. I won't drink bottled water, but it's only partially because of the environmental impact of the stuff... I just think that it tastes like plastic!
Anyhow, that's my take.
1 month ago on Thinking About Toothpaste at a Meditation Retreat
Well, my solution to the ice cream dilemma is to just not buy it for home consumption. Truth be told, this has nothing to do with plastic or packaging, and everything to do with self control - an area in which I am sorely lacking! If I buy a quart of ice cream, I'm gonna eat the whole thing. Maybe not all in one sitting, but no way that sucker makes it a week in my home. So, if I really, REALLY have to have ice cream, I go to the ice cream parlor and do it right. That way it really feels like a treat, and I don't have to worry about losing the inevitable self control battle when I hear the siren song calling from the freezer! :-)
2 months, 2 weeks ago on Another Trader Joe’s Rant. This Time It’s Ice Cream.
Thanks for this review! If I ever decide to get another blender I think this will be it! For the moment though, I'm very happy that I decluttered mine and replaced it with an immersion stick blender instead. It's SOOOOO much easier for soups and sauces, which is the main thing I use it for. I've made a few smoothies right in the glass with it too, but you do have to leave some space at the top (ask me how I know...)
p.s. So glad to finally learn what Burning Man is... here I thought it was some sort of sunscreen protest! :-) BTW, what do you do about sunscreen? Is there a plastic free option available?
3 months, 1 week ago on Why I Love My Blender
Am I the only person who has no earthly idea what "Burning Man" is? I'm gather this is some sort of festival? Can somebody help out the ignorant?
3 months, 2 weeks ago on Plastic-Free Burning Man — The List, Part 2
Yup, all false.
In terms of what I'm going to change... I know you're probably talking about personal lifestyle changes, but instead I decided to write to my city councilman asking him to support a proposed five cent fee on all disposable grocery bags here in Denver. If I can influence that legislation even in a small way, it will do much more than any personal changes I might be able to make. And, I might make some repairs to a few of my reusable grocery bags too!
7 months, 3 weeks ago on Win a Plastic-Free Book! Take the Quiz & Make a Pledge
@Plastic-Free Ericka Moderator @EcoCatLady Holy Moly! What a riot! It does look like fun, but I think I'd still be afraid of coming down wrong - of course I'm terrified of roller blades for the same reason!
Anyhow, welcome! I look forward to future banter!
8 months, 2 weeks ago on Meet Ericka, My New Intern!
@Plastic-Free Ericka Moderator Ha! It didn't register with me that they were made of plastic... but what are they? They look like some sort of bizarre pogo-stick shoe contraption... Like blade runner feet for people who actually still have both legs? Anyhow... is it a fitness thing? I'm dying to know. Looks like a sprained ankle to me! :-)
I don't have a brilliant solution, but I have a similar issue with jars and other food storage containers. I garden in the summer and then freeze the surplus for use throughout the year. So I have a big collection of mason jars as well as Pyrex and stainless steel containers for freezing.
Problem is that when the freezer is full I have a devil of a time finding a free jar or container for anything, but as I eat through the year's harvest I end up with so many containers that there's no place to put them all! For the moment I've reserved an entire shelf in the basement storage room just for jars & other freezer containers, and it helps - but there's still more schlepping of containers up and down the stairs than I would like.
10 months ago on Beware the Reusable Bag Monster
OMG, I'm totally seething with jealousy over your bag collection. I fear mine are much more um... tattered than yours appear. Pretty much all of my canvas ones are stained and/or frayed - of course I've owned most of them for 20+ years - seriously, I've got one from a food co-op that's changed ownership and names about 5 times since the bag was born. And pretty much all of the freebie plastic ones have been mended several times and patched with duct tape.
I've even managed to wear out my favorite Haida whale canvas bag. Seriously, the handles are more than 50% gone because they're so frayed, the thing is stained beyond all recognition (despite repeated washings,) and the beautiful Haida whale on the front is almost unrecognizable.... but it's my FAVORITE! I've been trying to decide if I should try to repair it or just let it go on to it's next incarnation in the rag bag (snif, snif.)
That's not to say that I don't probably have more bags than I actually "need," but the truth is I'm still searching for the perfect canvas bag. - One with a square bottom and a firm piece of cardboard or particle board that makes for easier packing of heavy items, and with the little loop to hold it open in the bagging rack. I'm sure such a creature exists, but I might have to actually buy one, and that totally goes against my nature. Perhaps I'll try to modify some of the ones that seldom get used before I go acquire something new. I know! I'll steal the handles from one of the yucky ones and sew them onto my beloved Haida whale bag!
Perhaps you should organize a national reusable bag giveaway day or something like that.
10 months, 1 week ago on Beware the Reusable Bag Monster
To be honest, I just did a Google image search for "cat tree" and that one came up. I think it's called the "Contemporary Cat Corner." Looks like you can buy it on this site: http://www.therefinedfeline.com/catemporary-cat-tower-shelf.htm
That's all I know!
11 months ago on How to Make a Cat Climbing Tree Without Buying Any New Plastic Materials
Thank you so much for this post Beth. For some reason it is immensely comforting to learn that even a stalwart like you can feel depressed and overwhelmed by the intractable nature of what we're up against. I've always been a bit of a "glass half full" kind of girl, and I fear it's all too easy for me to slide into the depths of despair and cynicism. (I read the book "Six Degrees" by Mark Lynas several years ago and it sent me into a tailspin that took years to get out of.)
And even though eco-perfectionism is not something that will ever be in my future, you've inspired me to make changes that I had never even contemplated before reading your blog.
In the end I think we have to be kind to ourselves and realize that none of us can ever "do enough" to change these problems on our own. But we can keep the faith, and keep encouraging others to change, and who knows which person will end up being the "hundredth monkey."
11 months, 3 weeks ago on The End of the World is Coming and I’m Still not Buying New Plastic
@Catladytoo @EcoCatLady @BethTerry I have nothing but the deepest appreciation for our military. My father, my boyfriend and both of my grandfathers are veterans. It's the military industrial complex that I have a problem with.
11 months, 4 weeks ago on What Will It Take To Solve the Plastic Pollution Problem?
@BethTerry "...if its waterproof, by definition, it won't break down in the ocean" a conundrum indeed.
You know, here's what I keep thinking. Not sure this is completely relevant or not, but I have an older brother who was, by all accounts, the most brilliant scientific mind our high school ever produced. He went off to MIT and then UC Berkeley for graduate work, and eventually he, like so many other "brilliant" science types, got funneled into the defense industry.
He went in that direction partially out of his own interest in all things military, but also because that's where the money and the opportunity was. It was the defense contractors who were offering big research grants, scholarships and support, so inevitably, that's where so many of our country's scientific types gravitate.
After 20 years in that environment, he's become a right-wing conservative who thinks global warming is a hoax and that democrats are socialists hell bent on destroying the country - because in his world, any cuts to the defense budget are tantamount to treason. But he wasn't like that when he was younger.
I guess I just keep thinking that if we could find some way to harness our country's scientific minds to work toward finding ways to help people rather than kill them, we'd all be so much better off. Perhaps this contest is a step in that direction.
12 months ago on What Will It Take To Solve the Plastic Pollution Problem?
@BethTerry Ha! You are so diplomatic, Beth... you could have just said "Stop hijacking my post you nimrods!"
How about some sort of inexpensive waterproof material constructed from carbon that has been captured from the atmosphere? That wouldn't bee too hard, would it? :-)
@thecloudwalkingowl I hear you. But I think that the cultural change is already underway. Women generally want fewer kids, especially wealthier women. And the truth is that most developed countries already have falling birth rates - which would be falling much quicker if women (especially poor women) had better access to birth control.
The bigger issue is in the developing world, where the economic and social systems are set up to require huge families. These also tend to be places where women have very little power or say over their own lives, and bodies.
It just seems like we'd get a lot farther by empowering poor women to limit their family size than by cajoling a few rich people into having fewer kids.
@thecloudwalkingowl In terms of the children thing... while I totally agree that there are too many people on this planet, I actually don't think that encouraging people not to reproduce is necessary. If we could just make birth control readily available to everyone who wants it, the problem would pretty much take care of itself. I read recently that fully 50% of the pregnancies in the USA are unplanned.... FIFTY PERCENT!! In a country as "advanced" as ours?!? Imagine what that number is in places without the resources that we have.
I say if you're concerned about population, then work to make birth control available to everyone who wants it. Imagine if every pregnancy were planned and every child were wanted. Environmental concerns aside, it would be an earth shattering change.
I guess I'm sort of a pragmatic cynic when it comes to these big picture sorts of questions. As long as plastic is cheap and easy, people will continue to use it ("people" meaning both consumers and corporations - corporations are people after all - sorry, couldn't resist.) The only way to curb the plastic problem is to somehow include the environmental cost in it's sale & production. Until that happens there won't be any real motivation to develop and/or adopt better alternatives.
Of course, I have no idea how to get the cost of plastic to reflect the true cost to our world, but I tend to believe this is mostly a political problem, not a technical one.
1 year ago on What Will It Take To Solve the Plastic Pollution Problem?
Hi Condo Blues,
I'm in the same boat with meat... and since I'm incredibly cheap I often buy giant 10 pound bags of chicken leg quarters. Usually what I do is to cook it all at once and then freeze the cooked meat in smaller portions. It's still easy to add to a recipe once cooked - easier most times. I use Pyrex containers and haven't had any problems with freezer burn, even though there is certainly some air around the cooked meat. Maybe the key is how long you have to store it, or freezer temperature or something? I dunno.
For the record, I'm not against buying in larger packages to save money even if you end up having no option but to repackage in plastic. My point was simply that Ziploc's claim that they are a somehow being "green" by encouraging people to repackage in their product is um.... "factually challenged."
Also, I was mostly thinking of the bulk foods aisle - it sorta drives me crazy to see people filling new plastic bags with beans and rice etc and somehow thinking that's "greener" than buying the stuff that's already packaged in it's own plastic bag. It just makes no sense to me. And don't EVEN get me started about the "pre-packaged" bulk foods in those plastic clam-shell containers. It just seems oxymoronic to me.
1 year ago on Are Plastic Ziploc Bags Suddenly Green or Greenwashed?