winning

June 17, 2011|Posted in: Challenge Update, family, frugal, green, plastic, sustainable living

Here are a couple of wins for the record.
1) The Sunday newspaper came with no plastic wrap, per my instructions. (I forgot to mention it earlier in the week.)

2) I cooked a lot today — all of it without Teflon or the plastic utensils you need to use to avoid scratching the finish. In fact, I took all the plastic spoons, spatulas and sporks out of the drawer and all of the Teflon-coated pans, pots, cookie sheets and muffin tins out of the cabinet, and they are all ready to donate. My family is going to hate me.

3) The 7th-grade picnic went off without a hitch. I wrote a cheerful injunction to recycle everything, delivered the goods and then — let go of the angst. It was out of my hands, and out of my control. No guilt, no worries.

4) I went to check on the level in the garbage can — and was shocked to find it half-full — of mixed trash. Mr. Husband had cleaned his car and didn’t sort anything. There was no actual recycling in there, but stuff I would have considered green waste — cigarette butts, fast food wraps. More instruction needed in this area. I did not, however, dive in and sort it. It was too cigarette-ashy and yucky to touch. This isn’t really a win, I guess. Hmm. But…

5) Daughter Ana is talking up the Plastic Purge at work. My mom bought a reusable coffee filter. My friend Deanna bought clothespins. The world is a better place for these changes.

6) The last few items I ordered through Amazon have come in cardboard and paper only, no plastic. Yay!

7) We’re eating like kings here. Tonight: freshly made tortilla chips from the Mexican taqueria down the way, purchased in a paper bag and kept crisp in a sealed container. We’re having nachos, or open-face tacos, whatever you like to call them. Cheddar cheese from a local dairy, wrapped in paper. Lettuce from the farmers’ market. My own homemade hot peppers in a Mason jar (from last summer). Farmers’ market onion. Small dairy yogurt in place of sour cream — from a glass jar. Salsa in a jar. Ground turkey — yes, in styrofoam and plastic, from my freezer. But it’s the last package of styrofoamed meat in there, so from here on, it’s clear sailing.

8) School is finally out, and therefore, no more packing school lunches for 10 weeks. Yay!

9) Tomorrow is Friday and date night with Mr. Husband. We’ll make it plastic-free, somehow.

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Julia Park Tracey is an award-winning journalist, author, and blogger. She is the author of "Veronika Layne Gets the Scoop" and "Veronika Layne Has a Nose for News" (rep'd by Booktrope). She is the Poet Laureate of Alameda, California. She's also the conservatrix of The Doris Diaries, the diaries of her great-aunt Doris Bailey Murphy. Her articles have appeared in Thrillist, Quill, Paste, San Francisco Chronicle, and in many magazines; her latest poetry appears in The East Bay Literary review.

8 Comments

  1. noreply@blogger.com'

    Angela@BeggingTheAnswer
    June 17, 2011

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    You give me so many ideas for how to live a greener lifestyle. Thank you!

  2. noreply@blogger.com'

    Jon Spangler
    June 17, 2011

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    RE #4: Under the rubrics of 1) separating recyclables and compost at the source, and 2) “cleaning up your own mess,” I think Mr. Husband (Patrick) needs to go back through the garbage from the car that he should have sorted the first time.

    And I should think that he would do that if he really loves you and really wants you to be happy, especially on date night,…

  3. noreply@blogger.com'

    Mary Ann
    June 17, 2011

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    How are cigarette butts and fast-food wrappers green waste? I’m confused. What in the world do you do with those? (Sorry, I’m new to your blog.)

  4. noreply@blogger.com'

    julia park tracey
    June 19, 2011

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    Jon, you’re right. Alas, it was last-minute, I didn’t have gloves, we were running from one thing to the next — and I ran out of time. Both of us did. This points out the hardest thing about eco-choices — they take time. I like to say that having a commitment is a big commitment. Because it is. (sigh)
    Mary Ann, we have green waste pick up from the city, and if it can be composted, you can put it in green waste. Food wrappers that are paper can go in, as can cigarette butts, milk cartons (with no plastic), bones, grease, yard trimmings, etc. I also compost ashtray contents sometimes, but prefer not to because tobacco can carry a disease that affects tomato and potato plants (nightshade family). Also, fast food wrappers will compost but cats, rats and raccoons like to dig in the compost when Iput smelly, greasy stuff there. So I prefer not to. Does that answer your question? 🙂

  5. noreply@blogger.com'

    Nutbird
    June 20, 2011

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    i don’t understand this. You want everyone in your region to stop using plastic. Probably because of the cancer causing properties, runoff from plastic plants, and the fact that plastic things are not biodegradable. Yet your husband smokes, or has smokers in his car, and eats fast food. I am missing something here? Shouldn’t your main concern be ensuring that your family is healthy? Ann

  6. noreply@blogger.com'

    julia park tracey
    June 20, 2011

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    Hi, Ann — oh, what a tangled web…yes, yes, yes, you’re absolutely right! In a perfect world, I would ensure that my dear family ate only the healthiest of foods and didn’t touch any unhealthy substances. (deeeeeep sigh). Alas, in my world, my husband makes his own choices, even really bad ones, and I don’t control his every move, so I have to be at peace with the changes I can make. He doesn’t smoke in the house, but if he smokes in his car…I don’t encourage fast food, and try to avoid it, but I have adult children who have their own money, a husband who doesn’t always take the lunch I prepare, and a stepson who lives with us 50% — all of those factors make it impossible for me to control everything. So… here, in my little castle, I buy healthy food, serve healthy meals, and try to cut down on plastic. Outside of the walls…I can only hope that my message gets through. If anyone has a solution that doesn’t involve whips and chains, please let me know. Believe me when I say that fighting over it has not worked.

  7. noreply@blogger.com'

    julia park tracey
    June 20, 2011

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    oh, yes…and I can only hope that others stop using plastic. All I can control at this moment is myself and a little of what happens in my house. Thanks for reading 🙂

  8. noreply@blogger.com'

    Mary Ann
    June 22, 2011

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    You’re very lucky to have that green waste pickup. We have the basic recycling and I try to compost what I can. But I find that paper takes quite awhile to break down. (And forget those Sunchips bags. I have one in my compost that’s been in there for months and still looks good as new.) But you can only do what you can do.

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