Reduce/Reuse/Recycle – Dr. Plastic Picker
 

Category: Reduce/Reuse/Recycle

“The Mother.” My father-in-law was walking by and I asked him to hold up the vinegar container for the picutre. I couldn’t see “The Mother” without his help. LOL.

October 2, 2020

by dr plastic picker

Did I tell you that I’m trying to make home-made vinegar? It’s my second batch. The first batch I attempted after having left over apple peels and cores from making apple-sauce. That attempt was a failure. It looked pretty on Instagram as the fluid became more amber and I used Korean shot glasses with black lettering that had the Korean letters artistically distorted by the yellow hued viscosity of the liquid. Half became moldly, and the other container essentially was just apple juice that I pasteurized and made into an apple slushy. The second batch I started a week ago. I had half given up on the vinegar project, but I found an unopened can of Modelo beer during Saturday’s plogging run. I washed the can well, and decided that the earth had decided that I should try the vinegar project again. I made one with the Modelo beer, and the other one reusing a glass container we store our coffee sugar. The coffee sugar glass jar needed to be updated but it was “clean” just with that old residue of sticky granulated white sugar on the sides. I thought, huh, that’s about the amount of sugar I need to make vinegar? It takes a lot of water to clean that sugar off. Why don’t I just try again? So I made apple sauce again with some mushy apples, and saved the apple scraps. I sterilized everything this time with hot water, both the apple scraps and the water I used to make the vinegar. This was the ultimate food waste project, because the sugar residue in the glass container I am using to make the vinegar, and the apple scraps, and the Modelo Beer would have all been discarded. I am also reusing two glass jars. I learned from the first attempt. I used a different fermentation weight that is not as pretty but works better and keeps the apple scraps underneath the liquid line. I stirred it a few times well with clean spoons a few times a day the first week. Yesterday when I checked on the vinegar project, I kid you not – the thing is working. “The Mother” is forming.

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My new happy place. Eco-haven.

September 21, 2020

by drplasticpicker

This is really no time to waste regarding climate change. Depending on which criteria you chose, we either have 9 years or 14 years left to avert climatic disaster. We are already in mitigation mode. I am not sure if those who know me in real life truly understand the true panic in my heart. About a year ago someone at work asked me as Assistant Boss to look into why there were not enough recycling bins in their office. That request was annoying. First, it’s actually not my job as Physician Middle Manager to deal with recycling bins. Second, recycling plastic water bottles is not the answer. Acknowledging that tap water is the same as bottle water, and bring your own reusable water bottle to work is the answer. Third, this individual had mansplained me for a decade. And fourth, this request like many others would lead me down a useless rabbit hole while the world literally burns down. I could spend half of my entire professional life trying to make sure there were enough recycling bins in the offices. Instead, our department just cancelled all single-use water bottle orders. Done. No more plastic. Bring your own water in a reusable container. I have had similar requests and I address them briefly, and then move on to where I think I will be more impactful for the world.

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Physical space and mental space. This is what I’ve gained by buying less.

September 20, 2020

by drplasticpicker

Mr. Plastic Picker and I went to Costco for the first time in months together. Since becoming the Plastic Picker family and trying to reduce our plastic consumption compounded with the COVID-19 pandemic and social distancing requirements, we have reduced the things that we bring home. I have salvaged over 1000 things from the landfill mostly aluminum cans. The 1057 items I have salvaged, I try to recycle, regift, repurpose or donate. I have three bags today going to GoodWill of salvaged shoes and clothes that have been cleaned. The answer it not to wishfully donate our things away, because much of it also will end up in the landfill. The answer for our family has mostly been to slow down the things that flow into our home.

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Two things from a bunch of mushy apples: apple sauce and apple-cider-vinegar scraps.

September 18, 2020

by drplasticpicker

I started my first batch of apple-scrap vinegar yesterday. We had a bunch of mushy apples and Mr. Plastic Picker asked me the day before if I could make apple sauce. If you know us in real life, this is a earth-shattering request. My children and other people eat my cooking. My son’s good friend once complimented me on my breaded chicken. But my husband wanders around the kitchen foraging on his own. The more I’ve been cooking plant-based, the more he is eating. He asked for apple sauce and he used to buy so many of those prepared apple sauces in <5> plastic. Since we’ve started going less plastic, he eats more apples but I think he misses those processed apple sauces. He actually says mine is better.

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Bag #272, Item #1003. I didn’t even realize I had gone over that threshold.

August 30, 2020

by drplasticpicker

Today is Dr. Plastic Picker’s birthday today! I feel like celebrating more than my real birthday. The day I came into the world, it was really my mom doing all the work. Dr. Plastic Picker’s birthday was my creation. Since I have been keeping track and declared that I am “Fighting Ocean Plastic Pollution One Piece of Plastic At a Time,” I have picked up 272 bags of ocean bound trash and salvagaed 1003 items.

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Isn’t that a beautiful bird? It’s from somewhere in our house. I never noticed it before.

July 24, 2020

by drplasticpicker

I have been busy this week completing the on-line virtual Climate Reality Training. It’s been a big committment especially since I am working full time. Every evening I have had 1-2 hours of additional lecture or on-line work. But I have done it with joy. This is the last weekend and I feel accomplished that I will fulfill the requirements.

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Here is how your cup of coffee started Nurse L.

July 9, 2020

by drplasticpicker

I brought my cold brew coffee concentrate to the office yesterday. I reused a sauce jar and made sure it did not have any pungent smells in it, but the lid was not the tightest fit. So I carefully put it in my lunchbag but had to make sure to carry it the right way so it would not spill. It made it to clinic and I put my repurposed glass jar in the office fridge. We have a new office fridge. The old fridge had been there since the clinic’s opening over 20 years ago.

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Day #1 of plastic-free July!!!

July 1, 2020

by drplasticpicker

There is always a bright side in life!!! We may be in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic. I may have been fielding irate phone calls from frustrated front-line providers who feel they do not have adequate PPE. As parents we are all worried about whether school commences in September, and even if it does- will it fuel the spread of COVID-19? But it is the first day of July 2020 and it’s designated Plastic-Free July!!! Did you even know that such a wonderful month existed? Well I am Dr. Plastic Picker and this is going to be a fun month for me, filled with moments of trying to move my life to less plastic. I’m telling you, when I attended a talk on the Science of Happiness and Gratitude at one of our HMO Regional meetings and they said 50% of happiness is genetic, I know they were speaking to me! And Dr. Plastic Picker is so happy that it’s Plastic Free July!

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Sock puppet that was sadly misplaced. Due to COVID-19 I had to toss it in the trash with my gloves.

June 11, 2020

by drplasticpicker

The beach was a mess with morning. I had not been out near our stretch of Pacific coast for a few weeks. When our city lifted some of the COVID-19 restrictions, the beach was flooded even in the early mornings. Since I still have to work in patient care, I didn’t feel it was appropriate to expose myself. I have been doing litterpicks around my neighborhood instead. I’ve wandered over to the elementary school and the Mormon Temple which is a good hike from our house when I was looking for adventure. I started traveling to find certain flowers like the fried-egg poppy as a destination for my litter picking walks https://drplasticpicker.com/dr-plastic-pickers-thoughts-the-age-of-in-betweenness/. I have noticed more backyard birds like the Yellow Warbler or it may have been a lesser finch perched high on the electrical wires with a beautiful blaze of yellow against the blue sky. I was walking with Mr. Plastic Picker at the time.

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Hummingbird I noticed at rest. Have you ever seen a hummingbird at rest?

It is just past 5am, and I am sitting in our kitchen in the dark except for the light of this laptop. There was also a small flame from the stove and it’s brief illumination, because my father-in-law made his cup of morning coffee. He heats the water on our gas stove in a small pot. He has gone back to his room now, and it’s just me with this laptop and my coffee and minimal light. I used to turn on the small overhead light above our coffee area, but I worry about the insect apocolypse and artificial human light disrupting insect circadian rhythm. So I type in the dark with minimal light.

I can hear the crickets outside our screen door. I know my makeshift birdhouse made from an old shoebox is just outside as well. It’s a funny little thing covered in small round plastic images of past presidents, that I cut and glued on from my favorite mousepad cover that Mr. Plastic Picker wanted to throw away. Now I get to look at those presidents still when I check my upcycled birdhouse. For some reason that birdhouse brings me so much amusement. Mr. Plastic Picker bought the premium birdseed for $20 and the actual birdhouse is made from things that were about to be discarded, a broken hanger, a cardboard shoe box, the plastic mousepad cover, a cardboard image of a Kodiak bear that adorns our pancake mix all hot glue gunned together. When I first sprinkled birdseed on top and then inside the birdhouse, I was unsure if any birds would come to my Upcycled Presidential Bird House (Feeder).

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