Reduce/Reuse/Recycle – Dr. Plastic Picker
 

Category: Reduce/Reuse/Recycle

Wow. Who knew we had so many board games?

January 3, 2020

by drplasticpicker

I spent the last week decluttering the house. Well, not actually decluttering but rearranging and trying to find more space. It all started when my younger brother had a leather office chair almost new that he passed down to me, and a shoe rack. I showed the picture of the chair to the kids, and they both wanted the chair. So began, this round robin of shifting furniture and decluttering to find out where that chair fit into our lives.

The chair ended up in my room, because the back is a bit too extended for the kids’ comfort. For now with a large body pillow draped behind it, it’s the perfect ergonomic position for me. My chair ended up in my daughter’s room, as she had always liked my office chair. Then her chair ended up in the game room built-in office space, and that chair ended up back in our master bedroom where I was trying to create a reading nook/yoga space. Then I realized that the large fancy leather Costco Euro-Lounger in our bedroom reading area should go into the Game Room. The bunnies were permanently moved from the Game Room onto the adjacent balcony that has a weatherized hutch. They have a huge space out there, and I have no guilt about permanently moving the two thriving bunnies outside.

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Beautiful Green Aerobin 400. Thank you Dr. Young HoYoon for inspiring our family!

October 29, 2020

by drplasticpicker

It has been one of those off-odd weeks again. I had the motivational talk at Sustainable Healthcare Project at VCU, testified at the County Board of Supervisors re dangers of vaping, and then attended as part of the AAP the National Children’s Health & Climate Leadership Forum. Then I had a 12-4pm virtual work meeting where we reviewed some pediatric projects. I’m really excited about this video well teen visit for MediCAL patients that we are piloting. I asked if it would be okay if I tried to write it up as a paper and everyone was enthusiastic. It’s really innovative. Plus I want a real publication if I am serious about starting a climate change and health pediatric fellowship program, because I want to be fellowship director. There were the usual annoyances at work with upper upper echelon management people, and then there was that annoying HR (actually 3) issues that are resolved but still bother me. I just go to work and not telling people my business. I just tell my real friends and Nurse L and living my drplasticpicker life. I was so happy to help along with San Diego Pediatricians for Clean Air to get that anti-flavored tobacco bill passed. I didn’t do my usual running up and down the hallway celebrating, although it was such a big win. I honestly think everyone who has a teenager should give me $5. Your are welcome! I just saved all of us a lot of headaches, literally. I’m just kidding about the $5. But everyone should realize that we all need to pitch it to change laws or pick up trash. Most people do, but the few that glaringly benefit from all the good changes positive people try to make but then continue to be petty at work – I have deleted you from my mind. Yes that is how I deal with that. I just delete them. Gone. Okay, I will never mention this again.

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“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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