Reduce/Reuse/Recycle – Dr. Plastic Picker
 

Category: Reduce/Reuse/Recycle

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.

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Lettuce watered by collected rain water.

April 12, 2020

by drplasticpicker

It has been a wet spring in Southern California, and our rain barrels have been overflowing. The country is still under COVID-19 quarantine orders, but I have been gratified that this blog has seen an uptick in traffic – hopefully providing everyone with some entertainment. This has motivated me to keep on writing. Anyway, our rain barrel makeshift collection system caught 395 gallons of water yesterday. My mother-in-law will use it over the course of the next few weeks to water her garden. Her garden is truly a work of wonder where in the normal sized front yard she is able to yield enormous amounts of lettuce, kale, onions, tomatoes, lemons, and different varieties of squash.

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Proof of the Reusable Grocery Totes!

January 30, 2020

by drplasticpicker

I am so happy this morning. I was feeling a bit overwhelmed last night. Many things are happening and I am trying to help the earth, but suddenly I have this opportunity to interact and help amazing pediatricians who were environmentalist and have some real-effect on carbon emissions. As I was going to bed, I sent off one last email to a medical mission trip that needs a pediatrician to go to Mexico. But there are plenty of folks who love and need to do that work. It will energize their souls like it did mine when I went to Peru to do similar work. I offered names of some of my colleagues who are looking for that opportunity and want to go on that specific trip. There is an infinite amount of work that needs to be done, but I have never been one to need to be front and center and if someone else wants to do it – why not? I am hoping they will let her go. If not, I will go. But I have so much to do for the earth. And right now not many pediatricians want to pick up ocean plastic. So I feel the calling to focus on this plastic picking work. But I think my new hobby is going to become super popular!!! Here is why.

Original winner of our drawing content. My patient Daniela.

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37 perscription glasses and sunglasses deployed back into the environment. Another project done. Photo credit by drplasticpicker.

January 2, 2020

by drplasticpicker

October 5, 2019 I found a pair of round aviator like sunglasses that were in good condition. Just a bit of rust on the side that was easily cleaned off. Our middle school daughter used them for her WWII-era pilot costume. The rest of her Halloween costume was clothing we had at home, mostly her grandmother’s, and Goodwill Finds. She used the glasses three times for Halloween themed events, and then deposited them into my glasses donation bag.

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Super cute personalized hydroflask belongs to Lead RN.

December 31, 2019

by drplasticpicker

Today I had great fun subbing in at one of our other pediatric clinics. Someone needed to be on sick leave, and I moved myself from my home clinic to our “sister” clinic. It usually does not make sense to move a paneled doctor to another clinic, because a paneled doctor has their 2000 patients to care for. But in this case, we were stealing from Peter to pay Paul and evened out the staffing numbers. One of my patients found me but otherwise I was seeing other people’s patients. I don’t mind so much because I need to check in with the other physicians and nursing staff as a middle manager. It’s fun once in a while to sit at someone else’s desk and have a different lunch routine.

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Overflowing trash receptacle from a random vacation rental. Photo credit by drplatsicpicker.

December 29, 2019

by drplasticpicker

It has been hard to silence the siren call of consumerism during the holidays. But on December 7, I declared on this blog “My plans to have a GREENER Christmas season,” and listed concrete actions we were planning on taking https://drplasticpicker.com/drplasticpicker-is-not-judging-anyone-my-plans-to-have-a-greener-christmas-season-just-do-what-you-can/ So how did our family do? The above picture is of a garbage bin I snapped while Mr. Plastic Picker was driving around lost. I only picked up 5 plastic bottles and 2 aluminum cans during our Christmas vacation trip. I focused mostly on reducing our trash footprint while we were is Utah’s beautiful aspen forests. It is so easy to be wasteful on vacations. We tried to treat this vacation destination like our own home and continued our waste reduction efforts.

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Plastic lanyard and celebratory plastic thingamigiggy. Photo credit by drplasticpicker.

December 21, 2019

by drplasticpicker

This post is 1 week late, but better later than completely forgotten! Having to be accountable to our blog readers is great. There are so many made-up tasks we have given ourselves in life, but at least the tasks I have assigned myself through drplasticpicker.com have environmental positives. We are about to leave on our road trip from Southern California to Utah. This trip will entail a different series of blog post – so I want to mentally close out what happened in Newport Beach. Plus, my mother-in-law (who I love and respect) is annonying me slightly and writing is a good way to let off steam. Mr. Plastic Picker’s parents live with us and we get along 99.9% of the time, but it’s been 15 years and once in a while my mother-in-law and I will annoy each other.

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A young pediatrician’s child, having a plastic-free breakfast with her Squeasy Gear. Photo credit by her mother.

December 19, 2019

by drplasticpicker

So much of life and career success is about timing and support. Many of the reasons why I am in middle-management is that I had my children with Mr. Plastic Picker relatively young while in residency and fellowship. I’m in my 40s, and while many of my same-age physician cohort still have young children – mine are older. I have more time and energy to focus on work (and plastic picking!) It is the nearing the week of Christmas. I remember as a young physician being stressed this time of year trying to arrange for childcare or school camps, coordinating work-schedules with an even busier physician spouse, trying to cover a half-staffed clinic, trying not to get sick and still being there for my own children. Mr. Plastic Picker and I just hit 10 years with our organization. This milestone reminds me how important it is for us to support our younger colleagues.

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Christmas Tree at the super fancy Newport Beach Hotel. Photo credit by drplasticpicker.

December 15, 2019

by drplasticpicker

I am writing to you from the far off lands of Newport Beach, California. Mr. Plastic Picker and I are at a corporate meeting for our organization to celebrate 10 years.  We are staying at a super fancy hotel where they have valet parking at $30 a night, but the hotel room is covered as are our meals for the day’s programs.  Ten years ago when we started with this organization, the corporate rah-rah and indoctrination used to scare me. Others would ask me half in jest, “Did you drink the kool-aid?” But in all seriousness, all large organizations have similar models and I do believe that ours is more egalitarian. I do believe that here independent thinking is encouraged if you work through the system. I have been able to enact positive changes as a middle manager. But I remain in my heart drplasticpicker wanting to take my own path. But I am here, and I will partake and enjoy. We will sit with our friends who started as young physicians with us together 10 years ago and hear about how the corporation will take care of us.  But I will be thinking the entire time, how can I take care of the earth?  Because in the end, we cannot rely only on large organizations but also must make the changes within ourselves. 

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I had another picture originally here but the facebook link expired.

December 10, 2019

by drplasticpicker

Wow amazing. More of Dr. JP’s creations. Photo credit by Dr. JP.

The above stainless steel water bottles were personalized by Dr. JP who teaches multiple levels of advanced physics at a local high school. When I saw these pictures on his Facebook Feed, I immediately asked him if I could use them for this blog and he was kind enough to readily agree. He wrote, “I think in 20 years, we will all look back on how much plastic and styrofoam we used and think, ‘What in the hell were we thinking?!? A disposable bottle every time we got thirsty?’ ” Indeed Dr. JP, you are so wise.

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