Five Plastic-Free Things That We’ve Accomplished During #stayhome COVID-19 Quarantine – Dr. Plastic Picker

Five Plastic-Free Things That We’ve Accomplished During #stayhome COVID-19 Quarantine

| Posted in COVID-19

The first trial at the bird house.

April 19, 2020

by drplasticpicker

I did write one non-Covid 19 post this weekend about parrots, which was very fun But even that post was tangentially related to Covid 19 because I only noticed the parrots because the single-use plastic gloves were around our neighborhood. That got me thinking about all the things that I have done only because of this quarantine. It’s almost the 6th week of our self quarantine, although Mr. Plastic Picker and I are still going to work.

Here is my list of the things that I’ve accomplished during #stayhome COVID-19 that I will always remember. We have many more months so maybe I’ll just keep on adding to this post.

  1. Star Trek Binge Watching: Mr. Plastic Picker bought CBS All Access and I asked him to buy the premium no ads access which was $8. It was worth it! I have always been a Trekkie but really haven’t watched much since high school. As a child, I had devotedly watch Star Trek the Original and Star Trek The Next Generation. I have now finished Star Trek Picard (1 season) and Star Trek Discovery (2 seasons). It has been great distraction at night for my time on the exercise bike! I just discovered there are seven seasons each of Star Trek Deep Space Nine and Star Trek Voyager! I rewatched some of the movies as well. Let’s just say I still have a lot of material to get through! This requires no use of plastic and no commuting.
  2. Rediscovered the Instapot: This has been amazing as well. About two years ago I started cooking with the instapot, and used mostly weight watchers/skinny taste recipes. But as you know, I’m trying to establish a good health routine which focuses on reducing plastic rather than adhering to any diet regimen. I have lost faith in the commercialization of health. Instead I am trying to lead a less plastic more environmentally centered life, and let health be a secondary consequence of that new focus in life. So, I am reloving my instapot! My friend Dr. Dear Friend had given my an Instapot cookbook and I joined a few fantastic Instapot cook groups. Very inspirational. I made Cháo, otherwise known as Congee or rice porridge, and it was sooooo easy. What have I been doing the last 40 years???!!! It has definitely helped me reduce the plastic from microwaved and packaged foods. Rice porridge is such a cost efffective food. Even with the price gouging a cup of jasmine rice runs $0.25, and one cup is enough to make porridge for our entire family of six for a meal. We use that to eat left overs from the day before. WOW. Talk about beign Financially Independent and Save the Earth!
  3. Teaching Our Daughter My Native Language: This has been a very fun project. I forget that I am fluent in my native language. I speak three other languages so just take it for granted. Our children get formal instruction in Korean from a retired language professor, and they are strong conversationally. We did not formally teach them my native language, because as young children it was getting too confusing. But our daughter has always picked up phrases here and there and has a very good accent and ear. So I began to formally teach her, digging out my old textbooks and discovering the new world of YouTube language videos. My sister is doing the same with my niece and nephew, and we are sharing resources. I even started a Facebook Page if you want to check it out! We have made decent headway. I relearned the microsoft word keyboard for my native language so can type and create fun lessons for her. Teaching is much easier now since there are a lot of fun youtube videos that I can show her as well. You can check it out at “Two-Sisters-Teach-Our-Half-Vietnamese-Children-Vietnamese.”
  4. Backyard Birds: Everyone out there must be noticing all the birds also? Urban birds are very important for our environment and there has been a dramatic drop in all bird species. Through plastic picking, I have come to love the shore birds of our little stretch of beach. But with the COVID-19 quaratine, I have noticed our backyard birds and urban birds that live in our neighborhood. I am still trying to identify them all. But I fashioned a fun birdhouse with a reused cardboard shoe box, a broken hanger, and bits and pieces of the cover of an old mousepad. That instagram post got 52 likes which is pretty decent. I was skeptical at first because I hadn’t seen much activity on that corner of the yard. But this morning, I spied a big crow eating the seeds that I sprinkled on top of the bird house! I was thinking of taking it down but will leave it for now. I am hoping smaller birds discover that the inside has nutritious seeds there for them. I may try to make another one this week. But even crows are birds and important to our ecosystem.
  5. Did a Financial Deep Dive: I have to admit that since I started blogging, instagram, and facebooking as Dr. Plastic Picker – I have not been keeping track of our finances as carefully as before. I figured our habits were hard-wired, and I let the credit card statement pile and bills becoming a bigger and bigger unorganized file folder. Everything was paid on time and I generally was keeping up with our net worth, investments, real estate property management – but I hadn’t been sorting out the detailed expenditures by category for our family. I use an Microsoft Excel Spreadsheet I made up years ago. It works. But I reviewed all of 2019 expenditures and our savings rate based on net income is 50%! Wow! We had always saved a lot of money, but it is amazing that being environmentally conscientious has boosted it a bit. I feel justified with our monthly environmental donations. This actually helped me stream-line a bunch of our bills electronically which saves paper and postage. I also recycled a bunch of paper. And I have committed to switching over our household accounting to QuickBooks. This has been a worthwhile way to spend the quaratine, and also reviewing our college savings plans, retirement plans and financial plans. We always keep the environment in mind with these decisions now.
I was imagining song birds, but the first bird I’ve seen is a crow! They are still birds right? Going to try to modify my bird house opening. Oh well, at least I did not hurt anyone. It’s made from all repurposed material anyway. Cost me $0!!!!

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2 thoughts on “Five Plastic-Free Things That We’ve Accomplished During #stayhome COVID-19 Quarantine”

  1. Dr. McFrugal says:

    It looks like you’re accomplishing a lot, Dr. Plastic Picker!

    Here’s a few things that I have noticed during this time of shelter-in-place and stay-at-home orders:
    1) Taking a walk around the neighborhood is so nice. We don’t have a beach to pick trash from, but there’s always a few pieces we pick up from the parks. And I met (again) a pediatrician couple that lives nearby. I’m pretty sure you know them too. Turns out I had first met them during a mission trip to Vietnam 6 years ago!
    2) Unfortunately this whole corona virus pandemic as made it harder to go plastic free and zero waste. I had been used to bringing our own reusable grocery mesh bags for bulk items and produce. But it’s deemed a risk for infection spread so we are compelled to use plastic bags instead. What a shame.
    3) We are exploring even more recipes at home and it’s fun. I’m glad you are using your instant pot again!
    4) Maybe your kids can talk to my daughter. She might be able to teach them some vietnamese LOL

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