Secondary Environmental Net Positives – May 2020
May 31, 2020
I just posted on my personal facebook page what I thought was a moving post about #blacklivesmatter. For the record Dr. Plastic Picker supports racial equality and equal representation for underrepresented minorities. I won’t post it here because I try to focus this blog on plastic and the environment. But when I reorganized the categories yesterday and tried to give them snazier names like changing “Interviews” to “Pediatrician & Eco-Warrior (Interviews),” I realized I have written a lot blogposts. One of the Secondary Net Career Positives from picking up now 198 bags of plastic and writing almost 200 blogposts is I am able to communicate my thoughts more effectively at work. I had to write a few longer pieces for work recently, and it was easy to write and those pieces flowed nicely. This is a very important skill.
Another Secondary Net Health Positive (I love being able to coin my own random phrases here), is that we have been eating more plant based, vegan, vegetarian meals and the entire family is healthier. The blog started off after I became frustrated paying weight watchers $29.99 a month. I had lost weight but I felt horrible. I would rush to Vons to buy a rotissiere chicken and put so much salt on it because it was 0 points on weight watchers. I do not even like meat that much, but following that program made me obsess over food like I’ve never done before. I realized something was wrong and I had to rethink wellness. Now I concentrate on picking up bags of plastic either #litterpicking or #beachcleanups and reducing the plastic packaging in our food. Trying to eat more sustainable has led us to a more #vegan #vegetarian diet. Above is yesterday’s simple dinner, which was Beyond Meat, store-brand pasta, and fresh tomatoes from our garden. It doesn’t look that special but it was delicious, easy to make and filling. We ate at about 3pm yesterday, and in the evening I snacked on some left overs and chia seed pudding https://drplasticpicker.com/five-high-fiber-plastic-free-breakfast-ideas-for-toddlers/. I feel so much better and Mr. Plastic Picker has noticed. LOL.
But let us get back to this series’ category and away from my random tangents. Here are the Secondary Environmental Net Positives for May 2020. I have really come to love this series because it prompts me to make small changes for the environment. I knew I wanted to get to fifteen changes for the post, so I finished lining the kitchen shelves yesterday with reused plastic coated science poster on asthma that had been sitting in my office for five years! Now my office is cleaner and I’ve protected our nice custom built shelves from the spices and sauces.
List of 15 Secondary Environmental Net Positives (April 2020)
- Twenty Vegetarian Family Meals: This has been a big yet surprisingly easy change for us. We are trying to eat more vegan meals, but a bit of milk and especially cheese sneaks in here and there. We’ve incorported more vegetables to pair with Beyond Meat and Beyond Sausage products, more tofu and I have joyously learned to cook more beans. About half to a third of the milk we buy now is plant-based milk. Just Ecosia searched that eating a vegan diet can reduce our carbon footprint as an individual by 73% and reduce farmland usage by 75%! Wow. Definitely continuing on this journey. Plus it’s healtheir and I fit in all my old clothes. https://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/veganism-environmental-impact-planet-reduced-plant-based-diet-humans-study-a8378631.html
- Twelve Rolls of Bamboo Toilet Paper: Our Who Gives a Cr@p recycled toilet paper supply https://drplasticpicker.com/who-gives-a-crp-toilet-paper-coming-get-ready-for-covid-19-a-message-to-my-patients/ is still plentiful, but we did buy an additional 12 rolls of bamboo toilet paper as a buffer. No ancient Canadian forest being used in this household! Our toilet paper is for the most part all recycled or bamboo.
- Eight Showers Averted : Eight times I delayed a shower with the climate in mind. I think my shower lengths are average so probably 15 gallons a shower? This month I saved about 105 gallons of water by showering less. Given that the rare rainstorm will allow us to collect about 350 gallons of rainwater, conserving water is still a powerful tool.
- Five Plastic Bags Refused: No one is allowing reusable bags in the grocery stores. Mr. Plastic Picker and I refused five single use plastic bags at a recent grocery run because we just put the food in the basket. Then we transferred the food into the bags in the back of our car.
- Four Cups of Tea: I still do not love green tea in lieu of coffee. Coffee is still a joy for me. But in the evenings when I would sometimes drink another cup, I realize the refined sugar and caffeine is not good for me. So four times I drank jasmine tea instead of coffee this month, and the tea is a gift from my mother that I received years ago. It is nice to be able to drink down that supply. In total I have consumed tea instead of coffee 23 times, when I thought about the earth. I figure the carbon footprint of the tea (not boiling the water) is really zero because no one is going to drink that tea except for me, and I drink is plain without anything.
- Three Cartons of Non-dairy Milk: Three times we bought non-dairy milk instead of cows milk. This is mostly when we go to Sprouts. The consensus is that the kids prefer Chobani Oat Milk or Oatly Milk. Hemp milk was a bust. They don’t mind almond. I think we’ve settled on Oat Milk as a good substitute and after that Almond Milk.
- Two Bills Changed to Online: I have always used Farmers for my insurance. I have had the same insurance agent for over a decade. I am not sure why there are multiple insurances notices, but two more were changed to online.
- One Salvaged Toilet: This seems silly, but it was such an accomplishment for me! Just like cooking, I have learned to deep clean the house late in life. We do not have cleaning people which is not surprisingly since Dr. Plastic Picker believes everyone should clean up after themselves and raise their own children and stay married to one person. Our toilet is new, but there was this gross brown stain at the bottom. It was not poop but a hard water stain. I don’t think we would have replaced the toilet, but might have had a person come strub and clean it. There is carbon involved in bringing a person in or buying a new toilet. I don’t know what the carbon would have cost, but it would have cost me at least $100-150. It took me an entire afternoon with sandpaper, Mr. Clean scrubbing pad, multiple reused plastic bags, baking soda, apple cider vinegar and lysol – but my toilet looks brand new! And now I know how to maintain our toilets after using Ecosia to search. It is amazing how much is available on the internet. This was a proud moment in my life!
- One Salvaged Mouse Pad: A mouse pad only costs about $2-10 dollars. But it’s a piece of plastic no one is every going to reuse or repurpose except for the original purchaser. I have had this particular mousepad for several years and it had the faces of the US Presidents on it. The ends of the mouse pad cover had started curling up, and Mr. Plastic Picker wanted to buy a new one. I reused the plastic covering with the Presidents’ faces to make my Upcycled Presidential Bird House https://drplasticpicker.com/an-upcycled-presidential-bird-house/. After taking off the plastic cover, I just cleaned the mousepad well and it works fine. It just doesn’t have a cover, but what is a mouse pad? It’s just something that has to have some sort of texture that allows the light sensor to work.
- One Reusable Cup: I don’t remember when this was. But I put it on my list. I must have reused a cup at some point and given myself credit. I usually reuse cups. It must have been in the lunchroom, because there are often styrofoam cups there with the siren call of convenience. But I know that sytrofoam all ends up on the beach anyway.
- Two Week Delay Buying A New Toaster: We have a Hamilton four slice toaster. The right side no longer works. The left side 2-slices works fine. My father-in-law tried to clean it and fix it, but the right side still doesn’t work. But really, do I need a new one? I am giving myself credit for delaying the purchase. So two weeks we have lived fine with an effective 2-slice toaster. At least now it’s really clean.
- One Bidet: Mr. Plastic Picker bought his parents a bidet. They are the ones who bought the virgin pulp toilet paper from Costco mostly. So now they have a bidet and I buy recyled toilet paper. Yeah! We are still in discussion about a bidet for our toilet. These are delicate conversations. Literally.
- One Work Meeting Turned to Virtual: We have this reoccuring work meeting that is honestly very painful in person for various reasons. It is on vaccines. We did the first one virtual due to COVID-19 and it was great. I was able to pay attention to the slides. This meeting requires at least 7 people to come from all areas of our county, which makes no sense. I made a request to convert this permanently to virtual which was agreed upon. Wow. Just saved so much gas, paper (since the presenter won’t have to print things out), time and also my psychological health. This meeting in person was seriously painful. Do you have painful work meetings?
- One Old Research Poster Reused to line the Kitchen Shelves: This blog series definitely prompted me to get this done. I have had this poster in my office for five years. I paid about $100 to have it printed and this project helped someone get into medical school. But after five years sitting in the corner of my office, I realized it was better to reuse it. So this high quality semi-glossy poster paper now protects my built-in kitchen shelves from soy sauce. Yeah!
- Upcycled Bird House for my Mother: Okay. I need one more thing. I will do this today. My mother asked me to make her an Upcycled Bird House. I love my mother. I love birds. And I love upcycling things. It’s still COVID-19 quarantine, so what else is there to do? I’ll give myself credit for this on this month’s post.
So there you have it! Fifteen items. Plastic picking has made me cognizant of all the other changes we can do for the environment and these are this month’s secondary environmental net positives! I hope you stay positive as well dear readers.
Did you like this post? Click here to read April 2020 https://drplasticpicker.com/secondary-environmental-net-positives-april-2020/