February 2011 has been a wicked bitch, to put it bluntly. I spent most of this month in bed, sick as a dog. Then finally, with my own good health just around the corner, I got the phone call that my mom had finally passed away. She died at home last week, surrounded by most of our family, and while I didn’t get to be with her in her final hours, I’m grateful that I was able to visit last month and spend time with her. We are all sad but also relieved that she is finally free of that cruel Alzheimer’s disease.
I didn’t have energy to blog last week, and I probably won’t blog this week. But I’m grateful for my online family and the support that I’ve received so far on Facebook and via email from those who knew the situation. If you are inclined to show a gesture of support, my family asks that donations be made to the Hospice of the Chesapeake, the organization that was such a comfort in the last days of my mom’s… Read the rest
A common rant throughout the Show Your Plastic Trash Challenge is frustration over how to get restaurant servers or store clerks or delivery people to hear our requests for no plastic straw or cup or utensils or containers or bags or whatever and to actually honor our wishes. Several people are irritated to receive plastic packaging or utensils even after they clearly request not to have them.
Challenge participants have left ideas and suggestions for each other in the comments. Here are just a few. Let’s try to come up with more.
Marissa: Show a picture. I ask servers “Do you know how much plastic you use in a week?” Then I follow it up with, “I do and it doesn’t make me happy to know I’m contributing to this…” Then I pull out a cut out picture I found in a magazine of a sea bird with nothing but plastic in his belly! Yes, this may seem extreme but it’s worked many times. People never forget me either.… Read the rest
In my last blog post over a week ago (yeah, I’m still sick) I listed my favorite plastic-free cold remedies and pleaded for some cloth hankies to relieve my gushing nose. Thanks to all of you who chimed in. Reader Plastic-Free Citizen left a comment about HankyBooks, ingenious little organic cotton hankies bound together like books that are much neater (and cuter) than large handkerchiefs. So I contacted Leslie from HankyBooks to ask for a sample to review. Of course, I requested no plastic packaging or tape, which she happily complied with.
A HankyBook fits in the palm of your hand.
Its pages are stitched together like a book, which makes it much neater and easier to carry than a single hankie that you unfold and refold, or wad up and stuff in your pocket, as is often the case. And the book system keeps the snot inside instead of all over your stuff.
To use it, you open to a clean page and pinch the middle together to fit around your nose, as you would … Read the rest
Hacking cough, running nose, body aches and chills… these are just a few of the souvenirs I brought home from my trip to Florida last week. Fun times. So, anyway, I thought I would recap some of my favorite plastic-free cold remedies.
Vegetarian hot & sour soup in To-Go Ware tiffin
When I have a cold, my favorite treat is Chinese hot and sour soup. Living plastic-free, though, means that I can’t just pick up the phone and order it to be delivered. Lucky for me, Michael is usually on hand and willing to run down the street with our To-Go Ware stainless steel tiffin and fill it up for me. We’ve never had any hassle from either Chinese restaurant in our neighborhood — Great Wall or Becky’s Chinese — when we bring our own container, although the staff at Becky’s once tried to put the tiffin in a plastic bag. It’s got a handle. It doesn’t need any bag!
While on my trip this week, I visited Disney’s Animal Kingdom and discovered paper straws. Yep. Disney offers guests Aardvark paper straws at its Animal Kingdom park to protect the animals from ingesting plastic straws that, despite the Disney staff’s best efforts, might escape into the environment. (Unfortunately Disney uses plastic straws in its other parks.)
These paper straws are not the flimsy things we had in elementary school back in the day. They are sturdy and hold up until your drink is finished.
According to Aardvark’s web site, the straws are made from “a thick paper, then coated to protect them from liquid.” I wanted to know what that coating was, so I emailed the company. Their response: Aardvark straws are “made from FDA food grade materials (paper/wax/adhesive).” In addition, they are “biodegradable, compostable and made in the USA.”
As I mentioned on Monday, I’m out of town this week. But I don’t give my plastic-free habits a break just because I’m not at home. I have developed strategies over the years to avoid accumulating new plastic even while living out of a suitcase. Here are a few things I brought along with me on this trip to help:
1) Travel Mug
Water bottles are great, but for me a travel mug is eminently versatile. At the airport, I carry it through security empty and then fill up at a water fountain on the other side. I did hear that TSA has been screening insulated mugs a little more heavily lately, but so far I’ve had no problems bringing mine through.
It’s fine to bring water on the plane if you get it from within the secure area of the airport. And a mug is great for not only water but coffee, tea, or other beverages. I always use my mug on the plane instead of a plastic cup.
2) Reusable utensils
I carry a little set of reusable utensils in my purse or backpack… Read the rest