Archive for January, 2012

January 24, 2012

Zero Waste “Jug Sunday” at Sutton Cellars Winery in San Francisco

It should go without saying that I choose wines bottled in glass rather than the new plastic-coated aseptic cartons that are growing in popularity. But glass has its drawbacks too. And wine-related plastic is about more than just the container. Not only do I have to look for wines with natural cork stoppers–as opposed to plastic “corks” or screw caps that are lined inside with plastic–I also have to consider the capsule–that antiquated wrapper around the neck and over the top of the cork. Historically, capsules were made from lead. Nowadays, they are made from tin, heat-shrinked plastic, or a polylaminate material that contains both metal and plastic. So I look for wines without any capsule at all. But although more and more vintners are selling wines capsule-free, they are still hard to come by. So I was happy to discover Sutton Cellars wine at the Paul Marcus Wine Shop right down the street from me.

Sutton Cellars… Read the rest

Read the full post.
January 19, 2012

Homemade Plastic-free Vegetable Broth from The Plastic-free Chef

The following is a guest post from 17-year old Mary Katherine from Mountain View, CA who has been participating in the Show Your Plastic Trash Challenge since October of last year and has done an incredible job reducing her plastic waste.  See her trash challenge posts here.  Recently, she started her own blog called The Plastic-free Chef to share her strategies for cooking with less plastic.  

My name is Mary Katherine and I’m 17. I love to cook. I love everything about it (except cleaning). I do most of the cooking in my house. My quest to banish disposable plastic from my life began in August in the toilet paper aisle of Safeway. My mum was going on about the wastefulness of the plastic wrap around the toilet paper. Something just changed all of a sudden for me. My mum always talked about plastic packaging, but we didn’t really do anything. Truth be told, I was apathetic and ignorant of the problem. Sure, we brought reusable bags to the store and… Read the rest

Read the full post.
January 16, 2012

Bittman’s Recipes for the Semi-Vegan — Plastic-free Style

Two weeks ago, food columnist Mark Bittman published ten Recipes for the Semi-Vegan in The New York Times Magazine along with photos that left many of us salivating.

What a great source of inspiration, I thought, for those of us who aspire to eat more plants and fewer animal products.   I, in particular, need help.  See, in May 2010, after reading Jonathan Safran Foer’s book Eating Animals,I resolved to stop eating meat. My reasons were personal. (You can read them here.) And I kept my resolution until the end of February 2011.

Then my mom died.

After the memorial service, my sister came home with a giant sack of Wendy’s cheeseburgers, Mom’s favorite food, and, dumping them out on the kitchen table, she announced, “Everyone must partake.”  I couldn’t refuse this ceremonial gesture.  I ate a cheeseburger.  And then another.  And then for the rest of my trip home it was all meat all the time.   Something… Read the rest

Read the full post.
January 12, 2012

2011 Plastic Trash Collection Wrap Up

As many of you know, 2011 was difficult and challenging for me in many ways. My mom passed away early in the year, and I didn’t really have time to truly grieve until after I finished the biggest project ever: writing my book. Plastic-Free: How I Kicked the Plastic Habit and How You Can Toois now available for pre-order on Amazon. (I’ll tell you more about the book in a future post.)

I kept collecting my plastic waste all year and just today have finally made the time to photograph and post the 2011 tallies. Surprisingly, and somewhat disappointingly, the total was almost exactly the same weight as last year: 2.11 pounds. Keep in mind that this number represents both recyclable and non-recyclable plastic because I don’t consider recycling to be the answer to the plastic problem. While recycling is necessary, reducing our consumption should be the first priority.

So here’s what the 2011 batch looks like. It all fits inside one… Read the rest

Read the full post.
January 12, 2012

September – December 2011 Plastic Waste Tally

6.7 oz Plastic Waste [6.7 oz new/0 oz acquired prior to June 2007]

Here’s the final tally for 2011.

Beth’s September to December 2011 plastic waste collection

New plastic waste (6.7 oz):

21 plastic envelope windows from various sources, including financial institutions that don’t offer online banking yet. Learn about what plastic envelope windows are made from.
Two prescription bottles and caps. Preserve’s Gimme5 program will accept the #5 bottles for recycling. But sadly, the state of California will not allow pharmacies to refill them, which would be the ideal solution to me.
Plastic bottle, cap, and foam seal from 1 bottle of BalanceIT cat food supplement. Read about our homemade cat food… Read the rest here.
Three mystery plastic baggies. Once again, I ended up with 3 mystery wrappers. Good thing I’ll be tallying my plastic weekly in 2012.
Three Bandaids. It’s been a year for cutting myself — accidentally.

Read the full post.
January 12, 2012

May – August 2011 Plastic Waste Tally

30.5 oz Plastic Waste [15.1 oz new/15.4 oz acquired prior to June 2007]

2011 was a busy year, and while I’ve been dutifully collecting my plastic waste, I’m just now getting around to posting it. Here’s the 2nd third of the year.

Beth’s May through August 2011 plastic waste collection

Plastic purchased before June 15 2007 and used up in May – August 2011 (15.4 oz):

1 pair dead flip flops. These are completely worn out, as you can see in this photo, and I have finally found a great pair of Feelgoodz natural rubber flip flops in the right size. The old flip flops can be sent to Feelgoodz for recycling. Read more about Feelgoodz flip flops here… Read the rest.
1 plastic spice bottle and lid. Still using up spices in plastic containers and filling glass jars from the bulk bins when I need to restock.
4 packets bonito dried fish. We gave it to the cats as a treat, as it seemed I was never going to use it in a recipe.
1 cracked acrylic bathroom cup. I keep

Read the full post.
January 5, 2012

My Un-New Years Resolution — Take the Simple Living Challenge

I sleep with my smartphone.

There, I said it. My virtual life is out of control. I am powerless over my addiction to checking email, Twitter, and Facebook. Listening to podcasts while playing endless rounds of Yukon solitaire. Googling the answer to any question that happens to pop into my head at 3am. I know I’m subjecting myself to radiation, and worse, I am robbing myself of much-needed sleep by staring at a bright screen into the wee hours of the morning. I need help.

As if reading my cluttered mind just in time for New Years Resolution season, Sonya from the Kanelstrand simple living blog sent me an invitation to participate in her Simple Living Challenge beginning in February. I need this. I need it like I need a hole in my head through which I can dump out all the unnecessary crap that makes me feel overwhelmed.

Join Me!

Simple living goes hand in hand with plastic-free living.  The less stuff we buy, the less plastic we generally consume.  … Read the rest

Read the full post.
January 3, 2012

The Trouble With Homemade Tater Tots

On New Years Day, I decided I needed some fried potatoes to go with the homemade ketchup my friend Mark and I had made the previous week. And not just any fried potatoes. No siree. I wanted the king of fried potato junk food goodness: greasy, crispy Tater Tots. But authentic Tater Tots come in a plastic bag, so I’d have to see if I could make them myself. As always, Google was right there with the answer. J. Kenji Lopez-Alt from Serious Eats had reverse engineered the tater tot and provided an easy-to-follow recipe, one that looked like it would win the Napoleon Dynamite stamp of approval.

But making homemade Tater Tots turned out not to be the plastic-free, waste-free process I had hoped for. I’ll explain what I mean further in this post. First, the recipe:

Homemade Tater Tots: Step by Step

Ingredients… Read the rest

2 pounds russet potatoes (I actually used 2 large potatoes, about 1-1/2 pounds)
2 quarts peanut, vegetable, or canola oil (I actually used

Read the full post.

Post Popularity Graphing by Knowledge Ring