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March 26, 2013

Meet Ericka, My New Intern!

 

For nearly 6 years, My Plastic-Free Life has been a one-woman show.  Wait.  That’s not right.  This blog would not exist and would have no purpose and probably no content without all of you.  But what I mean is that in terms of actual blogging, responding to emails and blog comments and forum posts and challenge participants, keeping up with social media, scheduling interviews and talks, and doing all of the other work involved in keeping this ship afloat, it’s just been me.  And I still have to do my accounting job to keep a roof over my head.

erickapicSo it is such a relief to finally have some help this summer.  I met Ericka Alicea a few years ago after giving a presentation on plastic-free living for a class at San Francisco State University.  Ericka will be all over this site, moderating and responding to comments, posting in the forum, responding to email, and conversing on Facebook and Twitter and other social media sites.  She’ll also be working with me to get a Trader Joe’s campaign off the ground finally.  (Yay!)

Here’s a little about Ericka in her own words:

Greetings! I’m Ericka Alicea, Beth Terry’s new intern. I’ll be helping out with managing her blog, myplasticfreelife.com. I’m currently a student at San Francisco State University where I’m majoring in Geography; my focuses are environmental studies, renewable energy and sustainability. I first met Beth when she gave a talk to my ‘Geography of Garbage’ class. Yes, this is a real class and I wish everyone had the opportunity to take it. I run into plastic challenges everyday and enjoy learning new ways of limiting my plastic consumption and becoming a better steward of the earth. Besides being a student I’m also a home brewer, snowboarder, weight lifter, and dessert maker. I look forward to interacting with members of the blog and hope for the opportunity to even meet some of you.

Please welcome Ericka and leave a comment with any words of encouragement or questions for her.



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64 comments
rmm635
rmm635

Thanks for all you're doing, Beth.  I'm trying to find the section where you ask about starting a campaign re Trader Joe's use of plastic to forward to a friend who shops there.  Please advise.

shelleyshell7
shelleyshell7

Hi!  I have been avoiding many plastics for several years now and gradually making changes.  Now that I have started to read Beth's book, "Plastic Free" I am even more aware of everything that is plastic in my house and am wondering about not replacing plastic items.  I wonder if there is an alternative to a plastic bottle brush?  I really need one and I'd rather not buy plastic.  Any suggestions?  Thanks for all this inspiration!

Peggy Mastrude
Peggy Mastrude

At 82, I have for the past 40 years (living in California - move from New York City) using paper, cardboard, and cloth carrying devices, recycling my small pans of daily dishwater into the garden, scraps to the worm compost, vegetarian since age 9 for animal respect, indirectly from that a cancer survivor of 20 years,  respecter of universal consciousness among humans.  My sense is that fellow beings really want our planet to be cared for.

Not everyone can stop using products now in plastic.  However, Green Design, BeGreen, Green Products, to name a few already have biodegradable containers.  Can your staff begin with contacting producers of foods in plastic, and persuade a major industry to change to biodegradable packaging - As with the Pharmaceutical Index created recently, everyone wants to be first on the "bandwagon." Competition has its purpose.  Some company will respond  to putting their products into biodegradable containers, and others will follow.  Lloyd Atler has had success with his Planet Green program of simple and small.  You will be successful with your efforts.



Jen Blecha
Jen Blecha

Hey Ericka - this is fabulous!  I'm so proud and happy that our Geography of Garbage class inspired you and helped make this connection with Beth.  You probably know she's coming in to speak in our class next week. This is really exciting - good for you for pursuing this internship. I'm sure you'll be a tremendous help to Beth.  - Jen Blecha, SFSU Geography


Joyfully Green
Joyfully Green

LiveFyre is being wonky and deleting my posts--I've had to rewrite it a few times--sorry, Ericka for any double posts!

Joyfully Green
Joyfully Green

Hi Ericka,

I wish I could take a course in the geography of garbage (as I'm a bit obsessed with the garbage problem--I wrote a blog post called "The Myth of Throwing Things Away" and extensively reviewed Beth's book as well as Elizabeth Royte's Garbage Land). Can you list any books you've read for the course that you'd recommend? (BTW, here's the link to the post mentioned, in case you care to take a look: http://www.joyfullygreen.com/2013/01/the-myth-of-throwing-things-away.html)

Joyfully Green
Joyfully Green


Hi Ericka,

I wish I could take a course in the geography of garbage (as I'm a bit obsessed with the garbage problem--I wrote a blog post called "The Myth of Throwing Things Away" and extensively reviewed Beth's book as well as Elizabeth Royte's Garbage Land). Can you list any books you've read for the course that you'd recommend? (BTW, here's the link to the post mentioned: http://www.joyfullygreen.com/2013/01/the-myth-of-throwing-things-away.html.)

Cheryl
Cheryl

Ericka-  What's your opinion about washing (www.lifefactory,com) the Life Factory glass bottle tops in the dishwasher?  

Eve Stavros
Eve Stavros

Welcome Ericka!  I'm sure Beth is stoked to have you on board and I look forward to your posts & "meeting' you through the blog.  As a dessert maker, perhaps you can give us some plastic-free tips for desserts.  I find some ingredients, like chocolate, cream cheese, most flavorings, are hard to find plastic-free alternatives.  I have managed to make a plastic-free tiramisu & posted it somewhere around here... Anyway, welcome!  Eve

Listy13
Listy13

Congrats Ericka

-Listy

Clif
Clif

The few, the proud, the geography majors! I am one too - University of Arizona 1972. Since that was some time ago, I pass the torch to you.

Ericka Alicea
Ericka Alicea

Melissa Brown Actually I'm a dessert maker ;) I wish knew how to sew more than just small holes and buttons.

H on Lorelei
H on Lorelei

Hi and welcome Ericka. I am also trying to reduce plastic and stuff in general. I've raised two kids, and wish I had learned all this 20 years ago!

Penelope
Penelope

but those plastic shoes....

Eco novice
Eco novice

Welcome, Ericka! I'm so happy for Beth to have some help to manage her plastic-free empire.

the_leaky_pen
the_leaky_pen

Hey Ericka! Welcome to the blog; and congrats to Beth for having some help! 

I look forward to seeing how the blog grows and changes now that there's two of you. 

My university's Sustainability Studies department was one of the first things to get slashed in the most recent round of budget cuts, which is very disheartening, but I'm still trying to cut down on plastic wherever I can.

Plastic-Free Ericka Moderator
Plastic-Free Ericka Moderator moderator

@shelleyshell7   Good job on making changes, gradual is best so that this new lifestyle doesn't feel so overwhelming. Can you tell me what you use the plastic bottle brush for? That might help give me ideas for an alternative. 

Plastic-Free Ericka Moderator
Plastic-Free Ericka Moderator moderator

@Peggy MastrudeI appreciate your comment and find it so comforting knowing others have been living a green lifestyle long before societies current environmental awareness begins to reach momentum.

Plastic-Free Ericka Moderator
Plastic-Free Ericka Moderator moderator

@Joyfully Green  Hey, nice blog! Garbage Land is a great book. I'd also recommend Gone Tomorrow: The Hidden Life of Garbage, by Heather Rogers. Two other books I've read for my geography classes that I really enjoyed were Planet of Slums by Davis, M. and The Long Emergency by Kunstler. 

BethTerry
BethTerry moderator

@Cheryl Hi Cheryl.  The Life Factory caps are made from polypropylene.  As with all plastics, I would not subject them to high heat.  My personal opinion.  We don't know exactly what additives are in it.

hannah
hannah

@Eve Stavros Do you mean unsweetened chocolate? I always find chocolates in bulk at the co-op. Cream cheese you can make easily yourself! Either get (raw) milk and let it sit at room temp until it separates, or you can make yogurt (or buy if you have a plastic free-alternative) and strain it to get the right texture. They both don't taste just like store bought, but they are both better IMO and I'm sure would be great for baking.

Plastic-Free Ericka Moderator
Plastic-Free Ericka Moderator moderator

@Eve Stavros   I must find how you managed to make a plastic free version of tiramisu since I haven't found a non plastic version of mascarpone cheese. I love your idea of providing plastic free dessert recipes. I have tons of tips and am happy to share. One strategy I use is buying all of my flours in bulk as well as sugars and spices. Do you have a particular dessert recipe in mind?  

Plastic-Free Ericka Moderator
Plastic-Free Ericka Moderator moderator

@Clif   YAY Clif! I'll gladly take thy torch and hold it proudly! I enjoyed every minute of my geography education and look forward to working in this field. Did you end up working in some type of geography related field?

Plastic-Free Ericka Moderator
Plastic-Free Ericka Moderator moderator

@H on Lorelei    Thank you for the warm welcome! My sister who is expecting her second child is running into many plastic dilemmas. I receive weekly phone calls from her asking for plastic alternatives.

Plastic-Free Ericka Moderator
Plastic-Free Ericka Moderator moderator

@Penelope   Yes, they are in fact made mostly from plastic. I did however buy them used from Ebay.

rmm635
rmm635

@Plastic-Free Ericka Moderator @rmm635  

 many thanks, Ericka.  the one from 2012 is the one i was looking for.  doesn't look like the campaign got started; please let me know if it has.

 keep up the good work,

Risa

Eve Stavros
Eve Stavros

@hannah @Eve Stavros Thanks, Hannah.  I make mascarpone, which I guess I could use instead of cream cheese, since it's pretty thick.  My homemade yogurt I end up eating before I can strain it for baking use!

Clif
Clif

@Plastic-Free Ericka Moderator @Clif Alas, I was lured into television broadcasting. My geography degree always made me the go-to guy on any trip where map reading was needed - but now with GPS I'm the loneliest guy in town.  : (

EcoCatLady
EcoCatLady

@Plastic-Free Ericka Moderator Ha! It didn't register with me that they were made of plastic... but what are they? They look like some sort of bizarre pogo-stick shoe contraption... Like blade runner feet for people who actually still have both legs? Anyhow... is it a fitness thing? I'm dying to know. Looks like a sprained ankle to me! :-)

the_leaky_pen
the_leaky_pen

@Plastic-Free Ericka Moderator Stony Brook University. To clarify, the department still exists, but it used to be much larger (and even had an entire separate campus in Southampton devoted to Sustainability Studies). Now it's operating out of a small office in the library on the main campus. 

rmm635
rmm635

@Plastic-Free Ericka Moderator @rmm635  

thanks for sending it but i'm not able to sign it because i'm not a FB member.  i looked for it online yesterday and was taken to petitions that have already closed.  please let me know if there's a non-FB way to sign it.  regards, risa

EcoCatLady
EcoCatLady

@Plastic-Free Ericka Moderator @EcoCatLady Holy Moly! What a riot! It does look like fun, but I think I'd still be afraid of coming down wrong - of course I'm terrified of roller blades for the same reason!

Anyhow, welcome! I look forward to future banter! 

Plastic-Free Ericka Moderator
Plastic-Free Ericka Moderator moderator

@EcoCatLady  Yes, these strange contraptions are actually meant for your exercise enjoyment. Each boot weights 5lbs so you exert more energy with each step. The bottom of the shoe has a spring which makes you lift up fairly high. It's a strange feeling, euphoric even and you actually don't feel unstable. Check out this video to see Kangoo Jumps in action: 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKfRfoChNQ0

Apparently Kangoo Jumps are great for people with bad knees as they lessen the strain on your joints. 


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