January 10, 2011

Danielle, Week 4

Danielle's plastic waste

Name: Danielle

Week: 4

Personal Info:

Read about our family on my Week 1 post. Danielle shares her efforts to protect the planet on her blog “It Starts With Me.” Part of her New Years resolution is to take the challenge every week in 2011.

Total items: 14

Total weight: 2.5 oz

Items: Recyclable
None. Besides… those numbers don’t mean a thing.

Items: Nonrecyclable
Kitchen: 5 pieces

2 rings from milk jug caps
1 Yogurt container
1 small yogurt container
1 twist tie from Kale

Bathroom: 1 piece

Dental floss container

Misc.: 8

4 candy wrappers
1 lid
1 plastic thingie (??) from a shirt
1 plastic bag from magazine
1 mesh/net bag

What items can I replace with plastic free or less plastic alternatives?
I need to make my own yogurt!! I’ve tried and I’ve failed. But like bread, I just need to suck it up and do it. Ummm… coconut milk yogurt. I did make that– even used a fresh coconut!!–and it turned out fab!!

Lid: We went out for lunch and my son had leftover soup… we never have leftover soup!! It was so strange for me… I’ll be prepared next time!!

Candy wrappers: On a whim movie day. Normally have bulk candy, but I was out and we didn’t have time.

Magazine plastic bag: I cancelled the subscription and let them know why.

What items would I be willing to give up if a plastic free alternative doesn’t exist?
The magazine of course!! (By the way, when I spoke to customer service she said that I had “selected” a plastic bag (ha! never!!) and that she could switch me to a paper envelope. FYI for others :)

Mesh bag: I used to buy potatoes in mesh bags… haven’t in years. I saved all the bags and reuse them now as produce bags. This bag ripped a big hole in the side… so it’s days are through. :(

What items are essential and seem to have no plastic-free alternative?
Dental floss. I know about Ec0-dent… but cannot find it here. I’ll keep looking.

What lifestyle change(s) might be necessary to reduce my plastic consumption?
Plan ahead. Some days I’m awesome at doing this… other days… not so much. I’m working on it.

What one plastic item am I willing to give up or replace this week?
Candy and coconut milk yogurt.

What other conclusions, if any, can I draw?
Hmmm… I’m doing this challenge for 52 weeks. It’s going to be such an amazing year of growth and change… :)

5 comments
Danielle
Danielle

Ok, Rebecca... I'm going to do it... this weekend will be yogurt making time!!! Thanks for the step by step instructions!!

@Claire... next time one breaks I'll (attempt) to sew it... ;) I don't know why I didn't think of that!!! Thank you!! :D

claire
claire

if your mesh bag is the melted kind and not the woven kind (I hate those, they like to rain little plastic bits everywhere!), you might be able to sew it. I use those as produce bags too, they work well, don't add too much extra weight and are easy to wash (they're like plastic loofahs when you put soap on them!). just don't put bread tabs on them because they can rip the plastic.

Rebecca
Rebecca

Not sure if you'll see this or not, Danielle, but I went through fits trying to figure out how to make successful yogurt. Here's what finally worked.

1. Start with milk that is only lightly pasteurized as opposed to the super pasteurized variety that you get at most grocery stores. I've only tried this with whole milk so I'm not sure how it would work with the low fat variety.

2. Heat up a big pot of water to boiling and bathe 1 or 2 glass mason jars & lids in the boiling water to kill any germs.

3. Empty the water from the mason jar(s) and fill with milk. Submerge in the boiling water (up to their necks leaving the top open). Heat until the milk reaches 180 degrees F (82 C). Use a candy thermometer to get the temperature just right, and watch it like a hawk.

4. Remove jar(s) of milk from the boiling water (best to screw on the lid first) and submerge in a bath of cool water until the milk cools to 110-115 F.

5. Pour the boiling water into a camping cooler... not just a thermos, but a whole cooler, and add enough cool water so the temperature is at 115 F.

6. Add the culture starter to your warm milk, put the lid(s) on tightly and shake to mix thoroughly.

7. Submerge the milk filled jar(s) in the cooler full of warm water. Put the lid on the cooler and stick the whole thing in the warmest place you can find. I put mine in the closet where the chimney for the hot water heater goes.

8. Wait about 8-12 hours, and you should have perfect yogurt.

The only problem I've had with this method is forgetting that the yogurt was in the closet!

Best of luck!

Danielle
Danielle

hahaha.... the Flamin' Hot Cheetos!! Thanks Beth!! Right back at you!! YOU're amazingly inspiring :)

Beth Terry
Beth Terry

Some people fall for candy. Others fall for flamin' hot cheetos. :-) You're amazing.