February 21, 2011

Plastic Challenge: Danielle, Week 10

Danielle's plastic waste

Name: Danielle

Week: 10

Personal Info:

We are collecting our plastic trash for all of 2011. Read about our family on my Week 1 post.

Blog: It Starts With Me

Total items: 17

Total weight: 3.7 oz.

Items: Recyclable
We have recycling pick up at our home. We use our service mainly for paper and glass.

I’m listing these as recyclable even though they are downcyclable and I honestly have no idea where they end up…some underdeveloped country?? I hope not. (hmmm… I should call and ask.)

1 Sour Cream container (#5)
1 Tortelinni package (#7)

Items: Nonrecyclable
2 cheese wrappers
5 milk jug caps
5 rings from milk jug caps
1 bag from crackers
2 gardein packages

What items can I replace with plastic free or less plastic alternatives?
Tortelinni: make my own… though I would probably make ravioli instead.

Crackers: I’m letting my kids pick one item in plastic a week. I looked up how to make cheese crackers and will be attempting to make them the next time my kids ask for crackers.

What items would I be willing to give up if a plastic free alternative doesn’t exist?

What items are essential and seem to have no plastic-free alternative?
Ok… convenience does not have a plastic-free alternative. I usually pick one meal a week where I don’t worry about plastic. This week I had two and it was because I knew exactly what I wanted– cheesy tortellini. It was a spur of the moment thing and I completely caved to my craving. I hadn’t had tortellini, Parmesan, or mozzarella since way before September… it hit the spot and I know that it will be a VERY long time before I have it again… unless, of course, I commit to making the pasta myself.

What lifestyle change(s) might be necessary to reduce my plastic consumption?
I’m going to call a local Italian shop to see if they have Parmesan that I can get wrapped in paper. If I learn how to make my own tortellini and can get the Parm. the only plastic I’ll have from the meal is the mozzarella. <---I'll ask the Italian shop about that too.

What one plastic item am I willing to give up or replace this week?
Less milk. (we have company in town… so we’re going through milk faster)

Sour cream: we just used up the last of it from last week.

crackers, pasta and cheeses.

What other conclusions, if any, can I draw?
I really want to get back down to the week when I could fit all of our plastic for one week in the palm of my hand. I can do it… I know how… but I’m just not staying focused.

I’m coming to the conclusion that THAT is my learning experience from this challenge… really thinking and becoming aware to when I use plastics, being able to look back on the photos and see what I’ve used and find ways to plan and make lasting changes.

Please help…
Along with my tortellini craving… (now fixed)… I’ve been wanting to make manicotti for awhile now.

I can make my own pasta… BUT… all ricotta comes in plastic containers. Has anyone made homemade ricotta… or is there a plastic-free substitute for ricotta??

7 comments
Danielle
Danielle

I grate mine in my food processor... cutting as close to the edge as I can get and then chopping the Parm in chunks before processing it. Then I save the edge-- throw it in a jar in the freezer-- and put it in soups. YUM!!!

I was thinking that ricotta could be easy to make because one batch of yogurt that I made kind of looked like ricotta. It got me thinking that it could be easy.

Thanks for the link... definitely not ready to make my own cheese, but maybe that's because it seems like a lot of work. I'm able to get Hoop, Asiago, and Gouda without plastic... but I have to really plan ahead to get the cheeses specially cut and wrapped in paper. Hmmm... I think I'll place an order right now!!!

EcoCatLady (AKA Rebecca)
EcoCatLady (AKA Rebecca)

Ha! I'm having the same parmesean problem. Actually, cheese in general is a problem where plastic is concerned. I'll have to go on an expedition to see if there is a small deli or specialty shop that might be able to help.

BTW - does anybody have a good system for grating it, especially when you get down to the hard bits by the edge? I totally destroyed my food processor in the attempt (it's OK - I hated the food processor anyhow.) I finally just grated it by hand... it's just hard to do without grating knuckles too.

I've read that ricotta is easy to make... it's also called "farmer's cheese" sometimes. But I hate ricotta so I haven't tried it. I did find a site with all sorts of tools and instructions for making cheese (along with everything else you can think of.) http://leeners.com/ I haven't had the guts or energy to try any of it yet, but it seems possible...

Danielle
Danielle

Ahh... this is why I am loving doing this challenge!! It's like a team here... everyone has a common goal and we all have different experiences to help each other :)

...AND like anything... it's so much better together!!!

Thanks for the recipe... if I can find Parm without plastic... I'll definitely be making it!!! :D

Sabrina
Sabrina

Great cheese cracker recipe!

1 1/2 cup grated Parmesan

2 tablespoos flour

Oven 350 F

Grease a cookie sheet, place little piles of cheese mixture about an inch a part, I like a tablespoon to make the piles. Put in oven, cook til lightly brown, allow to cool and use a spatula. Yum!

Danielle
Danielle

I remember your story :) Lucky me, I know all about the grating disk on my food processor :) I also didn't put it in the tally, but I did purchase the biggest chunk of Parm that I could find. Also, I've been using Nutritional yeast for the past 8 months in place of parmesan :)

Bulk tofu... I don't think so. Though, I know my co-op packages it in plastic containers. I've been meaning to ask them if I can get it in my own containers...So I'll ask next time I'm in... thanks for the reminder!!! ...and yes yes yes to tofu ricotta!! :D

Rebecca
Rebecca

Homemade ricotta is very easy to make....I've made is several times...look online for receipes.

Beth Terry
Beth Terry

Hi Danielle. I know you can Google for ricotta recipes. I tried making cottage cheese a couple of times, and it just never turned out right for me. But don't forget, you're still gonna have those pesky plastic milk caps.

As for parmesan, I went out and bought an entire wheel of a parmesan-like cheese once. It lasted a really, really long time and made for a kind of funny story:

http://myplasticfreelife.com/2009/09/cheese-crazy-plastic-free/

Oh, here's another idea. Can you find tofu in bulk? Tofu is a good substitute for ricotta in lasagne or manicotti, I think.