July 17, 2012

Plastic Challenge: Paul Kane, Week 1



My biggest challenge is finding the time to make stuff like nut milks, tofu (which i’ve never made), cat food, toothpaste, soy yoghurt, etc. I guess if anyone has any tips on how they are able to juggle making whatever it is they make week after week to avoid plastic, I’d love to hear them (especially if you have children).

Location:Denver, Colorado, United States

Name: Paul Kane

Week: 1

Personal Info:

Hello! My name is Paul Kane. I currently live in Denver, Colorado and have been a Vegan since Sept 1992. I’m in a long term relationship (15 years in Sept) with my “Husband” (we can not legally marry YET in Colorado) Chris. We adopted a baby girl (Katya) 2 years ago- so we are a family of 3. I work part time (20hr) at the Denver Public Library. We have a small garden in our backyard, where we try to grow as much of our own food as possible. Living in Colorado, our farmer’s markets are more or less seasonal. Aside from those two options, we shop almost exclusively at Whole Foods which is about 1/2 mile from our House. I am the primary shopper for general household items and I try to shop at thrift stores almost exclusively. When I do purchase something new, I try to make sure it’s as green as it can be. Like most people on here, I want to reduce my plastic consumption and am always refusing items and constantly trying to find alternatives to reduce my plastic waste.

List of plastic items REFUSED this week. (Yay!)

Not sure if there was anything new this week that I already have been refusing.

Total items collected: 30

Total weight:

Items: Recyclable
5 Tofu Tubs
2 Milk Containers (Minus the caps)

Items: Nonrecyclable
1 Cat Food Bag
2 Milk Container Caps
5 Tofu Tub plastic covers
3 small plastic bags which housed a nail and hook for hanging artwork
1 plastic envelope window
5 pieces of tape from received mail
2 plastic pieces that made up a child proof lever on our utensil drawer (it broke)
1 plastic lid from an onion spice container
1 plastic pull top from a milk container (not sure what happened to the other one)
1 plastic cap from Nama Shoyu bottle
2 small neon green plastic beads I found randomly in our backyard.

What items can I easily replace with plastic free or less plastic alternatives?
milk cartons
onion spice container
possibly the cat food bag

What items would I be willing to give up if a plastic free alternative doesn’t exist?
milk cartons
possibly the Nama Shoyu bottle
possibly the tofu tubs

What items are essential and seem to have no plastic-free alternative?

What lifestyle change(s) might be necessary to reduce my plastic consumption?
none, that I can think of right now, except being more vigilant with regards to the mail and packages that are being sent my way

What one plastic item am I willing to give up or replace this week?
milk cartons, however Chris will continue to buy some milk cartons and if I run out of self made nut milks at some point during the week, I will find it hard not to use some milk from a bought container. I ran into that issue this week.

What other conclusions, if any, can I draw?
I need to find a better cat food option, which is going to be hard. We have 3 cats (1 of which is extremely picky) and I have tried to make cat food in the past with little success. I need to work on consistently making my own nut milks and look into making tofu and at some point attempt to actually make tofu.

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3 Comments on "Plastic Challenge: Paul Kane, Week 1"

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For nut milk I  soak 100gram of nuts overnight (I especially love walnut) .. Strain the next morning and grind in a blender, then add 2 dates,1 teaspoon of vanilla bean paste (pureed vanilla beans), and 3 cups of water, then whiz for 2min and strain through muslin .. That makes a liter and takes only 5 minutes of my time :)

Homemade tofu is really hard, as I understand.  I have found tofu in bulk in a couple of places where I live – a small Asian grocery and a non-chain natural foods store, so I can now bring my own container.  You might check the same type options in Denver – gotta believe that progressive city’s got similar options if my little town does. 

Hi Paul.  Welcome to the challenge!  One suggestion I have is maybe trying making milks that require less time?  For example, some things like cashew milk or hemp milk don’t even have to be strained.  You can drink them straight from the blender.  (Although, I do think you need to at least soak the cashews first.)
This is the cat food we make for our cats.  They love it:  /2008/10/less-impact-cats-eat-homemade-food/