Burford Reiskind Blog on Reiskind Plastic Reduction Effort

Wednesday April 25, 2018

A personal journey to rid our home of plastic consumption!

The Reiskind family is working on becoming plastic free in 2018 and as we begin this journey we decided as a family to blog about it. This is something that is a long time coming and my hope is that through our journey we inspire more people to join us as other families have motivated us. The kids, Christina 10 years old, Gabriel 8 years old, and James 4 and a half are on board. This morning James asked me “what about milk mom? Are we going to get cardboard milk?” No, those are lined with plastic so we will have to get our milk in bottles. Gabriel pointed out that the bottled milk has a plastic top. This is the moment where I had to level with the kiddos that I was striving to be as plastic free as possible. A couple of things that kept me up last night, dental floss and cheese. Surly there are other things that I should be worried about, but this gave me pause. As most people know I’m a hyper flosser, I could probably spend a whole blog on flossing but I’ll spare you, and well, we eat a lot of cheese. What can I possibly floss with. The first thought, is there has to be bamboo floss, right? I mean there are bamboo plates and utensils, what about floss? Cheese, I can figure out cheese, I’ll just buy a huge round and store it in my walk in closet, that’ll be easy right? Okay, though seriously, I might be able to work out something where I bring my own beeswax wraps and ask them to cut the cheese (please don’t laugh, what are you 3?). There is sliced cheese at the counters that they wrap in paper, so I can also do that. While there are many things I need to work out and likely more nights that I’ll be up trying to figure out a solution. Our goal is by December of this year to have a full on “no plastic” zone in our house. There is a ton of information online. All you have to do is type “plastic free” in google to see what I mean. To start, I found this helpful: https://myplasticfreelife.com/plasticfreeguide/

But here is what we’ve done so far…

We are replacing all plastic wrap and sandwich bags with biodegradable beeswax wraps and cotton wraps and washable bags. There so many options on amazon.com that I actually got a few brands and will let you all know which ones we like best. We are making our own yogurt (we got a yogurt maker for a wedding present and stopped using it 5 years ago when we moved to Raleigh, NC). And we now have mason jars for bulk goods and cotton mesh bags for wet produce. We are replacing plastic reusable cups with stainless steel cups and plates for outdoors and camping and I bought a bunch of stainless steel metal straws. We have a pasta maker (yes we eat a ton of pasta) that we’re pulling out of deep storage and beginning to make a list of other things that come in plastic. We have containers that we will bring with us for packing take out or left overs at restaurants. We will not buy any synthetic clothing, but what else?!? Here’s two things we’re working on to reduce plastic:

  • Toiletries
  • Anything delivered from Amazon

When Gabriel was little when he wanted something he said, “just call Mr. UPS and have him pick it up in the Amazon!” Yes, I was stuck in Stillwater, Oklahoma with a toddler and no easy place to get the things I wanted. We had a lot of stuff delivered to us and my right hand was sore from pushing buttons to buy stuff from Amazon.com. Truly I should have bought stock in that company. Diapers, food, stuff for the kid. I had mad online shopping skills. I also hate to go into stores and shop for anything, so it was a real win win. But, our carbon footprint was off the charts. Here in Raleigh, NC, there really is no reason for me to exercise that Amazon.com muscle any more. I can get what I need locally and do without what I cannot buy.

More soon about the Reiskind Plastic Reduction Efforts!


About the Author:

Martha is the Director of the Genetics & Genomics Scholars graduate program and an Associate Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at NC State. She investigates evolutionary process of how species respond to rapid changes in their abiotic or biotic environments.