Sunday, February 28, 2021

Miles' Plastic-Free February

For the last week of Plastic-February (PFF), we are featuring Miles Milliken, our Waste Prevention Program Coordinator! Read on to learn how he makes it work as a single guy, living in the valley, working two jobs.

Methow Recycles: How many people are in your family, and what are their ages? Do you have any pets?

Miles: One person - me. 28 years old. No pets.

Methow Recycles: What was the most difficult part of this challenge for you? 

Miles: The guilt – self-imposed – from using plastics that I know I don’t need (like energy bar wrappers).  The lack of reusable options during COVID, and the amount of packaging from take-out food have also made things challenging.

Methow Recycles: What was the easiest part for you?

Miles: I have figured out some good systems and products during previous PFFs.  For example, I own an Albatros metal razor, a Molly's Soap shave bar, a bamboo toothbrush, and David's toothpaste metal tube with squeeze crank, all from the Mazama Store. I've also learned how to portion and freeze food in serving sizes that make sense for me.

An example of some of Miles' plastic-free products 

Methow Recycles: Overall, has it been harder or easier than you imagined? 

Miles: Having done two PFFs, it’s how I live my life now. But taking the time to separate all of my plastic waste for a month has reminded me how much of it I still produce. Over the years I’ve noticed more and more products are being packaged in plastic. In addition, some companies are switching from recycleable forms of plastic like tubs, to nonrecyclable types of plastic such as pouches, which is unfortunate.

Methow Recycles: Are there any products that have made staying away from plastic easier? 

Miles: It's heartwarming to have local businesses serve to-go drinks in reusable mason jars, and for folks to send me out the door with a spare box for my meal instead of a bag just because they know I’m the “recycling guy.” (See below for an example from Miles' recent meal at La Fonda Lopez, which included a reusable mason jar cocktail, a reusable salsa tub, a reusable ziploc bag of chips, and a recycable box instead of a plastic bag for carry out.)

Methow Recycles: Did you find a plastic-free hack in the valley we should know about?

Miles: Attitude, that’s the best way to avoid plastic, and it's damn hard for a single person, living alone, working two jobs to always pull the glass, aluminum, or paper wrapped product off the shelf. Cocktails in mason jars are a nice treat, and then I have more containers for freezing food as well.

Wondering how much plastic Miles has accumulated over the past month? See below - not much at all! Pretty impressive!


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