For our FIRST ANNIVERSARY SPECIAL!, we're having a plastic alternative draft! There are so many potential plastic alternatives, ranging from metal straws to plastic-free toothpastes and beyond. In this episode, the TMATGL team drafts plastic alternative products…which are their favorites? Where can people get started if they want to explore plastic alternatives? Tune in to find out!
Creators & Guests
What is Teach Me About the Great Lakes?
A monthly podcast in which Stuart Carlton (a native New Orleanian) asks smart people to teach him about the Great Lakes. Co-hosted by the awesome staff at Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant.
Disclaimer: This is an automated transcript, we apologize for any errors. If you notice any problems, please email the show at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you.
Stuart Carlton 0:00
Let's like Waynesboro teach me about the Great Lakes. Teach me about the Great Lakes. John, welcome back to teach me about the Great Lakes. This is our first anniversary special. Yay. That's right. Exactly. One year ago today is when we launched to teach you about the Great Lakes and we're gonna celebrate that a little bit and follow up on some stuff and just have a good time and set up an amazing 2021 At least podcast wise the rest of 2021. I'll be honest, guilty until proven innocent. But I am joined today by a bunch of people Megan gun, one of our newest co hosts Megan, how are you?
Megan Gunn 0:33
I'm good. Stuart. How are you?
Stuart Carlton 0:34
I'm good to Megan is a Megan's magazine aquatic education associated with us. Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant. We also have Carolyn on Carolyn, what's up?
Carolyn Foley 0:44
Not much right now. Okay. Everything is going all right. Yay.
Stuart Carlton 0:47
We'll take it's only 115. We'll take it. That's Carolyn Foley. She is Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant, Research Coordinator. We're also thrilled to be glad thrilled to be joined today by one of our favorite guests, the guests from the very first episode of teaching about the Great Lakes Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant zone pollution prevention specialist.
Sarah Zack 1:06
It's all right. Yes, sir Zack, sir, how are you? Oh, I'm great. How are you?
Stuart Carlton 1:10
I'm great. I'm so happy to be celebrating this, this first anniversary episode after a nice, relaxing winter holiday. And here we aren't. And so we got a big rundown today. So we'll just go through it. What we're going to do is we're going to talk a little bit more about microplastics. With Sarah. She's done a lot of cutting edge sort of outreach and been involved associated with the whole microplastics issue in the Great Lakes. And so we're excited to talk about that. Some more with her. But if you want to for a little background, just go ahead and pause this and go to teach me about the great lakes.com/one And listen to Sarah's episode. It's a good one there also called nurdles, and we'll link to it in the show notes. But we're going to show notes. We're going to follow up on that. But first we want to introduce a brand new segment today called Great Lakes factoids. And like all great segments, this one starts with a theme song. It's a great lakes factoids, a Great Lakes factoid, it's a great factoid about the Great Lakes. Sara, I understand you have a factoid about microplastics. Hit me.
Sarah Zack 2:04
I do so given the theme of today's podcast, I thought it would be appropriate to talk about how much plastic enters the Great Lakes. So our factoid is that about 22 million pounds, which is 10,000 metric tons of plastic debris enters the Great Lakes every year from the United States and Canada, how much again 22 million pounds,
Stuart Carlton 2:30
wow, million pounds?
Sarah Zack 2:31
Kind of outrageous.
Stuart Carlton 2:34
It's a lot. And it's a lot. So do you know, based on your work is a lot of that from? Is that? Is that in microplastic form primarily? Or do you know,
Sarah Zack 2:42
it's both of the assets both. So it's microplastics larger plastics. And most of us this work was done by modeling. But, you know, no one can really go out there and measure millions of pounds of plastics. But yeah, it's sort of the the sum total of all of the plastic debris that enters degree,
Stuart Carlton 2:58
holy moly. That's a lot of plastic. Well, and with that, that actually brings us to our main our main deal today, which is going to be this organism a little bit different in celebration of your one. But what we did was we all over the last several months have been trying out all sorts of different plastic alternative products, right? Because one thing we talked a lot about on Episode One is the idea of these alternative products in the utility, you know, like, Are they good to use? Or why should you use them, even though they're 22 million pounds, obviously, you're not gonna make a dent in that. But but there's a lot of good reasons to use them. So we're going to talk about those today. But we're gonna do it in a different way. We're going to do it in the form of a draft. Alright, so let me explain how this is going to work. I have gone to our email@example.com and randomly selected an order. Well, I'll go last time the host, I'm gracious as you know, but so anyway, I will go less, but I've randomly selected an order for the draft. And what we're going to do is each person is going to pick one of the items, one of the plastic alternative items that they used and loved. And then we'll we'll talk about it a little bit. But once that pic is taken, it's off the board. So you know you're assembling your team of microplastic alternatives and I think we're gonna go through two rounds, probably. So it's, you know, you might want to be strategic you might not want to be but we'll talk about our experiences with them. And thanks to our firstname.lastname@example.org Sarah Zack, you are gonna go with the first pick. So what is your pickier?
Sarah Zack 4:17
So the favorite thing that I did was over the course of the past few months, I've been making my own foaming hand soap Oh. So you know, pandemic times right like hand soap shortage was a big deal. You know, soap shortages in general was a big deal and we're all being told wash your hands, wash your hands, wash your hands. And I have a six year old and a now 10 month old at home and so, you know, washing our hands was a very big deal to us. And so I found and there are tons of recipes online for this but you can buy castile soap, okay, there is a brand name associated with that that I won't
Stuart Carlton 5:00
refer to a brand new or interesting label. Yes,
Sarah Zack 5:04
yes. You know, large 32 ounce bottles of Castile soap and they make it makes about 30 bottles of drugstore foaming hand soap. So I already had some foaming hand soap bottles around, so I basically just cleaned them, and I've been reusing them for months. That's brilliant. I just fill up it's two tablespoons of soap, I add a tablespoon of almond oil so that our hands don't get dry. And then a little bit of water and just kind of gently shake it and then boom have a brand new thing of filming Hansel, it's worked fantastic. And I highly recommend it's like the Hippias thing that I do. It's like, every time I do it, I'm like, Man, I should have done this sooner because it's also super cheap. Real, it's so it doesn't because every one of those bottles is like four bucks. But you can buy a for Yeah, for a little thing of foaming hand soap. But you can buy a big thing of the Castile soap for like 10 While dollars and make 30 bottles of.
Stuart Carlton 6:07
So does it stay suspended? Like when you mix it all up? How does that? It does? Yeah.
Sarah Zack 6:11
So you have to kind of be gentle when you like cuz you shake it then you know just foams in the bottle. Yeah. And I think you know, like in the bathrooms? Where are the places where that doesn't get used as often, like every couple of weeks, I'll kind of give it a couple turns just to make sure that it stays mixed. You're exactly.
Stuart Carlton 6:30
Look at that. So easy, cheap. So that seems like it's largely just better all around, right? Yeah.
Sarah Zack 6:36
I mean, I,
Stuart Carlton 6:37
I'm really happy with Oh, that's a very strong first pick of the draft for you. So yours is making your own soap out of Castile soap. And I'm really cut back on your plastic bottle consumption. Love it.
Sarah Zack 6:47
Yeah, I mean, it wasn't done to save plastic, it was just a really nice byproduct of the whole process. So
Stuart Carlton 6:54
you're really reduced from and yeah, do you get to pick your own scent? I guess.
Sarah Zack 6:57
You can. Yeah, or like I have unscented soap. And I add essential oils to it right just for smart, which are expensive. Like that adds to the cost you don't have to do,
Stuart Carlton 7:07
but also adds to the fun. It does.
Carolyn Foley 7:11
So in theory, we're supposed to be allowed to talk about other things. So since Sara took foaming soap off the table, something that I've found was really cool is that there are actually companies that are sort of, you're not, you know, for the not quite do it yourself or they have like little pods. So they're trying to reduce the so you basically buy like the bottle one time, and then you buy pods, and then you mix them up in the bottle and stuff like that. That's been kind of interesting. So with
Stuart Carlton 7:36
the pods, they have like a little film around them like our dishwasher tabs do or what are they just kind of what are the
Sarah Zack 7:42
the ones that I've seen? I don't know about you, Carolyn, but the ones that I've seen are like pressed powder, almost
Carolyn Foley 7:50
interesting. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. So that's like, and that's not, I don't think it's nearly as cheap. I think it's more on the order of if you bought a bottle each time, but it's slightly cheaper than if you bought a bottle each time. And stuff like that. It
Sarah Zack 8:04
still saves an enormous amount of plastic. Yeah, cool. Exactly.
Stuart Carlton 8:08
Do they taste as good as the Tide Pods are not quite?
Carolyn Foley 8:12
Well, you know, I haven't ready
Stuart Carlton 8:12
to have some kids on kids. It'll be a second anniversary special, we taste a different detergent. All right. So with the second pick of the first round, we have Megan gun Meghan, what you got.
Megan Gunn 8:27
So I will preface this with I was born in 1990. Member razors like that wasn't a thing when I was growing up. Like it was just going and grabbing disposable razors from whatever nearby store and you just use a disposable razor and throw it away. So over the last few months, I found a safety razor, which I thought was this newfound thing but it's not. But it's amazing. It just it just sits by the shower and I can the the razor itself is metal, the blades are metal, they come in a they come with a little tin that you can just put the blades in after you're finished and you can send it back to the company and they'll make sure that it's recycled properly and you can order more razor blades but you can also just get them for wherever they sell safety razor blades. And so that was that was my newfound number one pick for the sustainability purposes and plastic free.
Sarah Zack 9:28
That's really cool.
Stuart Carlton 9:29
That is I've not ever felt much older than I feel right now. That's fine. No back. So we don't do a video podcast for reasons that are very apparent if you've seen me but I don't I'm not often in the razor market I guess. But when I was I used to love the replaceable blade razor things but but I didn't Yeah, mine wasn't so fancy and you can recycle it and all that you just throw in the trash and then got another one so this is cool.
Megan Gunn 9:57
Yeah. Oh, and that the even better apart, you can pick how many blades you want to have on it. So if you're like a one blade person, you can just have one blade. But if you like three like me, you can have all three blades on there and it's perfect.
Stuart Carlton 10:08
If you do want to say bleep it and go five blades, you can.
Megan Gunn 10:11
Yeah, maybe, but that'll be a little tough to glue on or something.
Stuart Carlton 10:17
Well, that's cool. Um, so, safety razors. Great. And do you find without getting too personal? Do you find it to be similarly easy to shave? Or is it a big challenge, or
Megan Gunn 10:28
I think it's easier. Well, so it's probably the same, but I shave more because I it's like it's sitting right by the shower. Now it's not in the garbage and I have to like, or search for a new one. It's always sitting right there. And there's no weird film on the razor itself because it's been like, wet and then dry, wet and then dry. Just use whatever soap is nearby is my aunt. I mean, that saves plastic to I'm not buying a bunch of weird cans or containers of shaving gel. You could just use which I always did anyways, you could just use whatever soap or conditioners nearby.
Sarah Zack 11:07
didn't freak you out the first time you used it. Like I'm shaving with straight razor blades, even though you're shaving the straight razor blades anyway, like with disposable a little bit. Yeah, I just like the idea of it.
Megan Gunn 11:19
It was it's gonna be different. And then it was like, oh, no, this is the same. Yeah.
Stuart Carlton 11:26
Excellent. Well, what a great recommendation, or first so it's interesting. You're kind of going old school a little bit right? Making your own soul. And using old school razors like those cakes. Meghan's going back maybe 25 years Sarah's going back maybe 250 years. Well, that's okay. And then Alright, with the third pick in the first round of our plastic alternative draft, Carolyn Foley Carolyn, once you got
Carolyn Foley 11:51
all right, am I allowed to pick bar soap? Or did Sarah
Stuart Carlton 11:55
ruling and the ruling is you are allowed to take bar soap she took him soap? Yeah.
Carolyn Foley 12:00
Right then bar soap because the bar soap that you can buy in the cardboard boxes. So there's not the shrink wrap. And there's not and even if you buy them in multiple packages, there's maybe some shrink wrap all around the outside, but it's still less than each individual one. One thing I found kind of weird when I went looking for products here is how many of the soaps and stuff that are sort of market or toothbrushes or anything that are sort of marketed as like, better for the world that are still covered in black? And like the plastic that No, I mean, the place that I live doesn't recycle everything. But there are some things that don't get recycled anywhere, right? Pretty much so. So yeah, so just the plain old buyer soup in the boxes. You can recycle the boxes or let your kids draw on them or whatever. And it's
Stuart Carlton 12:48
great. And so do you keep that by your sink? Or is that a shower situation? All? parcel? Yeah. First pick of the
Carolyn Foley 13:01
yeah, probably more shower. That's understanding the question.
Sarah Zack 13:04
I mean, I remember as a kid, though, like having little soap dishes and bars of soap in the bathroom. And things like we didn't have hand soap like pumps of hand soap when I was a kid. Maybe I'm dating myself, I don't know. But like, it feels like liquid based soaps is more of a newer like,
Stuart Carlton 13:21
yeah, that's a new that strikes me as having come up in the 90s with some of those mall based stores that would sell all the stinky ones that you buy your girlfriend or whatever. Yeah. Or your boyfriend or whatever. But But my experience was in buying stuff from those stores for girlfriend and like it was
Unknown Speaker 13:39
a novelty, right? Like it was everywhere.
Stuart Carlton 13:42
I was like, Why is everything yeah, now everything is just plastic. I mean, of course, because it's cheap to ship. It's indestructible. I mean, it's a really great product from a lot of ways. But the end result is 220 million pounds of plastic and the Great Lakes over here,
Carolyn Foley 13:53
right and cleaning soap dishes is kind of a pain in the butt. I don't know, I used to have to do that at my house. And it was like scrape it Oh, but you can sort of refashion it into a new thing. You recreate it?
Megan Gunn 14:06
I run that
Sarah Zack 14:10
or if you're out of soap, you just rub your hand on the bottom of the soap dish and you get enough from it. I mean I I use bar soap to wash my face and I and it stays in the shower and lives in the shower and I'm freaking like, oh crap, I forgot to get another bar quick. Let's see what's on the bottom of the soap dish like that's kind of handy in a way I guess. It's like adding more water to the bottle. Right when you will need a little bit left.
Megan Gunn 14:35
There was one time I tried to do a lot of DIY sustainability stuff and I took a I took a bar soap and I shaved it down in water and melted it to make like with soap. I've always wanted to do that. It didn't go so well. It was way too liquidy and weird, but in theory, it could have been really great.
Sarah Zack 14:55
That is something that I have looked at before and they're like I'm like a one I want to be di wire. Like, I have a whole set of bookmarks of like all these cool DIY things that I will never do, even though I could like and making my own soaps for people as gifts was definitely high on my want list for for Christmas, but I never got around to doing it. But it was the same thing, right? Like it was like you either, like shaved down a bar of soap or you buy the flaked soaps, and then you can mold them yourself. And you can add sentence and you can, but I never
Stuart Carlton 15:28
did. Yeah, we did that with our kids one year for we make bath bombs for holiday gifts. And it involved flakes, there were flakes, massive quantities of flakes and. And we gave them away and I don't think my mom ever used them. But that's fine. All right, I'm gonna finish off the round. But you know what, let's stick with the soap theme or cleanliness theme. We'll do that. And so one thing that we've been using that I think is really great, our scrub brushes that instead of being made, like with a plastic handle, have a wooden handle. And so the ones that I've been used, and they have a wooden handle, and then instead of like nylon bristles, they have bristles made out of some sort of plant fiber, like the one I used was a plant called Palmyra, or Tampico, I think, but it's hard to know what it was made out of a plant fiber. And so here's what I like about these I do like them, we use them all the time. Now they are a little bit more expensive. You can get them if you're you have to watch it through his love for sales, right. And so when we have it, it doesn't it has a you grab it, it's got a knob, not like a lengthy handle, you know, at a right angle, you can buy him with that, but we use the knob style, and probably about four bucks each. And they last roughly as long as the plastic ones do with one exception that I'll get to in a second. And so what I like about these is, you know, they're made out of wood and fiber, so no plastic. They're totally they're compostable, actually, I mean, if that's your deal, I know what Chicago you don't have backyards, but but we have backyards in West Lafayette. And so you know, we have a conflict. Yeah. And so we can just chuck it out there when we're done. But you know, they're, they're sturdy and so you know, I can clean out my cast iron pan and everything without problems. They work on that well, and the one but the one thing that I like about a lot is I am impatient. For example, when I go to get pizza, I will inevitably burn the roof of my mouth on the pizza because I can't wait three minutes for the cooldown. And so when I use like scrub brushes and the dishes, my especially cast iron pan which stays hot forever, it'll still be hot. I'll put the scrub the nylon brush in there and it will shrivel up. I will not draw an analogy but it will shrivel up like like George Costanza in the pool. And and but with these these clean things they don't. So if your pain is still hot, you can just go ahead you can scrub right away. You don't need to be patient. They are you know, sturdy.
Sarah Zack 17:47
I mean, your hands if it's melting your nylon bristles. How are you a fan? Because
Stuart Carlton 17:53
you handle the pan with a pin handle? I guess I don't know. You know, like, a hot pan or whatever. Yeah. Are the handles a little bit less hot? Because depends on what you're doing. Right? I suppose. Yeah. And nurse safe. We don't we don't really have any nonstick pans in the house. But they're safer nonstick, and you know, it's good. It's a good product, it lasts roughly as long, especially if you tend to melt the handles of your nylon ones or the bristles. You know, it's a couple of bucks more, or a buck or two more probably than it is and so that's that's a deal. Or that's a that's a con I suppose but but yeah, we've tried a few different ones of these and I love them. guilt free, higher quality, it seems to me so a big fan.
Megan Gunn 18:33
I have to look for them. Yes or No, I have been looking for them. And I can't find something that I want. So
Stuart Carlton 18:39
well. It's really personal, right? Everybody's dish pan or brush like you got the style you want. Yeah.
Sarah Zack 18:45
Yeah. Oddly personal actually.
Stuart Carlton 18:47
Like, sounds like even more than your razors.
Sarah Zack 18:50
We have two things in our house. Like, you know, one is what my husband uses, and one is what I use, and we don't use each other. Like we'd like to watch this dishes differently. We've seen like sets I've never seen like single like, I've never gone to target and seen like a bamboo or wooden scrub brush. But I have seen sets sold online where you can get like whole dishwashing, all your dishwashing tools in, you know, wood based products, which I thought were really cool. But they were expensive.
Stuart Carlton 19:20
Yeah, yeah. So yeah. So that's something you know, that's what a lot of this stuff is. It seems like it goes one of two ways. Either it's cost savings, kind of like y'all are talking about when you're making your own soap and saving money or it is you got to pay a little bit extra, and maybe you get higher quality. Like I feel like these are maybe I don't know, I can be like even
Carolyn Foley 19:38
doing Sarah's, you know, pay $10 And then you can use it for a really, really long time. You still have to have the $10. Right, which is which is really tricky.
Stuart Carlton 19:49
When when you're thinking about like proposing these as large scale solutions. I think that's something you have to take into effect is that this is largely it's dependent. I mean, it almost sounds stupid to say or silly to say but it's kind of a position of proof. leads where you can either have the 10 bucks in advance, or spend two extra bucks on a dish scrub brush. And if somebody can't, that's completely understanding. So that's that's a real challenge. I noticed with a lot of this stuff, upfront investments or it's a little bit more.
Sarah Zack 20:12
Yeah, that's a really good point. All right,
Stuart Carlton 20:16
well, around what is in the books? If we had commercial sponsors, I would take a sponsor break, but we don't so let's jump Norton nor do we want to know we've had people email us we're good, we're good public service we provide to you the listener.
Okay, Ron, one is in the books. And so let's go around to Sarah, what is your second pick in the draft here? So,
Sarah Zack 20:49
um, I don't really know, I want to draft something I'm on the fence about because, in theory, I want to like this thing. So I'm going to draft toothpaste powder. And I think I'll separate it from the toothpaste tablets because I've never tried to toothpaste,
Stuart Carlton 21:09
please powder. What is tell that tell us about toothpaste powder. Because toothpaste, by definition feels like it should be a paste not a
Carolyn Foley 21:16
powder. Right? Well,
Sarah Zack 21:18
this. So this is a powder that you either dip your toothbrush in, or you sprinkle on your toothbrush, and it comes into tin. And then in your mouth, much like the toothpaste tablets, it phones and it's kind of they dissolve in water. And it turns to, you know what I mean, it's all just foam in your mouth, it never turns to a paste. It just goes kind of straight. And the fact that it came in this really cool tin, I really, really liked I was super disappointed when I got it. I didn't realize because I had my heart set on trying powder. I ended up ordering it on Amazon, which is a whole thing. But what I didn't know is that the top is plastic. So I was super bummed about that. So I I got away from the tube. I didn't get away from the cap. I doubt very much that the top of this thing even though it's removable. I doubt very much that it's recyclable because it's so small, right. But I at least got away from having a tube. But I'm like, I really liked it. I liked the way it feels. If I felt like it. I feel like it does a good job on brushing my teeth. But it is so messy. And so I want to draft it in theory, but it needs some packaging improvements. I think like I have to basically like sprinkle it on my toothbrush and it just gets everywhere. Or you wet your toothbrush and you dip it but then your wet toothbrush makes it all like clumpy and like your toothbrush. Or
Carolyn Foley 22:42
toothpaste. Yeah, and you certainly can't. I mean, I know some people probably don't share toothpaste anyway, but you certainly don't want to share that with another person. Oh, here we go. Yeah,
Stuart Carlton 22:51
sir. scrub brushes, you're not sure on toothpaste.
Sarah Zack 22:57
So, so yeah, but I mean, I really liked I liked it in theory, and I think I would it's a product that I would continue to use if I could find like the right one. So what's the difference? Yeah, just wasn't it so you're
Stuart Carlton 23:10
going to bring it to practice for a few years and train it up and then a couple years so So does it have like a taste because you know toothpaste or get favors?
Sarah Zack 23:17
It's yeah, it's I mean, it's meant it's meant flavored. Full disclosure, this is because toothpaste I didn't I tried to buy products that were kind of cost effective, right? Like I wasn't going to spend $13 or $15 on on toothpaste powder, because that's just outrageous. So this one was $5 it is Indian it is not from this country. Okay. But it was purchased so it's distributed here through Amazon. So I mean there's a whole conversation I guess to be had about the shipping carbon costs of the shipping toothpaste from India to an Amazon warehouse and then me getting it from Amazon to hear. But I was the least expensive one that I could find that you know, seems normal.
Stuart Carlton 24:06
Okay, so he's meant that one floor Have you tried Have you tried several?
Sarah Zack 24:10
Nope, meant was the one flavor that it's like basic. I mean, this is made by a major toothpaste company. So it tastes just like your regular toothpaste.
Stuart Carlton 24:18
Excuse me out or they make they'll make some like out of all what's the stuff activated? Charcoal, and I'm like, is that good to my teeth black? I mean,
Carolyn Foley 24:26
yeah, well it doesn't mean your teeth black but when you because Okay, I'm gonna pile on here. Um, so because we're talking about toothpaste de stuff. Yeah. So I had something similar where I got I was looking for some kind of toothpaste you think? And they all had activated charcoal in them. And the one that I got, I got it because it was in a box rather than in a plastic thing. But then you pull it out and it's like, oh, it's still a tube. I mean, it's, you know, it is what it is. But then yeah, so it's it's black when it goes on and then you brush your teeth and your teeth look like you've I don't know like they're just completely gross. And I'm like, I don't know that, like, I know that you're not supposed to swallow toothpaste anyway, and I tell my kids to not swallow toothpaste anyway, but then I went down this whole hole of like, but what about charcoal? Is charcoal bad? Like if charcoal goes out into the environment, is that going to be bad? And most of what I've found was that people don't think it's all that bad. But yeah, sonar.
Sarah Zack 25:19
I mean, it's used to like trap toxins, right, like, in like water filters and things like that. So I would think that it wouldn't be harmful.
Carolyn Foley 25:27
Exactly. Yeah. And I mean, they like use it at the water treatment plant to trap for things that are going by so in theory, but I didn't get to read enough about it. But anyway, yeah, so. So yeah, it's it's, it's weird, though, because like you're, you're rinsing? And you're like, why I was thinking that my mom next time if she ever comes to my house ever again, you know, when COVID said that, she'll be like, Why is your sink so dirty? Today, anyway, yep,
Megan Gunn 25:57
I think charcoal is like us as some kind of digestive cleaner. So it may not be too bad. Don't fully quote me on that. But I'm almost positive that they
Sarah Zack 26:06
like if a kid gets poison they or a dog gets poison. They pump your stomach full of charcoal. And then yeah, it reads. Yeah, to get you to kind of throw the bad stuff up.
Carolyn Foley 26:19
So maybe it's more okay to swallow than some other things. Yeah.
Sarah Zack 26:23
When in doubt, just don't swallow it. Yeah. But like,
Carolyn Foley 26:26
there's always a tiny bit left. Yes.
Stuart Carlton 26:29
There's like arcane powder over time, you will become immune.
Unknown Speaker 26:32
But excellent reference.
Stuart Carlton 26:36
All right. Great. So, mint toothpaste powder is off the board with the first pick in round two from Sarah. Megan, what do you have for your second pick?
Megan Gunn 26:46
Oh, let's see. Let's let's stick with the the mouth, the mouth, and I'm gonna go with bamboo toothbrushes. So you know, we're supposed to change our toothbrushes every six months, or whenever you go to the dentist and they give you a new toothbrush. That's when I do mine. But that's I mean, you're just throwing plastic away. And so I found these bamboo toothbrushes and they're super inexpensive. If you get them in a pack, if you get there are some some healthy stores that will sell them individually. And they get pretty pricey. But you can go to like a big box store and get a whole 567 pack. And they're pretty inexpensive that way. But you just you i i have or I usually just throw them away anyways. But you can break off the bristles and then compost, the brush or the hand. Oh, very cool. What
Stuart Carlton 27:40
are the bristles made? So they're made out of some sort of plastic or nylon or something?
Megan Gunn 27:44
I think so. Yeah, that's cool.
Sarah Zack 27:45
So the bristles are the same, it's the handle that's different.
Megan Gunn 27:49
So just a smaller amount of plastic is being put back into the environment. But I'm sure they have some that are that are like, like you said, Stuart, they have some some plant fiber bristles, I just haven't looked for something like that. Don't wait
Stuart Carlton 28:03
for your teeth to cool off before you brush them. So that's always good.
Sarah Zack 28:11
So I think I was really glad that someone drafted that, because that's one that I didn't get a chance to try but was really excited about. And so getting that sort of stamp of approval, it makes me like I'm gonna do it.
Megan Gunn 28:25
I've not had any complaints from the dentist, they can't they can't tell that I stopped using I had an electric toothbrush. That's what really sent me over. Like, you have to change the head. And it's just these just so much weight. Right? So it's like, well, let me try something different and they can't seem to tell. So
Stuart Carlton 28:41
let me demonstrate proof. Now you're still young, but not wondering about that, because I'm a big electric toothbrush. I mean, my electric toothbrush is normal size, but I'm a fan of it. And um, yeah, ever since I went to the dentist, like at this point 15 years ago, and they took you know, sold me an electric toothbrush and ever since then, but I feel guilty because yeah, every few months, you're throwing away, you know, four inch long piece of plastic. And then every few years you're throwing away the whole stupid thing because of course replaceable batteries because, you know, where's the profit in that? No comment, I understand. But but so I've been frustrated by it, but I'm afraid to go away because they boy, they you know, it's scrubby, scrubby clean. I'm a dentist, dental All Star whenever I go
Carolyn Foley 29:23
so I have a question though. Megan did you so one thing because I tried to bamboo handle the toothbrush as well. But do you feel weird like when it's a little bit wet afterwards? Do you feel the need to like dry it off? Or have you? Yeah, there
Megan Gunn 29:36
are some times I don't know if I like I feel like my mouth is gross and the whole thing gets super wet because I'm like I'm really in there. But there there are other days. So those days I just like I'll rinse it off and then I'll just kind of sit it across the toothbrush holder so it can dry so it can dry but then there are some days where I'll just wipe it off. But there are also the days where I don't know if I'm My mouth just feels less gross than those days where I get the whole thing wet, but just, it doesn't I just put it in.
Sarah Zack 30:07
Does it just feel like what what or is it like, sanded in a way where it feels? Just what what? Okay,
Carolyn Foley 30:12
yeah, it's just like the thought of wet wood over and over again. And also I used wood wood
Sarah Zack 30:20
by rubbing the inside your mouth to write like because you're in the back of the brush is rubbing your mouth like if your mouth is kind of dirty than the wood is rubbing your seat you want it to dry. So that was on there.
Stuart Carlton 30:33
That's not necessarily different from a plastic toothbrush, I guess. But yeah, so the woods, like,
Sarah Zack 30:38
what is absorbent in a way that plastic might not be even though they're both just gonna dry eventually? not agree.
Carolyn Foley 30:45
But then if you've ever Not that I've ever been bad and not replaced my toothbrush every six months, but they get pretty gross. Yeah, so maybe no different. Yeah.
Stuart Carlton 30:55
Okay, great. Well, with this, I can pick Meghan takes bamboo toothbrushes. Carolyn, what do you have for your second pick?
Carolyn Foley 31:03
I will pick metal tea diffused. And like, instead of so like you can get you know, you can get really fancy teas and little sachets and things like that. But there was a study that came out sometime last year, I believe that was like there's just gobs of teeny tiny pieces. Come out with that, right, like when you're putting it into. Yeah, so along with your tea, you're getting a nice dose of microplastic.
Stuart Carlton 31:32
Get out of here. Just finish the delicious chai tea
Carolyn Foley 31:35
and tea sachets, right like not not necessarily every tea bag, but the ones that are like the really pretty
Unknown Speaker 31:42
Carolyn Foley 31:43
Yeah, yeah, sorry. I'm sorry. What you can do because of the what they're made of,
Sarah Zack 31:53
like cotton based or? Exactly.
Carolyn Foley 31:55
Yeah. So so I will try to find the link to that story in the article that was done, so that everyone can go. But what you can get instead are those you know, the metal diffusers, and again, this is a thing where, depending on there are lots of places that are selling loose leaf tea, right? There is one store in Canada, that is awesome and really cheap. But I'm the one. But um, yeah. So you can look around though, and you can get loose leaf tea that is fairly economical. And is actually cheaper than like a box of you know, tea from the grocery store or whatever. And it's really good. And you can add I like that you can you know, you can tailor it to your tastes if you're feeling like a stronger thing one day, but then the metal diffusers too. There's all sorts of different styles that you can have. And I mean, you can get like a Deathstar. One. And when you're having a bad day, you can sit there and pretend to pull this out of your teacup. I mean, I mean Yeah, so there's a lot of nice options. And yeah, there we go. And and drafting. I love that
Stuart Carlton 32:59
metal tea diffusers. But so you have to get loose leaf tea. So that's like a whole rabbit hole, you could fall down. Yeah, and I have and it's great. I'm not gonna lie, I spent a couple hours this morning roasting coffee outside of my driveway. So I am ready to go down this rabbit hole we're gonna have to talk after. That's excellent.
Megan Gunn 33:15
I hadn't even thought about like the things I've been using for years that are plastic alternatives. But I got when a metal strainer at the feast of the Hunter's Moon, the festival that they have out here years ago, and it was maybe $1. And I use it all the time.
Stuart Carlton 33:33
For as long as you've been alive all 16 years or whatever it is. All right, great. And so for my third, the last pick, excuse me, for my second pick, last pick, I'm gonna choose this one, I'm gonna stay with sort of the food based theme. And that is metal plates for our children. So we have a lot of children too many children. And you know, there are a lot of choices and comes, you know, and so the problem kids is like, we try to let them use our ceramic stuff periodically to teach them Oh, it's you know, real stuff, and it's high quality or whatever, but they often will break it. And so when they're younger, like our five year old and up like four year old, you know, but for our youngest kids you know, you have a choice of what you want to do. And so we've been using metal plates with our kids instead of the plastic ones. And I'm a huge fan of this for a few reasons. One is it's like a higher quality piece of equipment, generally speaking equipment. I don't use kitchen wares, I use kitchen equipment. I'm a man's man. But but but it's you know, it's like a really nice high quality thing. It's a metal plate. It's subdivided or whatever, it's not gonna break the kids, you know, like plastic stuff. You can send it through a dishwasher a trillion times, and it doesn't you know, get brittle or age or anything. Sarah talks about how she's would be hippie and that's fine. For me, one significant advantage of these is they don't tend to be covered in advertisements for popular culture things, which, what some people care about that something gets a disadvantage. That's fine, everybody raised You can tell you want to, but but for me, that's a big advantage that they're not staring at that all day. And you know, they're eating off of a high quality piece of dinnerware, which I love. So it's strong. It's sturdy. It's you know, segmented, you can just bang it around. Like I love it. Big fan, big fan of giving the kids that and we get little cocktail forks, essentially, you know, we go to a big store that our director likes, where they sell cocktail forks. And that's what the kids use. And it's awesome. So big fan of that. Yeah, big fan of that. And I would like to and recommend related to that we were talking about this before we started recording, I would recommend steel water bottles for kids under about age six, because they become weapons really easily. Like I walk around my three year old. Well, I've been on for three All right now but when my kids are like two or three or whatever, I just am terrified that they're going to whack me with a full water bottle. So still cups, those are good. steel plates. Those are good. Or is it steel? Anything? Well, metal, whatever it is metal plates, metal cups, metal water bottles terrify me. So but anyway, interesting.
Sarah Zack 36:07
We've tried to get away from from plastic, but we've gravitated towards silicone. And I don't know, I have no idea whether it metal was just never something that I even never even entered into my mind. I just, you know, we have like a little. For the baby. We have like a little divided. It's a placemat slash pleat. Oh, cool. That's made of silicone. And like, you know, because he's learning table foods and things like that. And we have a little trainer silicone cup that he uses. But it's really hard to get away from kids stuff that isn't that can make some episode work. Yeah, I mean, it's more expensive. And it's just difficult to find, whether it's metal, or silicone, or wood, or glass or whatever. It's hard to find stuff for
Stuart Carlton 36:51
kids, I'll be honest, when you have young kids, it's like you don't even care to a certain extent, especially very young kids, like we're hoping they're
Sarah Zack 36:56
gonna use it for such a limited amount of time that it feels like, like, there's two schools of thought like, right, like, I don't need this to be super nice. I don't need to spend a lot of money on this, because they're not going to use it for a long time. The whole Well, yeah, those things may be true, but then that automatically equates to creating more waste, you're also very, very
Stuart Carlton 37:15
tired, you're right, you're exhausted, I don't feel like dealing with it. That is totally true. And maybe we will get hold that can be an interesting episode, we get some people on and talk about plastic, plastic light parenting might be it might be a fun thing to talk about. But another thing is nice is when you get higher quality stuff, you can pass it down from kid to kid, but you have to store it. And so again, it comes down to we live in West Lafayette, where it cost like $1 for, you know, a huge house compared to other places I've lived. And so we have tons of storage. That's not a challenge for us here. But then, you know, it could be another other situations. Okay, well, there is our draft of plastic free alternatives. And we're not going to link to specific products in our show notes. Because the best practice without reaching extension is not to do that. But we will have a list if you look in our show notes of what we pick. And if you have experience with any of these you want to talk about or send us an email that teach me about the great email@example.com or hit us up on Twitter at the hashtag, ask Great Lakes and we'd love to hear about your experiences. We can talk about them in the future. And with that, we'll close out the draft with one of these songs that I'm about to pick right now. How about this one?
Sir, we didn't just bring you on to draft plastic alternatives. That was fun. I enjoyed it. But really what we brought you on is to do something that was much more interesting and much more important, and that is to answer these two questions. Question. One is, if you could have a great sense of a great donor for breakfast, or a great sandwich for lunch, which would you pick?
Sarah Zack 38:55
That is so easy. And it's surprised even me. When I thought of the answer to this question. I would pick a sandwich. And I am a sweets person. And the reason that I would pick a sandwich is because there have been sandwiches in my life that have stuck with me. I think about that I dream about now that I've moved away. I used to live in Chicago, and two years ago moved out to the suburbs. There's a particular sandwich at a restaurant called bat 21 in Evanston that I dream about. And one day we'll go back there and eat that sandwich. What's your I have never met a doughnut that I won't eat for. I will eat any doughnut. Yep. And all doughnuts are good doughnuts, but not all sandwiches are good sandwiches.
Stuart Carlton 39:42
Alright, so when I go to back back 21 That VAT like that that flies. So I'm going about 21 What what sandwich Am I going what's
Sarah Zack 39:51
so it's a sandwich place and their sandwiches are amazing because they're made on Oh my god. I'm basically going to do a commercial for them. They sandwiches are made on fresh baked bread from a bakery that's just down the street and their meats are really good. And they're enormous. And oh my god, they're amazing. And so my favorite one is like, turkey and cheese and this dressing and coleslaw and it's grilled and it's hot. So it's basically like a turkey Reuben, Turkey Reuben. Got my mouse wandering, like, literally, literally, my mouth is wandering. And it What time is it? I guess it is around lunchtime. So
Stuart Carlton 40:26
that does miss lunch time Central?
Sarah Zack 40:28
Well, I'm centrally so
Carolyn Foley 40:30
I just want to point out how many people like sandwich was really the big winner last year. In the episodes I think like, very few people said donut and those who didn't say donut would talk about vegan donuts, which
Sarah Zack 40:45
is interesting. And I had really good like, I'd bend to Voodoo Donuts in Portland. And we have a great donut shop here in the town that I live in. Now that's famous in the northwest suburbs. And so I've eaten good doughnuts, but but to replicate that sandwich who boy Oh, maybe? Oh, maybe Oh, mama
Stuart Carlton 41:02
wants to try it out. So as far as I can tell back 21 is a war film with Gene Hackman and Danny Glover. Is there a chance that you're thinking? That's
Sarah Zack 41:13
awesome. Tina. She had done my research
Stuart Carlton 41:20
21 That's all right.
Sarah Zack 41:22
I mean, they're both, you know, odd numbers.
Stuart Carlton 41:23
Yeah. So watch the movie bedroom one, which I've never seen. But it's available on Hulu, I guess. And it got a thoroughly mediocre Rotten Tomato rating. So watch that. And while you're doing it enjoy a sandwich from bet 17. Oh, that's okay. I think you're so excited for 2021 to occur that you're just adding 21 was or be over?
Sarah Zack 41:50
Well, yeah, right. Like so far not so good.
Stuart Carlton 41:53
I saw the other day, we're recording this on the eighth of January, I saw someone sent me a text on the seventh thing that they had tried the seven day free trial of 2021. And they would like to return it.
Sarah Zack 42:06
Well, yeah, I saw something the other day too, that said that this today is actually like, December, you know, 40th? Oh, 29. December two, it's December 14.
Stuart Carlton 42:20
Excellent. And so the second question we have asked you is is this? So you are the pollution prevention outreach specialists with Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant. So what is it that makes for a really good outreach specialist? Or what is it something that you bring in particular that you think makes really good at your job that maybe people might bring to their job as well?
Sarah Zack 42:37
It's a really good question. So I think I'm kind of a self deprecating person. But I think that what I enjoy most about the job, which then I think I hope then translates into being good at it is that even though I consider myself to be a fairly introverted person, I can run my mouth with the best of them. And I like to talk to people I like to interact with people. It's work for me, but, but I enjoy it very much. I like giving talks. I like sharing knowledge with people. And so I think if you like doing that, and you like talking with people, then it it can come kind of naturally. So as long as you know what you're talking about, you can help people and teach them things. And hopefully then that translates into, you know, being a good outreach specialist.
Stuart Carlton 43:35
That's really wonderful. That's interesting here, sir. If people want to find out more about the work you do as an outreach specialist, or just want to reach out to you where can they find you? Is there a social media for your web page?
Sarah Zack 43:45
Yeah, so So our program, our pollution prevention program has a Twitter feed and it's at Great Lakes p two p two, and then my personal Twitter is Picchu for pollution prevention. And then my personal Twitter is at Sarah with an H. S Ara H H. Zack. Za CK APR. Awesome. Yes.
Stuart Carlton 44:09
Excellent. Well, thank you so much, Sarah, for coming on and teaching us all about the Great Lakes. We really appreciate it.
Sarah Zack 44:15
Thank you for having me. This is great.
Megan Gunn 44:22
Can I add something that I thought was really interesting? We are past our draft now. But almost everybody said metal straws in their list of things and I thought that was super interesting because it was it's one of those easy alternatives that most people gravitated to when you think about oh, go plastic free. They're like no plastic straws that climb this straw. But they're easy to just carry around and having your bag or not pocket. That's a little dangerous.
Carolyn Foley 44:51
get stabbed by a straw and a pen. Yeah, but no, and they're also like, they keep the drink really cold. It's
Stuart Carlton 44:57
like no, I like them. You're right. No metal straws are good. But no, those were definitely on my list too. What else did you have? Well, we'll just have this. What else did you have on your list that maybe didn't get picked?
Megan Gunn 45:06
Oh, let me see. I think that was that was most everything. Those were the big awesome one.
Stuart Carlton 45:13
Yeah. Yeah, they have a lot of deodorants that I know some people used hope charters or communication coordinator, she had to back out at the last moment, but I know she had used some of that and had some thoughts on it. Yeah, let's see, I had metal straws, you know, there's a whole deal on plastic free parent or plastic light parenting. We've done a lot of cloth diapering of our three kids. And so I have lots of thoughts on that. Overall, I'm a fan. But it's it's not a it's not a pure victory. There's, you know, yeah, yeah. Let's see what else was on my list. I think that is about it. Were the the main ones that I wanted to talk about. With this stuff, I think a lot of it really is just, it's, it's a way to invest in a higher quality. A lot of times I think this is the thing is like, the ones that stick with me, are the ones that are in at least some ways a higher quality experience. And that's why like the scrub brushes and the plates and everything, you know, it's never going to be better in every single way. Or else it would be the dominant thing in all likelihood, or at least that's what capitalist theory would dictate. And why would that be wrong? But But, and, but, but under things where it's like, for me, what I noticed is when there's like a quality difference without a super big price difference, and maybe it's because you invest in front, which not everybody can. Or maybe it's because you're willing to pay a couple bucks more, but also things that are most sticky to me.
Megan Gunn 46:32
I think I was gonna say I was really happy to hear that Sarah, the plastic specialist said that she used the silicone because I've started moving towards getting more silicone type items. Like I for Christmas, I asked for some silicone mats to use instead of foil on my baking sheet so that I'm not just following up a bunch of foil all the time. And so I'm like, okay, so that is a good step.
Stuart Carlton 46:57
No, that is a good step. And that's that's so I've done a lot of bread baking like everybody else has, right? And in bread baking, they're always telling you cover their stuff with plastic wrap while it rises. And so that always irritates me. So I should look into other alternatives. I agree.
Megan Gunn 47:11
Do you use the like the base wet covered? cloth fabric?
Stuart Carlton 47:17
I don't I've seen some of those? No, I haven't really used them. Someone that I worked with gave me some actually someone we had our third kid and they brought like meals for our house and someone I worked with gave me someone's result of that mirror kind of cool. I just didn't get into it for some reason why not doing instead of the hug, just like cover with a plate and be like, No, it's close enough and like weighed down. Maybe some air can get in. But it's not like I'm you know, working at Tartine bakery or whatever it is anyway, so Well, I'm super excited about 2020 Wrapping up podcast wise and 2021 coming. We have a lot of fun things planned. But think back what do you I thought it might be good to take a minute to reflect on the first year of the podcast, which I think has been a lot of fun and in ways that I didn't necessarily anticipate. So do you have any thoughts on that Megan? Or Carolyn?
Megan Gunn 48:04
It was just fun to for me to learn about different aspects of the Great Lakes that I either didn't know, or didn't remember from childhood.
Stuart Carlton 48:12
Yeah, I agree. I think we mentioned this last episode, but it's been a few weeks. But like, it's not a joke. Like I don't know any of this stuff whatsoever. Sometimes I like to fancy myself pretty clever. But I just don't know squat when it comes to this kind of stuff. So it's been all the amount that I've learned, like ranging from, you know, episode one with a microplastics Episode Two with Dr. Michael twist, about the formation of the Great Lakes and the ice sheets pulling back. You know, the tribal things we've just started to delve into. And we thought were to talk about it's been a ton. So I I've learned a ton to Carolyn, I assume you've learned nothing as our resident Canadian and Great Lakes.
Carolyn Foley 48:46
Well, obviously, no. Yeah, I mean, I think it's it's nice to hear so many different perspectives. From you know, the researcher perspective, or the management's perspective, or particular individuals who are just, they just love the Great Lakes. And so I think that's been really cool. Looking forward to hearing more from some of our guests. Hopefully, some of them will come back again and talk a little bit more about the particular topics that are really important and things like that. So, no, I it's been a lot of fun.
Stuart Carlton 49:21
And it's been a ton of fun. And we're really excited for 2021 to come, we got a lot of things planned. We're going to do what we'll go into details over the next few weeks. And really, you should probably the thing to do is to follow us on Twitter at Heetch Great Lakes. And let me just double check that I didn't screw that up. Because we're live Yes, at Teach Great Lakes on Twitter, which I'm currently logged into actually. And the feed changed when I added the two political scientists to what I'm seeing the number because we follow all our guests and so it's now a more space in your feed than it used to be. But anyway, you know, we're gonna do like a book club. We're gonna come up, we're gonna read a book together and try to get either the author or someone who knows about the book on there. And so look for an announcement about that soon, we're going to try to have an award ceremony, the lakeith, which I hope will be coming up in the next several months. And then I hope we'll rotate to an annual thing starting in December, but we'll see how that goes and how much pushback I get. So maybe there'll be no Lucky's. But I think there'll be like, he's probably like he's and
Carolyn Foley 50:24
I am the executive producer.
Stuart Carlton 50:28
You know, every now and again, you gotta put down the the product producer real finger. And that's putting up the produce Oriole finger you put down the produce Oriole he'll Anyway, point is there's gonna be like ease. And, you know, we're also going to continue to have great guests on and we're going to continue to try to come to the first Monday of every month and most most of the third Mondays of the month. And so it should be a lot of fun. So thank you so much for listening, it's been a blast, we've been, you know, exceeded our goals by several fold in terms of number of listeners already, which is great. We'd love to have more. So if you could take a second and tell a friend about us. That'd be super subscribe. If you're not subscribed, don't download each episode, subscribe, so they come automatically, you're saving yourself time. But if you can do a review, that's great five star reviews, even double plus greater. So we appreciate you doing that. But if not, just stay tuned, it's gonna be a fun year, we're gonna learn a ton because there's still a lot that I don't know about the Great Lakes even after 23 episodes. And so by the end of this year, there'll be let's face it. Still a lot that I don't know. But maybe a little bit less. And we'll have some fun along the way. Megan, where can people go to follow you and your work?
Megan Gunn 51:31
You can find me on Twitter at underscore t FFP. Or on Instagram at the familiar faces project.
Stuart Carlton 51:38
Excellent. And Carolyn, you don't do social media. But where can people find out some of the stuff we do we have a few feeds for Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant, don't we?
Carolyn Foley 51:45
Yes, you can go to Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, i l i n s e g r a n t
Stuart Carlton 51:54
do that. And a fun one that we don't talk about much is the buoys feed. Remember the buoy episode from last year? That was a lot of fun. Go follow the buoys on Twitter, you can do that. It's what is it two yellow buoys with two spelled out right?
Carolyn Foley 52:04
That's correct. Yes. And they're probably sleeping right now because they typically doze at this time of year. But yes,
Stuart Carlton 52:10
well, they'll be waking up soon. And we'll have some announcements. They might be getting a younger brother who's have a gender I don't know, brother or sister. If everything goes well, but we'll we'll talk about that later. Well, thank you, everybody, for listening. Here's to 2020 in the books, good from a podcast standpoint, not the best year from geopolitics, public health and everything else. standpoint, but we're getting through it one day at a time. And and everybody washed your hands wear your masks, wash your hands here, but she would tell you to do that. And while you're doing it, get some castile soap and you can wash your hands without feeling guilty like that's the other thing is like you can just use a ton of soap. I mean like it's fine, it's fine. I can just squirt it everywhere. Because who cares? Yeah. All right. Well, any store Carlton, thank you so much for listening. We'll see you on the first Monday of every month and the third Monday of most months and in between now and then keep great and those lakes awesome