Skip to main content
Stephanie McDonald's avatar

Stephanie McDonald

City of Brooklyn Park

Points Total

  • 0 Today
  • 0 This Week
  • 975 Total

Participant Impact

  • up to
    8.8
    pounds of CO2
    have been saved
  • up to
    43
    pounds
    packaging waste avoided
  • up to
    57
    pieces of litter
    picked up
  • up to
    10
    conversations
    with people
  • up to
    5.0
    minutes
    spent learning

Stephanie's Actions

Pets

Clean Up Pet Hair with Reusables

I will use a reusable lint brush or vacuum to remove pet hair from clothes, carpets, and furniture.

COMPLETED 22
DAILY ACTIONS

Pets

Choose All-Natural Pet Toys

I will give my pets toys made of natural materials like wool, hemp, or cotton, or make our own toys from repurposed items found in our home.

Completed
One-Time Action

Food

Shop the Bulk Bins

I will purchase 3 products from the bulk section of a grocery store using my own containers each time I go shopping.

COMPLETED 5
DAILY ACTIONS

Community

Estimate Your Plastic Footprint

I will complete a plastic consumption calculator to learn about my plastic footprint.

Completed
One-Time Action

Community

Advocate For More Food Packaging Options

I will advocate for alternatives to single use packaging at local grocery stores, markets, or at work.

Completed
One-Time Action

Community

Pick Up Plastic Litter

I will pick up 3 piece(s) of plastic litter each day and dispose of it responsibly.

COMPLETED 19
DAILY ACTIONS

Personal Care

Switch to a natural loofah or wash cloth

I will replace my synthetic loofah with a natural loofah or wash cloth.

Completed
One-Time Action

Personal Care

Switch to compostable floss

I will switch to compostable floss in a reusable container.

Completed
One-Time Action

Food

Buy Unpackaged Produce

I will avoid 4 plastic bags each time I go shopping by not bagging my produce or using reusable produce bags.

COMPLETED 9
DAILY ACTIONS

Feed


  • Stephanie McDonald's avatar
    Stephanie McDonald 2/28/2022 7:29 PM
    This has been an eye opener.  One was paying attention to the incredible amount of things that are now made of plastic or in plastic (or the company that put a plastic bottle in a plastic bag and shipped it in a box filled with plastic air pillow packing material.) and how hard it can be to shop and avoid plastic. There are things I never realized were plastic (cat toys looked like hemp but were not, etc.).  The number of people who are anti-recyclers, while not necessarily huge, is still substantial.  The amount of misinformation well-intentioned people have about plastics, recycling, and the environment. There have been things that I don't buy very often that I needed but didn't think it would be a problem until I got to the store and found the company had switched to plastic packaging. They got a call.  Some were understanding, most would "take it under consideration".  I still read all of the actions, even though I could only select 5 one time actions, and made some changes (like a real razor). I have found alternatives to toothpaste in plastic tubes, and watch for toothpaste and other items that have plastic  granules in them to polish or exfoliate or just to give texture. I'm trying some alternatives to toothpaste and liquid detergents for laundry. I use a natural deodorant that actually works, but it still comes in plastic, so I am trying some that come in recyclable or reusable containers.  I have some other actions to work on. I got some additional resources where I can shop for other items not included in the challenge and are local, which I'd prefer to use, and some additional resources just for information and/or contacts.  My new City Council member lists environment as an interest, so he'll be hearing from me and should be more receptive.  I continue to work with environmental organizations for information on plastics legislation and treaties so I know when I need to contact Congress or other government agencies.  I am glad I participated in this challenge. I learned, made changes probably before I had intended, got contacts, and resources.  And I know there's a whole lot more to do. 
  • Reflection Question
    Community Advocate For More Food Packaging Options
    Single use plastics have become normalized in our society to the point that most people don't see them as a problem. What did you do to advocate for less single-use items? What would you say to a friend, colleague, or family member who may not understand why these disposables are an issue?

    Stephanie McDonald's avatar
    Stephanie McDonald 2/26/2022 9:47 PM
    For friends, family, colleagues we have talked a lot about recycling, how we cannot recycle our way out of this, that only about 9% of recyclable items get recycled, that plastic breaks apart and ends up in the water and soil and from there in our bodies, about animals starving because they swallowed plastic and the large amount of floating plastic in the ocean. One thing in particular was that just because it has the recycling symbol and a number doesn't mean it's recyclable.  Locally it's hard because the stores do not control what the manufacturer does.  I find that I used to be able to get items in glass jars or boxes and one day it's in plastic.  I chose to contact those companies.  I asked bakeries if they had boxes instead of plastic for bread or baked goods or if they could just hand me the item and I'd use my own bags (some do, some will consider it). There's an upcoming meeting in Nairobi for an international treaty on plastics, so I contacted the White House and the State Dept. to put in my two cents.  I think there's a lot more public education needed, because we are a throw-away culture and merchants have to compete. People put plastic jugs with a handle in plastic bags and carry they in a bag instead of by the handle. It's all about ease for a lot of folks. Even buying a larger container of soap to refill a reusable bottle (and spending less)while it could be stocked in a store, still has to be sold to a customer, and storing that larger container is not so convenient for a lot of people.  There is a lot of advocacy to do. After environmental groups worked years with Coca-Cola, they still only see where they can get 25% of their products to be re-usable by 2030.  I'll keep plugging away.  Every little bit helps.  One thing:  if I need to, I will quit doing business with a company or quit buying a product, and rather than just quit, I will find the name of their leaders and tell them why.  
  • Reflection Question
    Personal Care Switch to a natural loofah or wash cloth
    In what ways has your shower experience changed since you stopped using a synthetic loofah?

    Stephanie McDonald's avatar
    Stephanie McDonald 2/23/2022 10:25 PM
    The synthetic loofah was reusable and lasted a long time, so I never thought much about it, until I found out that little pieces break off and get into the water system and cannot be removed, so then they go on to the seas and some lakes and streams. And then they get into the food system and into people and animals. So the shower is still a shower. A real loofah or washcloth is a much better choice and helps me reduce my plastic footprint, You can still get clean and exfoliate as needed without plastic. 
  • Reflection Question
    Community Estimate Your Plastic Footprint
    What did you find out about your plastic consumption by using the calculator? What did or didn't surprise you?

    Stephanie McDonald's avatar
    Stephanie McDonald 2/22/2022 11:43 PM
    I was "relatively" pleased with my consumption compared to US and World averages listed, as far as the calculator went. I try really hard to not use plastics, particularly Styrofoam and non recyclables.  BUT there are so many things you just can't get anymore that aren't supplied in plastic and it really adds up. I also played around with the calculator using what if scenarios to see what would happen if I changed some things.  I have more work I can do. And I have way more advocacy to do.
  • Reflection Question
    Pets Choose All-Natural Pet Toys
    In what ways is supplying your pet with all natural pet toys better for your pet, better for you, and better for the environment?

    Stephanie McDonald's avatar
    Stephanie McDonald 2/14/2022 10:35 PM
    Natural pet toys don't have little plastic pieces that can break off and get swallowed or stuck in the rug (for me to step on),  They don't have questionable dyes which stain when they've gotten wet from chewing.  The pets don't care about the color, anyway.  I can use up cotton or wool or hemp yarns left over from larger projects. I have a smaller project to make for the pets, such as crocheted balls.  When the toy has worn out it can be composted or otherwise will degrade naturally.
  • Reflection Question
    Pets Clean Up Pet Hair with Reusables
    What reusable options have you started using to clean up pet hair?

    Stephanie McDonald's avatar
    Stephanie McDonald 2/14/2022 10:17 PM
    The vacuum works nicely. I also have an old clothes brush that I dug out of the drawer.  I find there's much less hair to remove if I just take the time to brush my furry friends, which is a nice Zen moment for both me and the fur balls.
  • Reflection Question
    Food Shop the Bulk Bins
    How has buying bulk impacted the quality of the food you receive? Why do you think our society relies more on prepackaged foods rather than buying in bulk?

    Stephanie McDonald's avatar
    Stephanie McDonald 2/02/2022 7:20 PM
    When I buy from bulk bins I can get the amount I know I can use so it's fresh. Freshness means better taste.  It also tends to be a bit less expensive because it required less packaging and less handling before it got to the store.  When I buy pre-packaged foods I generally end up with too much so I have to store it until I will use it again. Sometimes I need more than is in the package, so I have extra food again to store, and extra packaging to get rid of.  Society relies on prepackaged foods because it's easier. It stacks better, it's a known quantity with a set price, often has recipes or cooking instructions, has a bar code (good for the cashier, or good for self check out). It doesn't necessarily require any special storage containers when it comes home, and can just be tossed when it gets old.  I imagine since we just throw away food so easily, if it is old and gets tossed, then the sellers make more money. 
  • Reflection Question
    Personal Care Switch to compostable floss
    Flossing is a hard habit to maintain for a lot of people! Does making your flossing routine more sustainable give you motivation to keep up this notoriously difficult habit?

    Stephanie McDonald's avatar
    Stephanie McDonald 2/01/2022 8:21 PM
    I don't know as it makes me floss more often since it's already a habit, but having found the product I feel a whole lot better about about it
  • Reflection Question
    Community Pick Up Plastic Litter
    How does the act of picking up litter connect you more to your community?

    Stephanie McDonald's avatar
    Stephanie McDonald 2/01/2022 8:16 PM
    It shows respect for the community by keeping this nice looking. It shows pride in the community.

  • Reflection Question
    Food Buy Unpackaged Produce
    Why do you think these products have so much plastic packaging? Who is the plastic packaging really serving -- the consumer, the producer, or someone else?

    Stephanie McDonald's avatar
    Stephanie McDonald 2/01/2022 8:14 PM
    the plastic packaging makes it easier to add pricing and whatever other information the UPC code holds for inventory, etc.  In the instance where there is both organic and regular produce, the packaging keeps them separate so the higher priced organic items do not get charged the regular rate. In some instances, it makes it easier to stack and display.  This is for the grocery store.