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Katharine Mantzouris's avatar

Katharine Mantzouris

The Maryland Zoo

"Thinking about my resource use without driving myself crazy."

POINTS TOTAL

  • 0 TODAY
  • 245 THIS WEEK
  • 1,480 TOTAL

participant impact

  • UP TO
    23
    minutes
    spent learning
  • UP TO
    1
    meatless or vegan meal
    consumed
  • UP TO
    62
    minutes
    spent outdoors
  • UP TO
    1
    plastic bottle
    not sent to the landfill
  • UP TO
    17
    pieces of plastic cutlery
    not sent to the landfill
  • UP TO
    32
    gallons of water
    have been saved

Katharine's actions

Study

Recycle My Tech

There's value in our old electronics! This month, I will properly recycle any old laptops, tablets, cell phones, or other electronics I have lying around so the raw materials can be reused and reduce demand for virgin materials - thereby also protecting critical wildlife habitat for animals such as gorillas and forest elephants.

COMPLETED
ONE-TIME ACTION

Study

Borrowed Books

The average paperback book has the same carbon footprint of driving about 7 miles (11 km) in an average car. Instead of purchasing new books this month, I will borrow books, e-books, and/or audiobooks from my local library or library-affiliated apps, or host a book swap with my friends.

COMPLETED 1
DAILY ACTION

Study

Greenwashing Pro

Greenwashing can fool even the most experienced eco-advocate. This month, I will spend 15 minutes learning what greenwashing is, how to spot it, and what I can do about it.

COMPLETED
ONE-TIME ACTION

Study

Plastic History Buff

Single-use plastics are everywhere, but that wasn't always the case. I will spend at least 15 minutes learning about the history of single-use plastics and how it became ubiquitous in our daily lives.

COMPLETED
ONE-TIME ACTION

Kitchen

Use The Dishwasher

Using your dishwasher doesn't just save water! I will use my dishwasher whenever possible to extend the life of my sponges and dish cloths, and shed less microfibers from them.

COMPLETED 2
DAILY ACTIONS

Kitchen

Meatless Meals

There are many benefits to enjoying meatless meals - including reducing our plastic footprint. Most meats and dairy products are packaged in plastic, so this month, I will reduce my animal product consumption and enjoy 1 vegetarian or vegan meals each day.

COMPLETED 1
DAILY ACTION

Bathroom

Eco Deodorant

Conventional deodorant tubes are typically made from plastics #4 and #5, which are rarely accepted for recycling - especially together. When it's time to replace my current deodorant, I will replace it with a plastic-free option.

UNCOMPLETED
ONE-TIME ACTION

Community

Go For a Walk

Science has shown that focused time in nature calms our over-worked frontal lobe and gives space for the areas of our brain associated with emotions, pleasure, and empathy to take over, providing a sense of calm that is measurable in brain scans and even blood tests. Each day this month, I will spend 10 minutes outside in nature, and share my observations, reflections, and learnings on the Participant Feed.

COMPLETED 1
DAILY ACTION

Kitchen

Use Reusable Utensils

Whether I'm at work, on the go, or having food delivered, I will keep 1 plastic cutlery out of the landfill per day by using my own reusable cutlery.

COMPLETED 9
DAILY ACTIONS

Bathroom

Sustainable Suds

In the UK, the average person creates 512kg (1,129lbs) of waste in the bathroom over the course of their lifetime - 50% of which ends up in a landfill. As they run out, I will replace my soaps, shampoos, conditioners, and lotions with sustainable, unpackaged, or refillable options.

COMPLETED
ONE-TIME ACTION

Bathroom

Embrace Imperfection

Eliminating 100% of all plastic from our lives simply isn't possible. Throughout this month, I will embrace imperfection in my plastic-free journey while exploring and testing new ways to reduce my plastic footprint.

COMPLETED 2
DAILY ACTIONS

Bathroom

Use What You Have

The only thing worse than a single-use item is a zero-use item! I will use (and use up) what I already have in my home before buying something new.

COMPLETED 1
DAILY ACTION

Kitchen

Natural Corks

Natural cork is a sustainable, renewable, and biodegradable material, but many wineries are switching to synthetic corks for their wine bottles. Using a database like CORKWatch, I will choose wines with a natural cork closure, and properly compost or recycle them after enjoying my wine.

COMPLETED 2
DAILY ACTIONS

Bathroom

See the Green

An estimated 50,000lbs (23,000kg) of contact lenses end up in sewage sludge in the US each year. This month, I will learn how to recycle used contact lenses and packaging or switch to wearing glasses instead.

COMPLETED
ONE-TIME ACTION

Bathroom

Bidet All Day

The average American uses about 141 rolls of toilet paper each year, most of which is wrapped in plastic film. To cut down on my toilet paper usage, I will install a bidet in my bathroom.

UNCOMPLETED
ONE-TIME ACTION

Participant Feed

Reflection, encouragement, and relationship building are all important aspects of getting a new habit to stick.
Share thoughts, encourage others, and reinforce positive new habits on the Feed.

To get started, share “your why.” Why did you join the challenge and choose the actions you did?

  • REFLECTION QUESTION
    Study Borrowed Books
    Libraries have immense benefits for society. What are some cool resources your library has that might not be as well-known as book borrowing? What are some ways you advocate for libraries and share these resources with your community?

    Katharine Mantzouris's avatar
    Katharine Mantzouris 7/19/2024 6:03 AM
    Books seems to be one of those items that are universally accepted as a material item that can be bought with fervor and no is not frowned upon. Book stores are seen as culture hubs and I genuinely don't want to see them go away and I want authors to profit off of the wonderful books they write. Therefore, I used to feel bad when I would not buy books and go to the library instead. However, I learned that libraries are the biggest purchasers of books themselves and the authors benefit monetarily. In short, use your library and that is your advocacy!!
  • REFLECTION QUESTION
    Bathroom See the Green
    Take a moment to estimate how many disposable daily contacts you may have used over the years. What would be your impact now of switching to a contact brand with a longer lifespan?

    Katharine Mantzouris's avatar
    Katharine Mantzouris 7/10/2024 1:19 PM
    Since I have been wearing contact lenses since I was 16, I have got through probably 300 pairs in my life so far. These are the 2 week ones which I think is the longest but I need to do some research. I have been wearing my glasses for many days in a row now!
  • REFLECTION QUESTION
    Bathroom Sustainable Suds
    What are the economic and personal benefits of switching to bar soap/shampoo/conditioner or refillable bottle options?

    Katharine Mantzouris's avatar
    Katharine Mantzouris 7/08/2024 12:26 PM
    I find that they last a lot longer and they don't clutter up your shower area with ugly bottles!
  • REFLECTION QUESTION
    Bathroom Embrace Imperfection
    How has embracing imperfection impacted your plastic-free journey?

    Katharine Mantzouris's avatar
    Katharine Mantzouris 7/08/2024 12:25 PM
    I used single use fork at the brewery I went to this weekend. But I won't let it get me down. I will just need to remember when there is food trucks involved, bring your own utensils!!
  • REFLECTION QUESTION
    Community Go For a Walk
    What have you noticed about your mental and/or physical health while going on daily walks? How has it affected other areas of your life?

    Katharine Mantzouris's avatar
    Katharine Mantzouris 7/08/2024 12:24 PM
    Absolutely. I find daily walks and being in nature has 2 different effects. It gives me the ability to process things that I have to deal with in daily life; a difficult problem or day at work that I need to think through or next steps in other areas of life. You cannot take in new information, you can only sit with the information you have and think on it. But it also can keep your mind OFF of things like work. When you find a cool new bug or eels under a waterfall (speaking from experiences today), you don't have room in your brain for what is bothering you, just enjoying the here and now.
  • REFLECTION QUESTION
    Bathroom Use What You Have
    Besides the economic benefits of using the things we already own, how can this practice impact our lives in other ways and influence the way we interact with "things"?

    Katharine Mantzouris's avatar
    Katharine Mantzouris 7/05/2024 6:30 AM
    It honestly feels really good. Knowing that I used up a whole thing of salt, baking powder, cinnamon spice or any of those other kitchen staples that always seem to be there, it feels good knowing I used what I had rather than continuously buying more spices for ever more different dishes to make
  • REFLECTION QUESTION
    Kitchen Natural Corks
    Do you have a favorite winery? Do they use natural or synthetic corks for their wines? If they use synthetic, how can you advocate for them to use natural corks instead?

    Katharine Mantzouris's avatar
    Katharine Mantzouris 7/03/2024 5:41 AM
    Boordy vineyards seems to do twist top for their wines or at least the wines that I enjoy. I will try and see if I can find an avenue to ask if they can switch to natural cork instead

  • Katharine Mantzouris's avatar
    Katharine Mantzouris 7/03/2024 5:39 AM
    Today I am wearing glasses and I brought my prescription sunglasses. This is despite the fact that I will be doing some field work first thing this morning

  • Katharine Mantzouris's avatar
    Katharine Mantzouris 7/02/2024 11:15 AM
    For my contact lenses challenge, I have been able to wear my glasses throughout the last few weekends. Then wore my glasses 2 days during the work week when I didn't have field work. I love my contacts but I know its better for my eyes and better for the earth if I wear them less.

  • Katharine Mantzouris's avatar
    Katharine Mantzouris 7/02/2024 11:13 AM
    Checked out CorkWatch, the database that shows which wines have natural (and also list not natural cork tops) of the wines. Unfortunately, I mostly enjoy local wine, Boordy and Linganor. This database has bigger brands. I was able to find that 19 Crimes Red Blend has natural cork. Will seek that one out in the meantime. I will also see if MOMs Organic Market has brought back their cork recycling after they got rid of a bunch of odd recycling during COVID. Will report back