The Dentist. First of all, my dentist is pretty darn cool. She's got the most personable chair side manner and she's a whiz with the drill. Anyway, I mentioned the blog to her and that I would need to keep my rinse cup. Shortly thereafter, I realized that I had created a monster. Here is a conversation (inspired by true events) between dentist (D) and dental assistant (DA).
D: (to DA) "Hey, so we have to save everything plastic that we use here today because Sunnye is keeping all of her plastic for a year."
DA: (long suspicious pause) "Is this a joke?"
Sunnye: (chuckling sheepishly with numbed lower jaw) "Ith notha joke."
DA: "OK, that's just weird."
D: "Anyway, we have to keep everything we use on her that we would otherwise throw in the trash...so she can take it home with her."
DA: (now on board with the idea) "Ooooh--and we can put it all in her plastic headrest cover--it'll make a good baggie."After a quick filling, my dentist handed me a little doggie bag of plastics--about 15 items in total. And to think, I was feeling on top of things for remembering the rinse cup.
D: "Good idea."
Both roll their chairs to hover over Sunnye's mouth and continue their dialogue. Sunnye is reluctantly no longer able to participate in the conversation due to rapidly spinning dental tools on her teeth.
DA: "So, what is the blog about?"
D: "She gave us a card; it's right there on the counter, so we can look it up later."
DA: "But why is she doing it?"
D: "I told you! We have to just read it. Do you recycle?"
DA: "Only plastic bottles, but my mom recycles EVERYTHING."
D: (jokingly exasperated) "What are you, a polar bear hater?!"
(Sunnye chuckles & drools a little)
D: "Well, then you should recycle more. I'm always picking my husband's recyclables out of the trash. Then I ask if he hates polar bears and that always seems to get him."
DA: "We can give her the suction tubes too."
D: "Oh yeah, and we need to keep the brush tips and plastic barriers on the light."
As I was leaving, she mentioned how cool it would be if I could come in and spend a day auditing their plastic consumption. This brings me back to my very first post. Where would the medical/dental world be without plastic?
Right. So, back to the Bahamas. I will be spending the next 5 months of my short life in Cape Eleuthera, Bahamas as an aquaponics intern for the Cape Eleuthera Institute. I am leaving tomorrow and will return June 15. The humorous serendipity of this whole thing is that the institute began a zero waste initiative on September 1--the same day I started my blog. When asked if I might be challenged by sharing an environment with my waste, a huge smile spread across my face. Phew...I guess this means I won't have to secretly stuff my plastic under the mattress.
It goes without saying that this blog will evolve a bit. I am guessing I won't have the time or the patience to post each week. The work week is 5.5 days and the internet connection is on "island time." I will still be collecting my plastic and I'm still working on the logistics of how to get it all back to Boston. Any bright ideas are welcomed. Since the institute is a community of shared resources, I am hoping that my individual plastic consumption will decrease, but who knows? I am excited to fill my brain and hands with all things aquaponics as well as permaculture, aquaculture, alternative energy, small island development, shark research, Island School student research projects, and maybe I'll have time to slip in a little half marathon or a 4 mile swim with the students...my new found winter weight will thank me for it. ; )