Kicking The Plastic Habit (Part Two)
In “Kicking the Plastic: Part One” I discussed the ubiquitous-ness of the stuff (it’s everywhere), a brief history of plastics, (multi-useful, inherently moldable) the myths of plastic recycling (it never really breaks down) and health hazards of plastics (it off-gasses, chokes oceans and landfills and too much may lead to various illnesses)
I then said “what’s a girl to do?” and answered “Refuse. Reduce. Reuse. Recycle.”
BUT HOW? Like I said….it’s everywhere…
Well, just like when you go on any sort of diet, you pick and choose which foods or habits might be the ones making you fat and you get rid of those first. If you try and get rid of everything all at once, your body and psyche will rebel and you’ll just fall back into your old habits. Over-whelm is a real issue and usually doesn’t work
So, for plastics, I figure that the best way to wean myself is to identify which plastics are the least harmful and which are more harmful, and try and quit using the most harmful ones first. To my way of thinking, this meaning eliminating single-use plastics FIRST.
Thus said, durable plastics, being those plastics that you use over and over and over again, aren’t necessarily so bad-the energy you get out will be more on-par with the energy putting into making it. Some examples of durable plastic items in my house that I find immediately useful and keep using over and over again:
-My hand-washing dish tub (I got it from my Mom, who’d had it for thirty years and the plastic is still good)
-Hair brush and comb (yes- wood would be better, but I’ve already go the otehr0
-The plastic see-through tubs that store the Xmas décor
-The plastic dashboards in both the Hybrid and electric cars that make the vehicles light weight and thus more fuel efficient
-The plastic on the keyboard I am typing on and the computer
Etc., Etc., Etc.
ALL THESE ITEMS ARE USED FOR WAY MORE THAN TEN MINUTES AT A TIME.
What are not so useful are
- The single-use plastics, which is what nearly everything is packaged in
-Nearly every cosmetic item or tool you buy
-Single use plastic bags that get used for five minutes to carry your stuff from the store to the car
-Plastic lids on take-out food, coffee, tea
-Plastic rings on soda can six-packs
-Plastic wrapped meat
-Packaging, packaging and (sigh) more packaging
THESE ITEMS ARE USED FOR LESS THAN TEN MINUTES AT A TIME. WHAT A WASTE.
My strategy, then, is to try and figure out which items I can buy that don’t have the packaging and to try and find food outlets that don’t wrap their meat in plastic. Here are a few switched I have made or are in the midst of making right now:
-REFUSE, REFUSE, REFUSE plastic bags at stores and BRING MY OWN CLOTH BAGS
-Seek out and start buying meat at good old fashioned butcher shops and fish markets where they wrap the item in butcher paper
-Buy L’EGGS pantyhose instead of Haines or other- ironically, L’EGGS used to come in a small plastic egg, but now come with a simple cardboard wrapper that can be recycled and also de-composes back into the earth
-Find a rice cracker brand that packages in cardboard boxes instead of a mold-injected tray wrapped in even more plastic. Better yet- bake my own!
-Reuse, refill reuse soap and shampoo bottles- the local co-op (PCC) has bulk soaps
-Get political: write letters to BEST FOODS and KETTLE PEANUT BUTTER and ask why on earth have they recently switched from the glass mayonnaise and peanut butter jars they’ve used for years and put their products in PLASTIC jars?
But this will be a challenge, and thus, for this computer-geek, a game or puzzle of sorts. And at some point, either in-between or after the Holidays, I plan on doing the No-Plastic Challenge, where I challenge myself to NOT BUY ANYTHING IN PLASTIC for seven, ten, fourteen days, whatever seems like a reasonable goal, and to post the results here on Deb Goes Green.