Posted by: David McKay | July 27, 2010

Eliminate single use plastics?!

My New Year’s Resolution:  Eliminate single use plastics from my life.

How am I doing?  I thought I should give a mid-year update.

This is not an easy question.  To ask or to answer.

  1. One plastic grocery bag.  Back in mid-January.
  2. Three plastic bottles — two bottles of Smart Water (is that right — I can’t even remember their name it’s been so long.  But, seriously, how smart are you if you’re buying their product?), and one bottle of ginger ale.  This was also back in January.
  3. Bread — that has been an on-going problem.
  4. Cheese — also an issue.
  5. Straws — working on this one.  I hear there are straws made of other materials.  But the people that would give me straws — I am telling them to not give me straws, I just need to remember to tell them before they do — they are beginning to remember to not give me straws.

I think what it comes down to initially, if you want to address the issue of plastic in your life, is to become aware.  Become aware of your decision making process.

Ask yourself some questions.  The initial questions you should ask yourself should address the fundamental basics of life:

What do you eat?  I eat less cheese.  Don’t get me wrong — I love cheese.  I am pissed off that cheese, for the most part, for the typical American shopper, is wrapped in single use plastic.  So, I eat less cheese.

What do you drink?  I drink tap water from a glass bottle.

What else do you buy?  This, I think, is the fundamental question, because this is the main way we acquire plastic.

Ultimately, we are all paying for plastic.

Here’s a question to leave you with:  What are you paying for plastic?

Remember:

Responsibility is not convenient — it’s necessary.

Rethink.  Refuse.  Reduce.  Reuse.

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Responses

  1. I like the question you have left us with. It’s provocative and digs into some real thought.
    The superficial answer is that I do not pay all that much for plastic. It is either cheap or free and that feels criminal. How can any product be so cheap or free unless the product is made off the backs of slave or nearly slave labor, god only knows where in this global market of ours. It feels as though the general population sees plastic as convenient and inexpensive. I heard there is even a polymer fill in the ice cream at fast food chains. . . really, in our food too?

    But when I look into the deeper economic and environmental issues around plastic, it becomes a very costly part of our global world. Pollution and waste just skim the surface of the underlying issues around plastic. Closer looks will find the politics and economic strong holds that the plastic market has on 3rd world countries. Someone dirt poor has to make all this inexpensive product that we feel we have a right to waste and use. One won’t ever find 3rd world countries making quality wooden toys.

    One more thought, while I am here. . . toys and diapers. There is another cost plastics play to our society. We are contaminating our youth with the onslaught of chemicals around our children. Diapers are made with polymers that don’t allow the brand new baby bottoms to breathe. (skin needs to breathe) But they sure are convenient with all their soaking up capabilities. ; ) Toys cover children’s rooms leaching chemicals into their lungs and food.

    Fraudulence is everywhere.
    Truth and responsibility go hand in hand, neither are very convenient.

  2. Some things I have done to reduce my dependancy on plastics: (I most certainly do a better more conscientious job.)

    -cloth diapers
    -glass refillable water bottles
    -glass bins for bulk products on my pantry shelves
    -no new polyester clothing
    -reusable shopping bags
    -conservative purchasing in general, I really don’t need most of the crap available to me
    -reusing single use plastics that were intended for landfill

    any other suggestions?

  3. milkman
    reusable cups
    produce bags
    ecover refil service for cleaning stuff

  4. Dave, thanks for your update on your resolution to eliminate single use plastic from your life. It is an issue we are working on, too. I feel your frustration.

    I am surprised to see that bread is an issue for you. Maybe I’m missing the real problem, but have you tried making your own bread? So easy. And it can be stored in a tin. I make all the bread we eat. I make lots of buns and rolls. Buns are great for sandwiches, rolls great with most meals. Occasionally, I make a loaf. Great as toast. But the buns also are great split and toasted. Bread can be stored in the freezer and used as needed, too. I don’t know what your life circumstances are, but consider making your own bread, if plastic wrapped store bought bread is the issue. Tons of info online. Even if you are not used to cooking, bread is doable. Perhaps you know someone who can teach you. Or jump in and give it a try. You may impress yourself! 🙂

    I’m glad you are learning to say “no plastic” automatically. Every “no plastic” decision is a win. Plastic straws that you have on hand can be washed. We even run any we have through the dishwasher, over and over. But we are in transition and are now using glass straws. When the last of the plastic ones we now have are gone, no more plastic straws.

    I hope you do not get discouraged in your fight against plastic. Keep posting. Keep working on it. Thanks for posting your wins and your frustrations.

    ~~Rhonda

    • Making bread is on the short list. I look forward to it. I need to. Thanks for the encouragement! There is a scene in, A Wizard of Earthsea, by Ursula K. LeGuin, where the main character, after a long hard journey, gets to a place of refuge and it smells of fresh baked bread. I love that book and I have always wanted that smell, so I will be making bread. And I will be sure to write about it.

  5. you might think this is cheating but bread making machines are fantastic

    • I like the way you’re thinking. I will look into that.


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