Sum It Up Sunday - Plastic Not So Fantastic
I’ve got a task for you. It won’t take more than five minutes. Take a moment to think about it, then go to your kitchen and pull out all the plastic things you use every single day. Perhaps you have a Keurig for your morning dose of caffiene, or you stop at Starbucks and get one of their cups with the plastic top or straw. Then there are the lunches you may pack for your kids or yourself in Ziploc bags. There are those leftovers from dinner that you covered in plastic wrap. If you didn’t have time to pack a lunch, perhaps you’re getting take out with plastic cutlery and in a styrofoam or plastic container. Grabbing groceries at the store and not bringing your reusable bags while putting your produce into even more plastic bags. And let’s not forget bottled water. It all adds up, doesn’t it?
The environment can not handle this deluge of garbage. It takes too long to decompose and has a truly detrimental affect on our oceans, which is where most of it will eventually end up. The problem seems insurmountable and you may think “I’m only one person, I will have no effect”. Feeling defeated by it all is very understandable.
And yet… there is a wonderful quote out there that speaks to this very situation. "No snowflake in an avalanche ever feels responsible."- Stanislaw Jerzy Lec. If we, one silly snowflake at a time, take the time to make small changes, big change can indeed occur.
I’ve got a bunch of examples for you.
Buy in Bulk- I’m lucky to have a store in my area, that caters to the bulk buying crew. I’ve got glass jars, that they tag with it’s weight (tare) before I fill it. Buying in bulk is often cheaper than buying packaged goods. And it isn’t just food. Lotions, shampoo, house hold cleaners, and even pet food can be found in bulk. I’m also a fan of the atmosphere at a bulk store, which is more community minded and usually locally run.
What a Bag - I get that it’s a pain in the ass to remember your reusable grocery bags. All of us have left them in the car or house. Usually right by the front door where I put them so I would remember them. Doh! That’s why I have so many. I have some in the car, some in the house hanging on the doorknob so I don’t forget, basically anwhere my eye may fall as I’m leaving and distracted by, you know, shiny things. And yes, they are making an impact.
Caffeine Fix - Let’s get to talking about your morning indulgence. I know you love that mocha with whipped cream, and I say YES, get it. Treat yourself! Starbucks sells the cups you can reuse to do just that. You can find reusable metal straws so you don’t suffer from “whipped cream” mustache. I bring my Mickey travel mug with me everywhere, because I’m tea crazy and I need to feed the crazy (I found it at a thrift store, which is another way of keeping all the things we as a species have bought and discarded, out of a landfill). The Keurig owning crew, we’ve got you covered too. Drink up!
Zip It - Plastic wrap and Ziploc bags are convenient. I get that. You can now get amazing, enviromentally friendly substitutes. I’ve purchased the beeswax wrap for friends, who swear by it. It’s easy to clean and work really well, especially with cheese. Your leftovers, sandwiches and snacks will stay safe and convenient when you get your self a few of the latest reusable bags that are tougher and as easy to use as the disposable ones.
Oh Fork - I’ve got a few sets of these travel, bamboo cutlery sets. Sure, I travel about more than the average person, yet the average person eats out more than I do. So if you’re grabbing take out, or even eating in a restaurant (or let’s be honest, food court) that only has plasticware, you can use your own and know that you’re doing a bit more and maybe even feel a bit sophisticated by it all. I do when I’m eating falafel from the place just down from Cinnabon.
H2Oh! - I’m old enough to remember when bottled water wasn’t a thing. When canteens or igloo dispensers were that thing. Now you will literally trip over a plastic water bottle just about anywhere in the world. If you add up the $$ you save every week by using your own water bottle and filling it at a tap or water fountain, I’ll bet you’ll be surprised. There are options for every lifestyle and many will even match that scarf you’ve been meaning to wear.
This seems like a lot to ask, I know. Take it one step at a time. You don’t need to get rid of it all right away. Start with one thing. See how well it works for you and your lifestyle. Yes, it does mean a change. There will be more washing up. More space will be taken up in your bag. Think of the space in the ocean and landfills that will be opening up because of this choice you’ve made. It isn’t about just the world we are living in now, it’s about the world that will be once we are long gone. Be an example and be the change.
Have you already made a change from plastics in your life? Let me know all about it in the comments below.