Tuesday, April 26, 2011


It's everywhere.  Do you ever notice how much we rely on plastic in our culture?  Try to go a day - or even an hour - without it.  More and more I realize how much plastic is used to package the necessities of our lives.  Food and personal care items are now almost always packaged in plastic bags, plastic bottles, or have, at a minimum, a plastic lid or cap.  

And it's forever.  Plastic breaks down into smaller and smaller pieces and will ultimately break down into the original toxic chemicals from which it is made, but it doesn't go away, ever.  Years ago, I never gave it a thought.  I'd fill up my wastebaskets with it and then take them outside to my large trashcan that, twice a week, I rolled out the the curb for the regular garbage pickup.  It was all gone, so I didn't have to give it a thought.  But it's not really "gone"; it is just moved out of sight, to a landfill, where it might slowly break down over time.  Plastic breaks down into smaller and smaller pieces, becoming accidental food for wildlife and leaching toxic chemicals into our ground water.  Not good.

Over the years, I have tried to be a conscious consumer and environmentalist, recycling all that can be recycled in my community.  I've tried to reduce and reuse, as well, but the idea of plastic has really been bothering me lately.  One, because of what I've already said, that it never really goes away, two, because it is made of petroleum, a finite resource, and three, because there is a limit to how plastic can be recycled and I question whether the process is really safe.  Every time I discard a piece of plastic packaging, I wonder to myself, "Is this really necessary and what can I do about it?"

Now that I'm painfully aware of the tremendous amount of plastic in my life, I'm going to start making an extra effort to reduce how much I bring into my home.  About a year ago I switched from getting plastic bags for my purchases by carrying reusable totes whenever I go shopping.  I've already purchased bars to replace shampoo and conditioner bottles.  So now I'm going to start looking at everything I buy that comes in plastic packaging and try to come up with an alternative.  One of the first things I'm going to do is to start buying items from the bulk bins at the health food grocery store.  

Of course, I won't be able to immediately eliminate plastic packaging from my life, but by using baby steps, I hope to get closer to that goal.

1 comment:

Shona~ LALA dex press said...

When I go to Whole Foods I take my pre-weighed linen bags + jars for bulk items (plus .10 credit for bringing your own! Hey, anything I can do to take some $$ off my Whole Foods bill). Initially I got crazy looks, but now there are signs all over the bulk area suggesting you bring your own + have it weighed for the tare at customer service.

At a local mom + pop shop that has a few bulk bins I bring the bags, but don't bother with the extra weight because it's really quite minimal.

A friend sent me this link:


Yep, just take a moment to look around your area right now + notice everything made from plastic.