Splendid isolation


August 8, 2013 Comments (3) journal

Plastic planet


In his book “Plastic Ocean,” about the problem of microplastics in the sea, Charles Moore observes that “The exigencies of modern life make hypocrites of us all.” As we get further and further into this project, I am becoming more aware of just how difficult it is to rid my own life of single-use plastic. True, I no longer buy water in plastic bottles and I have been using my own grocery bags for quite a while now, but it seems like these things only scratch the surface.

It struck me again last night as I peeled the polyfilm wrapping off of the styrofoam package that the tri-tip came in and put the beef on the grill. Here was a non-recyclable item that could only be used one time and that, if I were as conscientious as I could be about its disposal, would eventually end up in a landfill. Where it would sit – more or less intact – for a thousand years after I am gone.

It is the ubiquitousness of plastic that makes it so hard to shake. When we decide to eliminate one of the plastic products we use, we become aware of the other hundred that we didn’t even notice before. We like to tell ourselves that it’s all recyclable, but we know that this isn’t true and, even if it were, it isn’t how it ends up happening anyway.

I got to thinking about the ways we try to minimize our use of plastics and I can’t help but think that there might be ideas out there that would be helpful to each of us if we knew about them. So, in addition to bringing your own reusable mug to the coffee shop and not using a straw when you eat out, what other things are you doing to remove single-use plastic from your life? Please respond in the comments section below; share your techniques and ideas and we will all learn something.

3 Responses to Plastic planet

  1. Kim Patterson says:

    It’s difficult to entirely avoid single use plastic, but chipping away at it can be fun. I take a capacious market basket and a collection of reusable mesh, fabric, and nylon bags to the farmers market. One set has tags and a wet erase marker to note bins numbers in the grocery store’s bulk food section. I make my own breakfast cereals and snacks from bulk ingredients and store them in glass or metal containers. Many of the foods I eat are raw rather than processed. Things would be different if I lived where fresh fruits and vegetables were not grown locally throughout the year, though.

  2. Liam says:

    there are many things we do at home and in our lives to avoid plastic wrappings (gardening, Goodwill, minimize, chose other options when they exist). But we also try to reuse the plastic we get as much as possible – washed bags, reused containers. It used to be the yoghurt containers that we had in supply, now its all sorts of containers with lids that get a new life. Avoidance when possible, reuse when possible.

  3. Patrick H says:

    Try looking at a blog “My Plastic Free Life”. The author also has a book out that helps you think through some of the problems we face getting rid of everyday plastic. Not always easy. Have to work on a different mind set, but it can be done!