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.