Friday, September 13, 2019

What about all that plastic?

by Lorraine Bartlett / Lorna Barrett / L.L. Bartlett

As a society, we use a lot of plastic. I just have to look at my the desk in front of my keyboard and at least 75% of the stuff on it is plastic. For example, pens, the microphone I need for Google Hangouts with writer friends, ChapStick, glue stick, tape dispenser (not to mention the tape in it). Hand cream container, spray bottle (for when the cats chew my cords), notebook covers (I like to use yellow legal pads for a number of things and have at least two on my desk at all times). My phone charging cord, my mouse, the remotes for my stereo and little TV (which I hardly ever use).My checkbook cover. The modem and the router shells are all plastic. And that's just on my desktop. 

If you've seen the heartbreaking photos of sea life entangled and killed by plastic that's floating around in our oceans, then you know we've got a very big problem. Fish and other sea life end up eating plastic and when we eat them, we end up with plastic inside us, too. (Ick!)

What's the answer to our plastic problem is a video produced by Greenpeace and it brings up the complexities of ridding ourselves of plastic. "The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is the largest accumulation of ocean plastic in the world and is located between Hawaii and California. The GPGP covers an estimated surface area of 1.6 million square kilometers, an area twice the size of Texas or three times the size of France." That's a lot of plastic in the ocean--and in one specific spot. It's a big world, and that's not the only place where plastic has accumulated,

What can I, as a person, do to end my consumption of plastic? Well, for one--I'm not buying any more plastic wrap. Sorry, Saran Wrap, yer done. In it's place, I'm trying to (and not always succeeding) use all those plastic containers I already have, and I'm using waxed paper (in bags and in rolls). Also, when I get food (say cookies), I'm keeping them fresh by keeping them in their original (usually plastic) wrap, and using rubber bands to keep the air out and freshness in.

The Dollar Tree is a great store for all kinds of stuff ... but most of it's plastic. I have curtained my visits to the Dollar Tree so I won't be dazzled by cheap stuff that I don't need.

No more buying home decor items at retail. Nope. I'm a thrifter. I've bought most of my faux flowers at yard sales and have decided that there are too many items I can buy used so that I don't contribute to buying "new" plastic household stuff. Need replacement jewel cases for my CDs? (Yes, I still listen to CDs--and HORRORS! Books on (actual) tape!) I buy yard sale replacements.

One of the worst plastic offenders is the "carrier" bags we get at the grocery store. Mr. L and I both have small totes in our cars that (neatly) contain our reusable bags. I even take them to Walmart and Dollar General where I buy my cat food (Nine Lives and Friskies.)

New York State, where I live, is banning them as of March 1st, 2020. It's a good thing, but I will miss them for certain things. (Like picking out the large lumps from the cat box.) When we do end up with carrier bags, they always get double duty. It's rare that a bag will come home from the store and get thrown away. And when we are ready to throw them away, they go into a bigger bag and taken to the grocery store and their recycle bins.

We can all make little changes to how we live that will make us less dependent on plastic. I'd love to hear how you are doing it. Please share in the comment section below.


carol weston said...

Great post! glad to see I'm not the only one who cares. The straws are an important issue, they just keep giving them out. I think the wax paper is an excellent idea, when I started using it I was amazed how well it works. Cloth napkins, dish towels are helpful too I guess it's ust one baby step at a time.

Diane said...

I'm in Ct and we can't get plastic bags when we buy things. Well, I think you might be able to buy one for 10 cents until the end of the year. We can buy paper bags for 10 cents also. Otherwise you carry out your purchase in your hands or bring in your own bags. The only way I can remember to bring in my bags is to keep them beside me in the car. I now remember for the grocery store but yesterday I went to Bed Bath and Beyond for one little thing so thought I didn't need a bag. Of course, I bought 4 things and had to carry them out in my hands. So far I would say about half of the people are bringing in their own bags. I also have a plastic old bag in my handbags but forgot it was there yesterday. It's an inconvenience but like most things we will get used to it
. I Hope!