Friday, April 29, 2011

SLAP…We’ve Been Sold!



The grocery store makes me feel guilty for using paper.  Paper degrades.  But it’s costly to the store so they’ve made me think the thin plastic bags which take 45 to properly bag my order are better than 3 paper bags.

If you look around your house, or mine, it’s FULL of plastic. And here’s something that you’ve heard a million times lately (and if you haven’t heard it yet, I’m honored to be your first…) : 

NONE OF THE PLASTIC THAT’S EVER BEEN MADE HAS GONE ANYWHERE.          

It’s all still here. Sure we recycle (most of us) and that’s super spectacular, but wouldn’t a better option to be never having to find a different use for something SO permanent and so shortly used? Recycling is a costly endeavor where something is broken down and made into something different. And it’s an amazing thing to do when all the other options have failed.

But to leave a store without all the plastic in the first place is the first and best option.

This is a very difficult proposal because almost everything we buy is in plastic. And again, that’s because it’s cheaper. We drink water in single use containers. We send our children to school with school boxes full of one use products…sometimes the lunch box itself is single use.

I look around and everyone is paying exemplary lip service to the Earth Day mantra; being very hip with their canvas grocery bags that don’t quite hold the cases of plastic water bottles, two liters of soda, Ziploc bags and Saran Wrap (trademarked). So while the effort to not use the plastic bags at check out is a great first step, what more can you do? The talkey talkey about how much we recycle is a bunch of toxic garbage if we aren’t willing to reduce the recycling.

There is a theory swirling around that what the Mayans mean by the end of the calendar is:  a new WAY OF THINKING. I might just be showing my age, and my elders can feel free to call me out on it if I’m wrong, but I see a shift in thought. I see people asking more questions and looking to a broader goal. 



Our pals in the 60’s started a great ball rolling. And FINALLY the pendulum seems to be swinging to a more “normal” place where the love isn’t cheesy, and we’re not out for #1 *quite* as much. It’s time to embrace a lifestyle of less. TRULY less. In all ways.

Less packaging, less amount, less uber convenience. 

We aren’t so coddled that we can’t wash a container that holds our children’s sandwiches. We surely have time to rinse out a water bottle and repack it the next day. And maybe we tell manufacturers that the mayo should go back into glass. We have chances to tell companies what we want every time we make (or don’t make) a purchase. 

Here is a statistic, and if you like this rabbit hole, go further on your own. If every American household replaced ONE ROLL of crazed sex inducing Cottonelle (trademarked!) with a recycled fiber brand (and I know I’m starting out with a real hum dinger here since we all know sex is better with virgin tree TP),  “according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the United States could save 470,000 trees, 1.2 million feet of cubic landfill space, and 169 million gallons of water if everyone in the US traded one roll of regular toilet paper for a recycled roll. That’s just for one roll.”  -Toilet Paper World

Okay, so if we can make one teeny change in our bathrooms and save that many trees, what can we do by forgoing the plastic bags at checkout? And what if we DIDN’T bag up our apples in the produce section and *GASP!* let them roll free in the cart, then in the bag on the way home and then ultimately…the crisper?  WHAT THEN??  Can you even possibly conceive of a life where the apples roll free?  I bet you can.

How about just entertaining the thought of buying loose spinach that yes, I AM sorry to report, you’ll have to wash on your own…possibly twice…instead of buying the spinach in the plastic container.  If this is really abhorrent to you, perhaps you could do something twice over helpful:  hire a chef, buy the bagless spinach and get someone off unemployment.  That person can wash your veggies for you! I kid, but seriously.  Wash a spinach leaf and keep the plastic out of the equation.

In the name of convenience, we’ve killed Sam Walton’s dream to have big box stores selling only items “made in America” and we’ve slaughtered the ability to know what’s right or wrong to put in our bodies.  Kraft mac and cheese (trademarked!) is way cheaper than making real mac and cheese, because small amounts of flavor packed chemicals cost less than real, actual cheese. A box of baggies and a roll of foil seem cheaper and easier than hyper long lasting (and THEN recyclable) plastic containers.

I’m no paragon of this “no plastic” rule. I’m only talking about it after seeing the “Plastiki” story and it caught my eye.



Don't forget to check out the video!

Video

Be assured I don’t preach on high about the rampant and evil use of plastic because I’m looking around my house and it’s all I see! So what today means is I’m slapping my own face first, and then slapping the face of the person sitting next to me.

I pay attention on airplanes. 




Helpful sites if you like the rabbit hole:
And even though I’m arguing from MY perspective and I want you to come to MY way of thinking…here’s the other side. A little snipit anyway: http://www.plasticsindustry.com/

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