Monday, April 6, 2009

Enough with the plastic, already!

When you come to a fork in the road, take it.
—Yogi Berra

If you're reading this blog, you undoubtedly know that plastic is a plague. It is everywhere, and it isn’t going away. Ever.

It is time for me, you, and all of our friends to take action. Just say no to water bottled in disposable plastic bottles, and carry your own refillable bottle. Yes, this is sometimes (often) not the most convenient option. Plastic bottles never go away, the bottled water industry is unregulated (meaning that it is not tested and can be water from the tap at the bottleing plant) and costs from 240 to 10,000 times what you are paying for tap water. So save your cash, buy a filter and a Klean Kanteen.

And speaking of the plastic never going away, if you haven’t already, please watch this brief (7 minutes) Ted video featuring Captain Charles Moore of the Algalita Marine Research Foundation. It is absolutely fascinating, eye-opening, depressing and yet inspiring.

You and I and all of our friends and relatives can make a difference. Here are a few ideas:
  1. Make a pledge to never again use plastic water bottles. Give reusable bottles like Klean Kanteens and Sigg bottles to everyone you know for birthdays and other holidays.
  2. The same with soda bottles. If you’re going to drink soda, purchase it in aluminum cans rather than plastic bottles. Yes, the embodied energy that goes into producing a can is higher; however, the likelihood that the can will be recycled is much higher, too.
  3. Stop plastic on land before it reaches the ocean – be responsible for your own plastic, and that of others. Pick it up when you see it, and make sure it gets into a garbage can somewhere.
  4. No more plastic shopping bags. Bring your own reuseable bags.
  5. Consider bringing your own reuseable produce bags, too. You can find some fantastic ones on Etsy.
  6. Patronize only companies that use recycled plastic in their packaging. For example, Dr. Bronner’s products are packaged in 100% post-consumer recycled plastic bottles. If your favorite product does not come in recycled plastic packaging, let the company know that you want it to. Change starts with you!
  7. Consider plastic when shopping. Do you really need individually plastic-packed yogurt?
    Consider making your own food instead of food that comes packaged in plastic: yogurt, mayonnaise, etc.
  8. Use lists like this one when shopping. Perhaps what you’re looking for is made of recycled plastic – if we don’t support the companies using recycled materials they have little motivation to continue!

Working together we CAN make a difference. Now, go save the earth!

“Only we humans make waste that nature can’t digest.” ~ Captain Charles Moore, Algalita


  1. Alline,

    This is such an easy to follow list that can make such a difference. BTW I love the TED videos. So interesting and inspiring.

  2. Cheers, Alline! I always enjoy your ornery tone.

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  4. great resources and choices re: produce bags - thank you

  5. Alline, I love your suggestions re plastic. So simple and so true.

    Some of the PR pitches I received for Earth Day included totally discretionary, unnecessary products packaged in plastic. It is infuriating, especially because this type of greenwashing really detracts from sustainable businesses that are trying to do the right thing.

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