With no regularity whatsoever, I give myself challenges. I did the Local Eating Month, the Buy Used When Possible Year, the Buy No Magazines Year, and other experiments. Today begins my Reduce Single-Use Plastic Year.
It’s been almost a decade since Susan Freinkel’s book Plastic: A Toxic Love Story presented me with a startling awareness of the ubiquitous nature of plastic. As she explains, she tried to go an entire day without touching anything made of plastic.
Go ahead. Try it for yourself.
As 2020 plays out, I’ll be working to stay mindful of my purchases–especially food purchases– with an eye toward avoiding bringing plastic into my life. Even I, the wide-eyed idealist, don’t expect to rid myself of plastic, but I’m curious to see if I can make a significant reduction in the amount of plastic I bring home.
From time to time, I’ll share my successes and failures. Most of the time, though, I’ll share whatever encouragement I can find in hopes of inspiring you to join me on the plastic-reduction journey.
You might start with Freinkel’s book, or at least by reading my review of it here: Plastic: A Toxic Love Story
Beth Terry is another trailblazer in the plastic-free movement. Her website offers a list of 100 steps you can take to reduce your plastic consumption.
Ah, but you recycle plastic, you say. No, you probably don’t. One of the most disturbing and disheartening things I learned from Freinkel’s book is that some forms of plastic can be down-cycled, but no plastic is truly recyclable.
Perhaps the worst offenders among the plastic invaders are the two most common single-use items, plastic bags and plastic straws. If you do nothing else to help the cause, I hope you’ll consider refusing to accept either of these things into your life again.
Is it really possible to rid ourselves of plastic? No. I don’t think so.
Can a few of us reducing our plastic consumption save the planet? No. Certainly not.
Does doing what is morally and ethically right going to make our lives better and our souls brighter? Yes. And that’s reason enough to make the effort.