I recently read an article about how we need to stop using straws because our ocean and its lifeforms are literally choking on them. I get it - that garbage patch in the Pacific makes me super sad. I have tried to take action on this front by being more personally responsible.. I have a lovely collection of reusable straws in my home, use reusable coffee mugs and cups as often as I can. As I type this, I am drinking iced coffee out of a mason jar with a reusable straw. I use reusable bags in the grocery store. When I don't, I use the bags as garbage bags in my small garbage can. I wash Ziploc bags. I buy compostable plates made of wheat. I was told to carry a reusable spork (I bought one but can't bring myself to put it in my purse).
But how far can personal responsibility help us when literally every business ever uses a crap-ton of plastic? Order food from any restaurant or take home leftovers and you get styrofoam containers, disposable cutlery (in a plastic bag), salad dressing in a plastic pouch, in a plastic bag (why?).
Literally every food item I buy from the grocery store comes in a plastic container. I just made a grilled cheese and the bread, cheese, and butter were all housed in plastic. Even the butter cubby in my fridge is plastic.
Personal responsibility is important yes, but we should also lobby our local businesses and major companies to ditch the plastic and find alternatives as well. We also have to consider that not everyone can afford fancy reusable coffee cups and reusuable bags and fancy metal water bottles - there is a class issue with this as well. Not to mention, all those things had to be manufactured - how can we be certain that this trend of reusable items is not hurting the environment as well? The best option is to reuse what we have and minimize our desire to consume and buy more more more!
I still believe in making better personal choices for the earth. But plastic-shaming also needs to be directed at literally every business. Real change will not come from a few individuals as long as we are bombarded with plastic in every conceivable area of our lives.
This episode of Adam Ruins Everything has a lot of food for thought on this topic (with sources!) . You may also want to check out The Story of Stuff and Bag It, two great short films.
What are your thoughts on plastic overload? What do you do personally and politically to impact positive change?
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I am a tech pro, blogger, DIY'er, reader, TV binger, music lover, nerd and semi-crunchy mom. I write about professional development, being crafty, motherhood and politics. Thanks for joining me and letting me share my thoughts with you!