There have been many people who have been upset in California when they are charged for plastic bags after a long hard day of grocery shopping. I’m not one of them. I don’t want to brag, but I have been carrying those reusable bags for a few years now. It’s pretty much a habit now. It started a few years ago and I am pretty proud to have made some really good changes and have even got my younger cousins to rethink. Now, I’m not the type of girl willing to give up her frou-frou coffee for the sake of a plastic straw but in August 2011, a friend of mine (Hi Mary Jane) in Hawaii invited me to her Plastic Project Xperiment. Her mission was simple — to not buy anything plastic for a month. Her journey is one that I never forgot. I decided from that moment to try to conserve as much as I could. Her project was a huge butterfly effect in my life. One that I hope I can share with you to have the same effect.
First of all, I failed at not buying plastic. I went straight to the 99 Cent Store and purchased small lunch containers that I put in a bag under my car seat. But I was thinking about reducing my impact on the earth. I thought this was a great purchase because I hardly ever finish a meal at a restaurant. So, on my next dinner out with my cousin at one of our favorite restaurants, while waiting for a to-go container, I remembered that I had that bag under my car seat and went to get it. The next thing I know, my 18-year-old cousin was cracking up. So I asked him what he would do if he was on a date and his date brought her own to-go containers. His disposition went from laughing at his cousin; to hell yes; he’d love to date a cute hipster girl with the bento box; small sacrifice. Mary said on her blog “it’s the social awkwardness that makes me want to give up this project.”
Mary said on her blog “it’s the social awkwardness that makes me want to give up this project.” But the most difficult part of this whole project was that pesky straw! Most places have straws and cannot use reusable tumblers that most of us already have for sanitary reasons, restaurants will automatically put straws in glasses, and dare I mention any fast food joint?!
The WMS Coral Keepers; students at Whitehall Middle School in Whitehall, MI. founded today, (the fourth day in February) as #SkipTheStrawDay. After seeing a sea turtle with a straw up its nose, they wanted to bring awareness to how many plastic straws are being wasted and polluting our earth. I couldn’t help but think of Mary on Hawaii making her own laundry detergent to reduce her plastic consumption, yet had far too many restaurants bring her a reusable glass with a plastic straw ready for the trash before it got to her table; Proof that we need to change our cultural norms when it comes to recycling. Straws are not likely to be recycled like plastic water bottles, or aluminum cans. You may not choose to give up your frou-frou drinks either, but maybe you can have a car cup or paper straws and reduce other areas of plastic consumption to do your part.
I still, use my plastic doggy-bag to-go container under the seat of my Prius ready for use. I have added a soup container, a reusable plastic drinking glass, and straw. I will rewash plastic silverware like everyone’s granny! I have a filtered reusable water bottle. I recycle all shampoo and conditioner bottles and am a big advocate of the handkerchief. Anyone wanting to do their part need only to search the internet to find plastic saving pay dirt; Pinterest can direct you to your conservation needs. Mary’s Plastic Project Xperiment is still up and you can read her daily struggles and suggestions in one day to get inspired. And please, sharing is caring in this department! Let us know how you have started to reduce using plastic. I don’t worry about that social awkwardness anymore; we all have other awkward traits that make this plastic prevention plan seem normal, and in the words of Mary, I’m using “survival skills yo. Survival skillllllssss…”
Thanks for reading ~
La Vida Verde