Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Life without plastic?

This weekend, we watched Jean-Michel Cousteau’s "Dolphins and Whales 3D." The IMAX movie makes a point of sharing which ones are in dangerous risk of extinction due to our actions. I was shocked that a person seated behind my husband grumbled about it being a load of garbage (albeit more colorfully) that we are to blame.

Why do you think we have a dead zone in the Gulf? Or that species of fish are disappearing? Or that lobster fishermen are struggling? (If you need to put a “people spin” on the problem.)

Writes Robert Morley on “One such garbage patch of plastic, located north of Hawaii, covers an area approximately twice the size of Texas.”

“Evidence of our failure to deal with plastic rubbish is everywhere, from bulging landfill sites and countryside litter in the UK to a toxic plastic 'soup' swilling around the middle of the North Pacific, thousands of miles from continental land,” writes Christine Jeavans of the BBC. “Island groups such as Hawaii and Midway which, by their location in the Pacific should be pristine, instead are awash with plastic, killing seabirds, turtles and other marine life.”

The great news is the tides are changing. California is considering banning plastic bags to protect marine life. On a more individual level, attitudes are shifting. We’re investing more in reusable bags, though at a slow pace. And Jeavans is doing something few of us could fathom: She is giving up buying anything plastic for an entire month.


Jeavans kept track of a month’s worth of plastic used in her household – 603 item, from cheese wrappers to toothbrushes. Can she go completely plastic-free for 30 days? Read her blog at “Not my bag” on the BBC Web site.


Anonymous said...

That's a tough challenge. There's so many things that have some sort of packaging that contains plastic, which sometimes isn't visible. Like twisty-ties or plastic-coated cardboard. There's some things (like produce) which you can't purchase without plastic. Good luck to her!

Robbie said...

Becky, why can't you? When we visit farm stands or the farmers market, we simply take extra grocery bags to carry our produce in.

Carol Michel said...

That's quite a challenge. I do recycle all the #1 and #2 plastics that cross my threshold, and gripe about companies that use other types that aren't readily recycled.

I do need to get some reusable bags to take to the store with me.

Anonymous said...

The Farmers Markets here are open Saturdays only. With not doing much for pre-packaged foods (as many of them contain at least some plastic), fresh foods would be a daily necessity. And most fresh produce won't keep a full week.

Maybe this isn't as big of an issue with an area that grows more produce, but around here, cotton is king & farmers markets don't do much produce!

Robbie said...

Carol -- I can help you out with that.

Becky -- If you buy fresh from a farm stand or farmers market, they are usually picked the day of or day before. I've found that tends to stay fresh throughout the week, as opposed to "fresh" that was shipped across country/from another country and then sat in a store until I bought it.

Have you looked on local harvest's Web site for area resources? (Or ask your cousin, the foodie...) Just a thought.