I guess I’ve put off this blog for about as long as humanly possible. Remember? The one I said I’d write to report on how my “Week Without Plastic” went? Of course you don’t, because this was ages ago. But yeah, well, about that…
I failed, okay?
To begin with, I only kept a diary on Day 1, when I did a little inventory of the plastic in and around my home. In short, plastic–in all of its infinite variety–was everywhere: inside my home, outside my home, littered along the roads when I drove down to the river to take my dog for a walk. I was literally wearing plastic. When Daisy did her business along the trail, I used a plastic bag to clean it up. And when I found a lovely, wild little spot to sit on a log and watch the river run past, I looked down and saw this big, ragged shard of green plastic half buried in the sand.
Like I said, it was literally everywhere.
Day 1 was also the same day I started losing enthusiasm for this challenge and started making a list of the plastic things I’d need to buy as soon as the week was up, starting with the plastic kitchen bags we’d just run out of. On Day 2, after it hit us that there was very little at the plastic-packed grocery store we could buy, Brett and I bought a carton of ice cream and discovered later that its cardboard lid cunningly concealed an inner plastic one. Okay, so that was an accident, but Day 3 wasn’t: I purposely bought a plastic-encased hot spot spray for Daisy. She was just so itchy. And so much for not buying any plastic.
On the bright side, I did drastically reduce my plastic baggie/plastic storage bag use for the entire week. I made sure I dug out my (plastic) storage containers, or–even better–used some of the many glass canning jars I have. I did pay much more attention to my plastic use, and weeks later I’m still trying to pay attention and question each plastic purchase more. As promised, I also saved all of my non-recyclable plastic garbage from the week, and it didn’t actually amount to too much because we’re pretty good about recycling. But I haven’t made anything with it yet. It’s just sitting in a box in the mudroom, making me feel guilty. I read up on plastic, too–what it is (ah, chemistry), why it’s such amazing and useful stuff, and why it’s such a problem.
And it really is a problem. Fun Plastic Fact Plastic made from hydrocarbon fuels doesn’t biodegrade like food waste or paper. In a landfill, it will last for years and years. In water, it will photodegrade into smaller and smaller pieces that animals like sea turtles and albatrosses ingest. Eventually it turns to chemicals that are toxic to wildlife–and us.
Oh wait, that wasn’t very fun. Also, it was more like four facts crammed together.
In summary, my attempt at a week without plastic was discouraging. I’ve long considered myself to be a fairly eco-conscious person, but here I am, surrounded by plastic. Did I mention it’s everywhere?
I think I did. Next time I’m picking an easier challenge.
Thanks for reading,