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March 23, 2009

The weeding out of plastic purchases

Cultivate It's spring somewhere, time to cultivate a new way of living.

Beth Terry over on Fake Plastic Fish wants plastic to go away. Little by little she's eliminated the need for it in her life. She's hosting this month's Green Mom Carnival and wants to know what we think about this pervasive material.

I'm all for less plastic in my life. It doesn't do anything for my soul. I believe we should stop making the killer plastics such as PVC and polystyrene and start replacing them (even food grade plastics) with more inert and reusable solutions.

Fortunately, the State of California is in tandem with this. The state government has banned PVC and also used their buying power to STOP buying polystyrene in food situations. When the State of California's budget power unites with the power of women consumers, there is no telling how fast we can switch the market to a greener, leaner version of itself.

Bob Tetz, the manager of the Environmentally Preferred Products program noted at last week's Green Summit meeting in Sacramento that we skipped right over REDUCE and REUSE and went straight to RECYCLE. He wants the state and the people of California to use their first two options first before they finally put objects in the recycle bin.

Having a slow market has been good news for our nation's landfills. Another speaker at the conference said that landfills were getting 30% less stuff since the economic slowdown. That proves that it is possible for all of us to get by on a bit less.

Those who are in favor of plastics "because it's recyclable" should pick up this month's National Geographic and check out the Frito Lay supplement. According to the graph, it looks like 30+million tons of plastic goes into the landfills and only 2 million tons is actually recycled. It you want to recycle your liter pop bottle, fill it water and putting in our toilet tank. You just recycled a plastic bottle and created a lo-flow toilet for free

The best way to cultivate a new plastic free culture, however, is to not purchase the them to begin with.  What's your position on plastic - thumbs up or down?


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Hurray for reduce and reuse. While I try to reduce my plastic acquisitions as much as possible, I do realize there is a need for it in some circumstances. Electronics, for example. Or cat litter boxes! That's where Freecycle and Craigslist and thrift stores come in. Why all this need to buy new and throw away the old?

I just hope that when the market picks up, people don't shift back to their old habits.

All for concentrating on reduce instead of recycle or reuse. One can find options for a lot of plastic, although not everything. Of course, I'm not going to go without my plastic car seat - safety is more important for my child. But straws? I'll opt for stainless steel. Water? If I need to carry it, I'll use my stainless steel bottle. Shopping? Carry my re-usable shopping bags. Produce? Re-usable produce bags. Skip the single serve and buy in bulk. Skip buying small containers and buy big ones - better yet, try to avoid the plastic bottle. For example, make cleaners at home re-using bottles instead of buying conventional household cleaners.

I second the reuse and reduce suggestion! Everyone jumps to "recycle" which is not bad in itself but it begs the question, why are you buying so much that you need to recycle? I am with Jennifer on the ways that she reduces.

Speaking of reducing plastic consumption...isn't it time for gardening?

Glad to hear about what's happening in California! When a state that big decides to ban PVC and stop buying polystyrene, everyone needs to pay attention. I hope more states follow suit.

Thoughtful post - it's interesting to see the changes the state of CA is implementing in purchasing. I try to reduce my plastic consumption (similar list to Jennifer) myself, but can't stop feeling like plastic is just *everywhere*! Must muse about this myself soon. ;)

So glad to hear another voice cheering for recycle as a last resort, and especially thrilled to hear the stat about landfills getting 30% less stuff since the economic slowdown. Stunning! We all get so inured to abundance that we don't even recognize the bounty that surrounds us. Thanks for this post!

I still struggle with the fact that some states are so ahead of the curve on this -- why can't we simply share these ideas? Or be united ...you know, like the united states that we are? Is that simple minded of me ?

I feel like plastic bottles and bags are under control in my life. Where I'm struggling is plastic packaging, especially of children's toys. It's ungodly and very hard to avoid as a parent. My son and I 'make' all kinds of toys out of cardboard and paper towel rolls...but I can't completely deny him hot wheels and Transformers. Ugh.

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