Sled Dog Skippy

The Plastic Project

The Plastic Project

Here, in all it’s horrible petroleum-based glory, is the plastic that was brought into this house in 30 days:

(95 items)

(95 items)

(28 items)

(28 items)

61 items

(61 items)

HOLY FUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU$%. That’s a lot of plastic. 209 items, 25 of which were not shown because they were already pitched (yucky saran wrap, baggies, plastic ends to water filters, etc).

A couple of disclaimers:

1) I started collecting on December 8 and stopped on January 8. Yep, there is A LOT of packaging from the holiday gifts that were sent.

2) This also includes plastic packaging from the business items sent to Ryan, not just household or mail plastic.

3) This includes recyclable and non-recyclable plastics.

4) This really effing sucks.

This picture shows which items can ACTUALLY BE RECYCLED.

(15 items)

(15 items)

15 ITEMS. That’s it. Homer only recycles plastics numbered 1 & 2.

The plan:

1) Drastically reduce the amount of plastic packaging purchased. I really don’t think recycling cuts it–the process is complicated and somewhat toxic. Argue with me if you will, but PLASTIC IS FOREVER. It doesn’t degrade quickly, it just keeps going and going and going into more plastic. While plastic recycling is better than dumping it in the landfill, what if when an item is recycled, it turns into something that CAN’T be recycled–like turning a soda bottle into a lawnchair? Not so good. I know I am one person, but I am really tired of plastic and I want to stop bringing it into my home. I have resolved to make my own food products that ALWAYS come plastic packaged, buy a glass/cardboard packaged alternative, or just do without. I aint gonna die without organic sour cream.

2) Drastically reduce the amount of “invisible” plastic purchased. There are all kinds of plastics we use everyday and they aren’t very obvious. Hair conditioners, clothing with elastics, fleece clothing, polyester, nylon, synthetic material on shoes, kitchen utensils, toothbrushes, cell phones, computers, cars…..the list goes on. I would much prefer wearing natural fibers and not coating my hair with plastic. I know there are natural bristle toothbrushes out there, and even wooden toothbrushes. Part of The Compact is to avoid superflous purchases. So apart from my “needs” of groceries, pet food, etc., I now resolve to pause even more before purchasing. Really ask–is this plastic or partly plastic? Is there an alternative that creates less of an impact? Do I even need this?

3) Creatively re-use plastic that does come into my home. I know there is no way to avoid it completely. I am not dillusional. Our culture is saturated in polymers and we need a massive wake-up call to stop using them for everything. Once I have drastically reduced the amount of plastic I bring into my home, I would like to then re-use the plastic that is there for storage of non-food items. I guess I can use the pull-tabs on the milk cartons for cat toys. At least the kittehs don’t eat plastic.

4) Any other ideas?

This has been a really interesting experiment. It was pretty hard for me to bag up the
non-recyclables that I couldn’t re-use and get them ready for the trash. 3 medium garbage bags worth. It wasn’t just a piece here, a piece there, in the week’s trash. All bagged together like that really gave me a picture of my impact. I think if we all had to just keep our trash and packaging near us, so that it wasn’t “out of sight, out of mind,” we’d probably strive to find alternatives to plastic.

One Response to “The Plastic Project”

  1. Kim says:

    Wow, it is so freakin’ hard to escape from plastic! I shall think about this whole plastic issue long and hard. I don’t want to fill the world with garbage that will never go away. It sucks. It would be great to be free of all this stuff.

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