My family and I have decided that in the month of May, we are going to make a conscious effort to eliminate as much plastic from our lives as possible. The science is real when it comes to this global issue. Plastic does not decompose once it’s created, it is here forever for future generations to deal with. While recycling is an option in most cases, people do not recycle as much as they should. I believe we have reached a point though where recycling is no longer enough. We need to stop the production of a lot of the plastic that is created and find alternatives. We have become a disposable society in just a snapshot of human history and it is destroying us.
We have always recycled, so I felt like I was doing my part. I am aware of the Great Pacific Plastic Dump, so I must be fully enlightened on this topic, right? I do everything I can to keep my plastic out of our waterways and landfills. But, recently I was in a Walgreens and took a good look around. Every shelf is filled with plastic packaging that will likely end up in a landfill, staying there forever. When I really thought about it, I realized I am in one store, in one town on this planet and the plastic packaging was simply overwhelming. It was a light bulb moment for me, I am not doing enough to remedy this problem. Change would start with my family and then I would start to talk to other people about it. We simply have to refocus our thought process on this topic, it is too important for future generations.
As a family we were doing what we thought was enough:
- We have a coffee press.
- We use reusable grocery bags.
- We pack lunches in Pyrex (of course those pyrex containers have plastic tops).
- We use reusable water bottles and coffee cups (those plastic water bottles have got to go).
- When we go out, we don’t use straws.
- We make our own yogurt and store it in a mason jar.
- I make our own cleaning supplies.
- My husband uses Dr. Bronner’s Soap, which he buys by the gallon and lasts for years. (he has been recycling the same bottle for 16 years!).
- We refill our liquid soap pumps (with Dr. Bronner’s) instead of buying new bottles.
My list below is not complete, but there is so much more that we can do in my one household to make a difference:
- I replaced our toothbrushes with bamboo.
- We have a bread maker, we need to make our bread and skip the plastic bread bag.
- I use reusable grocery bags, but I need to carry those everywhere. When I shop at other stores I still need plastic bags at times because I don’t have my own bag.
- I found shampoo bars, we are going to replace our shampoo bottles with those when we are out.
- Slowly moving to bar soaps (I do love my Origin’s body wash so that will be hard).
- Reuse the plastic we have as much as possible for storage containers.
The above list is just a sample of what we plan on doing to improve this situation in our home. Of course, last night I gave our dogs their heartworm and flea preventives, which is in plastic. I already felt like a failure, but I have to realize that I am not going to be able to avoid plastic completely. When that happens, I clean it well and put it in our recycling bin.
May is the month we put this practice into full use, it is a habit that we will continue beyond one month on the calendar. What are you going to do to make a difference?