Friday, November 9, 2012

Plastic, Plastic and More Plastic

Many of you know I have an issue with plastic.  Anything with plastic.  Food containers, shower curtains, raincoats, shoes, disposable utensils, cell phones, appliances, my mouse, my laptop, paintbrushes, eyeglasses, hangers, prescription bottles, peanut butter jars, trash bags, water bottles, McDonald's Happy Meal toys, and yes, even balloons.  As much as I love them and my kids love them, I have a serious issue with balloons. 

Some of these things you can recycle so they can made into "new" plastic things.  But many of them can't be recycled or are simply so darn toxic (plastic #3 being the worst) that you don't want them recycled and made into another toxic thing.  And remember, in the U.S. we still have a very low recycling rate (I think last I heard it was around 30% of all recyclable material was actually recycled by households?).

Now some of these things have non-plastic versions.  Like paintbrushes--many kinds out there are made with a wood handle and real boar's hair bristles, not plastic.  Why am I ok with wood if a tree had to be cut down to make it?  Or a boar shaved of their hair for the bristles?  Because it's about choosing the lesser of two evils.  Because trees can be replanted and hair regrown. Because both decompose and return to the earth if I put them in my compost pile or bury them in the back yard.  Because they aren't toxic and don't have BPA in it.

We are human beings who consume resources no matter how hard we try not to.  So when we need a paintbrush to express our inner artist, we make a choice. When we tell the carry out clerk "no thanks to plastic utensils" or the food court guy, "no thanks, I brought my own reusable utensils", we make a choice.  When we go with the pretty fabric shower curtain liner instead of a PEVA toxic plastic liner, we make a choice.  When we donate our laptop or cell phone or used plastic eyeglasses to a charity instead of chucking it in the trash, we make a choice.

So what choice are you making today to make tomorrow better?

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