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June 20, 2007

Why I Quit Using Plastic


Inspired by EnviroWoman’s blog, “Living Plastic Free In 2007″ [which has now been discontinued], and by the mountains of plastic waste that I lug into San Francisco to my friend Red’s recycling bin (since Oakland has very limited plastic recycling), and since I have too much free time on my hands while recovering from surgery, I’ve decided to take on my own plastic project. I’m especially motivated by the following heartbreaking photo and article:

albatross chick on Midway Island dead from eating plastic

This is what happens to much of the plastic that we throw away each day. It ends up inside sea birds and fish and kills them. And makes sensitive chicks like me cry. Plastic Ocean

But I am not making a vow to give up all plastic this year or any year. My project will be a bit different from some of the more extreme “resolution” blogs out there. Instead, I’m looking at this as more of a learning experience… for me and for anyone who cares to follow this blog. I want to see what the possibilities are, for eliminating plastic waste, sure, but also for alternative uses for plastic that already exists, for ways of recycling and reusing, and for non-plastic substitutions.

Plastic has its place. (See the pretty background on this page? I created it from a photo of the plastic table cloth in my kitchen.) I don’t think that plastic (or anything else that exists in this world for that matter) is inherently evil. I don’t believe in evil. I think that humans have limited understanding of the way their actions affect the world around them and all we can do is learn what we can in order to live peacefully and minimize harm to the other creatures, human or otherwise, that share our world with us.

With that in mind, the first phase of this project will be, as they say in the legal world, Discovery. Discovering how much plastic I actually waste by recording and analyzing each week’s accumulation (Think photos and spreadsheets. Oh joy!) And discovering what resources exist for reduction, re-use, and recycling. I’ll be posting information that I gather, and I really hope that a good part of that info will come from comments from readers of this blog.


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