Today is the beginning of a new adventure my family and a few other friends’ families have signed up for: a month less plastic. What?
Essentially, the challenge is to reduce our plastic intake, and share what we learn with each other. If you’re interested in this endeavor, please join us, and write in to share your experiences in curbing our toxic love affair with plastic. It permeates parts of our lives well beyond our kitchens and children’s playrooms, and that’s what this adventure is meant to highlight. What will we learn from trying to use less plastic, whether it’s a focus on simply not allowing new plastics to enter our homes or a study on which plastics we use each day and how we can keep them useful so they never end up in a landfill? Will this exercise complicate our everyday rituals or simplify them? We’re looking for more clarity in defining our relationships with the materials we use each day. Are they healthy? Will the things I throw away or recycle end up part of a new plastic item or will they land in a landfill, or the ocean? What impact will they have in the long run?
All solutions to the problem of persistence of plastics in our environment point to less dependence on plastic. So, we’re going to give it a try. A month less plastic.
But first, I need to rewind to the day before the start of our month. Yesterday. I promise, we didn’t head to the store to stock up on all the things made of or packaged in plastic we’ll need for a month. In fact, we went to a local store to purchase much-needed toilet paper and bananas. Bananas don’t grow here so I’m violating the local motif, but we’re known to do that with a few of our staples: bananas, rice, flours, nuts, avocados, coconuts.
Bananas came in two varieties: organic and non-organic. We aimed for the organic bananas and, to our dismay, found they not only had a couple of organic stickers on them fashioned in the shape of a leaf with a drop of dew on them (made of plastic) but they also had a large strap of plastic tape around the bunch. Adding insult to injury, a ‘sock’ of clear polyethylene plastic was stuck to the stem connecting the bunch together. One plastic over-glued sticker claimed the bananas were “raised by mother nature.” How lovely it will be to see that sticker mushed together with all the other discarded plastics, decidedly not raised by mother nature, in our local landfill in about a week.
We leave you with a short film dedicated to the launch of our month less plastic. It was produced, shot, written, directed, composed and performed by our up-and-coming one-boy film-making machine. I’ll qualify this introspective film by simply saying that it was made entirely without my knowledge. While I was attempting to make a film about how easy it is to shop at your local store and generate zero waste, this film was being made. Sadly, after shooting, editing, and completing our very upbeat film about how one can succeed in zero waste shopping, I was contacted by an executive of the local store and discouraged from pursuing the film any further. We hope you enjoy the film that will have to take its place: