Be the change you wish to see in the world...

- Gandhi

Friday, April 19, 2013

My Ban on Plastics

ban plastic bags

My daughter's fourth grade Junior Girl Scout troop is working on an amazing project to encourage the Hermosa Beach City Council to ban the use of plastic bags in our city's businesses.  I am inspired by their idea and motivation to make the world a better place.  What can I say?  My girls rock!

As the troop leader, I have spent much time researching and coordinating for this project (go Girl Scouts!).  I think I have learned as much as the girls about the use of plastic and its negative impact on our environment.  We have had a few speakers come to our meetings and each time, I find myself asking, "What else could I be doing to cut back on my use of plastic?"  

Did you know... (Source: 5gyres.org, Surfrider Foundation)
  • According to the EPA, the U.S. consumes about 380 billion plastic bags, sacks and wraps a year?
  • The recycling rate of plastic bags is only about 1%.
  • Plastics can take 1,000 years to decompose.
  • Sunlight reduces plastic to confetti, which now covers 25% of our planet's surface in the center of all 5 gyres (circular current systems in the oceans).
  • Over 300 marine life species are entangled in or ingest plastic waste.  
  • Plastics absorb pollutants (DDT, pesticides, oil) and release them when ingested.
Yuck, yuck and more yuck.  I cannot ignore this information and am compelled to do as much as I can to not contribute to more of the problem.  Here are some things I have implemented in my household (or was already doing) to cut back on plastic.

Reduce my use of plastic bags:
- Bring reusable bags whenever I go shopping.  That includes the grocery store, but also Target and other places that would give me a bag.
- Use produce bags (I got mine at Crate and Barrel) when grocery shopping to put my vegetables and fruit into.
- Buy as much as I can in bulk and bring containers to the stores.

In my house:
- Use reusable lunch boxes and cloth sacks instead of plastic containers and bags.  I avoid packaging all together in my kids' school lunches.
- Everyone in my family has a reusable water bottle instead of using plastic water bottles.
- Use stainless steel straws at home and bring with us when we eat out.
- Pick up my dog's poop with newspaper.

What do you do to reduce your use of plastic in your home and life?  I would LOVE to hear your tips.  Please tell me in the comments section below.