Unless you live in a cave or on a remote island without any communication with the rest of the world, you have undoubtedly read, heard and talked about the enormous problem of plastic in our environment. We listen, we watch, we read, and sometimes we wring our hands in anger and frustration. (Okay, YOU may not do the hand-wringing, but I do!)
About a year ago my life partner and I decided we had to do SOMETHING – ANYTHING – about plastic pollution. No matter how small our efforts appear to us in comparison to the enormity of the problem, we have committed to doing something about it.
Are you ready? Or are you already way beyond where we are? Either way, that’s great! It’s a little embarrassing to me that we haven’t done more than this. But as you can see from the list below, anyone can do what we’re doing without becoming fanatical.
You can write letters to congressional and corporate leaders. This can be as simple as filling out your contact information to a form letter created by an environmental non-profit and hitting the submit button. Or you can take the next step and write to the heads of companies manufacturing plastics and to the heads of corporations using their products.
When you see plastic being used by hotels, restaurants, stores, and bars you can register your displeasure with staff and suggest what they can do to change. Request no straw when ordering any beverage and explain why to the server. Just last week we were staying in a very nice motel in Eugene. At the complimentary (and very good) breakfast we were dismayed to see plastic utensils and cups being used. I mentioned this in person on checking out, and wrote it in an evaluation they sent me via email. I got a reply thanking me for saying what I said and letting me know that they had already ordered metal utensils. I was delighted!
Bring your own take-home containers for leftovers when you go out to eat.
Bring your own cloth shopping bags to the store. If you forgot it at home, refuse a bag if you have few enough items to carry by hand.
If you floss your teeth like your dentist has been telling you all your life, switch from nylon floss (plastic) to silk. Don’t buy it in plastic dispensers, my floss comes in refillable glass containers with a metal lid: Silk Dental Floss
We no longer use dryer sheets because they don’t biodegrade quickly. Instead, we use natural dryer balls made of 100% New Zealand wool. Check it out at Woolzies.
Wouldn’t it be great if we never again had to take home our store-bought spinach in plastic packaging or clam shell (plastic) containers? Tell the stores where you shop to put pressure on their suppliers to switch. Can you imagine the impact if Walmart refused to sell spinach in plastic?
These are just a few ideas we’ve begun doing in our home. Please let us know what you’re doing that we can do, too. This is a lifelong battle that may never be completely won (at least not in my lifetime), but I believe it’s a battle worth fighting. Do you???
Written by Diane Bilderback Dave and I are long time Oregon Marine Mammal Stranding Network (OMMSN) volunteers, and when Jim Rice, OMMSN Coordinator, texted us that a large, live whale was near Face Rock, we needed to get there quickly. From the headland, we spotted the whale to the south. As we walked down the […]
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