Reducing Your Use of Plastic
This is the first piece in a series of "Mini Missions." How many are NOT showing the way in their habits of consumption? Change those habits and make it clear to others why you are showing any particular way you are showing. All of miss many ways of wayshowing. When I first posted this piece, almost a year ago now, I got some nasty email for doing so! I was told this was stupid and petty, and several people wrote to say pretty much the same thing, but we are called to show a different was to be and it's time to do it in all the many little ways that are necessary.
This first mini mission is about controlling and limiting your use of plastic in your everyday life. The stuff is building up everywhere and it doesn't break down in landfills, and a goodly portion of it has found its way into our oceans, and is killing sea life, besides being a hideous site. At least 10% of our oil consumption goes into plastic. And pretty soon we will be giving up the plastic for the most part, in order to make what little hydrocarbons that will be available after stasis, go further for heating and transportation.
It takes a gallon of petroleum, usually natural gas products to make something like 14 plastic shopping bags, and most people use them only one time. So the first idea is to reuse them as often as possible. And ideally you will stop getting them in the first place and bring your own containers to the store. Whole Foods, and locally here, Vitamin Cottage are giving up giving free bags to customers, of any sort. Walmart, at least locally, I am not sure about world wide, will be dropping shopping bags in January 2--8, so nows the time to stop using them yourself, and explain to your families and friends why you do NOT use plastic shopping bags.
In addition to the petroleum or natural gas used to make plastic products, it takes energy also to manufacture them. And even if you do take them to recycle, recycling petroleum products is in many cases not feasible or available. If often takes more energy to recycyle these than it does to make the original product. China buys much of this and it has to be shipped to China.
I reuse some of the plastic bags in my wastebaskets, but if I didn't have gargage in them, I DO NOT use plastic in them at all. Line the bottoms with a bit of newspaper to soak up anything that might stick in the bottom. But there is NO sense whatsover in buying bags to line wastebaskets. I don't have a garbage disposal and I have temporily for a short time quit composting, for reason beyond this piece. (As of this summer, I am back to composting. I collect the garbage in containeres and take it out and dump it on my garden and dig it in every few days.)
Now, many of you live in apartments and don't have the ability to compost. I suggest you begin pushing the apartment owners to provide either a composting area, or composting containers which are barrels with handles on them to turn the compost, and begin to use the compost on their grassed areas instead of fertilizers based on petroleum.
In the olden days, people took their own bags and baskets to the store. When I reuse bags at walmarts, an occasion clerk is respectful and knows, but others either don't care, or don't understand, thinking it odd I would do this. However, now that Walmart's is going to drop the bags, I am seeing much more cooperation.
Not all plastic is recycleable, despite the fact that of those little marks on containers. I learned this the hard way, when I collected all the different types and sorted them until I had a carful and then discovered most of them are not taken by anyone. Usually 1 (PETE) and 2(HDPE) are taken and sometimes only some types of these. In fact, most others apparently can't be recycled, the ID only describes what type of plastic they are.
Drink companies NEED to go back to using glass with the deposit system. Never, ever, heat anything in plastic, unless you want to consume abnormal estrogen type complexes. Consuming these from plastics (according to Arch Angel Rafael, plus new reseach) is causing a goodly portion of infertility, and feminine young boys. In fact abnormal estrogens in lots of food stuffs, are one cause of homosexuality and also for the greater increase in girls vs boys in countries using a lot of plastic.
Reuse those plastic bags you currently have until they become too beat up to use and then recycle in one of the few places that takes them. Walmart does, Alberstons in Colorado does, but they have closed most of their stores. I am now noticing another grocer in my area taking them.
My local Vitamin Cottage natural food store has partnered with this company, www.1bagatatime.com and is selling PP (polypropylene bags), which last longer for reuse than canvas shopping bags. These are a fabric bag, made from petroleum, and I would prefer canvas, but these apparently last twice as long. There is a lot of information in easy to understand articles on the website. Vitamin Cottage has their name on the bags, and sells them for 99 cents each.
The creator of the company that manufactures the bags got the idea from a trip to Australia. She documents that these bags use the least resources, including manufacturing. However, they aren't going to degrade, but neither do paper bags in landfills, because of the lack of air.
We will be given ways to convert our trash to reuseable fertilizer etc, by star fleet if we so choose to take this route, they aren't doing it all for us, but will supply ideas and technology.
During stasis, star fleet is going to clean the plastic deposits out of our oceans. There are so many of them the size of Texas or larger. Here is a good article on that: http://www.bestlifeonline.com/cms/publish/travel-leisure/Our_oceans_are_turning_into_plastic_are_we.shtml
Another interesting website, with a lot of material on plastic is: http://www.ecologycenter.org/ There is much information on ecology and sustainable living on this site, besides plastic.
We must remodel how we live and the way we consume, and this is but one simple way to begin making a difference, and each time you use your own bag in the store, you have the opportunity to teach people and demonstrate another way to be. Take care, Candace
PS. More commentary as I remodel this piece. I was using some of my plastic produce bags for cleaning my kitty box, but these prevent the breakdown for a time anyway, of the waste in the garbage dumps. So I am switching to paper. I use the little that clumps and it won't work to add it into my gardens. But I am going to start composting their solid waste. My soil has become depleted. Of course, since my cats do go outdoors, they contribute to composting around my house (and others).
In fact I had a bare area of soft ground that I didn't get reseeded into grass last year, and they used it quite a bit. It is now the healthiest greenest area in my lawn!
I am going to start saving my vegetable bags and taking them back and reusing them also.
Take your own water to work and out on hikes and the like and don't buy bottled water in the stores. Most people don't recycle them and this is a terrible waste. Ditto buying pop and the like, no matter the packaging.
Stores are going to more and more depend on local production of food products and we will in time not being buying so many packaged goods and bringing our own containers to the store to refill whatever. I will do more on this later, about what we have to consider doing in this world, regards packaging and shipping of product.
Don't buy more plastic items than you truly need and start putting pressure, say at your pharmacies and the like, for medicines and supplements to be packaged in glass. We should be returning these when empty to stores, like in the olden days with beer bottles and the like. But it uses less energy to reform glass, than to recycle plastic.
EVerything comes in it now, mayonaise, dressings and the like. As a mini mission just start educating your circles about the huge waste in all kinds of packaging right now.
A acceptable solution possible to plastic is the new corn based products. These at least supposedly break down in compost. I haven't tried to do this yet to see how it works. A lot of the problem with packaging is in part simply related to too many people in a world with finite resources.
Don't buy an excess of those cheap plastic toys for your kids! Maybe make your own dressings, catsup (it's really good, homemade catsup) and the like to cut back on the plastic packaging. Americans, and the Western World needs to learn how to cook again! I can't believe all the packaged meals.
Suggest that the places where you buy fast foods stop using throw away plastic stuff, and use paper product instead. Trees can be grown, and in fact we don't really need trees for the paper products, as they can be made from hemp and many other high fiber plants that grow quickly. And the solution is not to use those high fiber plants for "bio fuel". Bio fuel is not the solution either.
It is important to become pro active. And you start that by becoming aware in the first place, and then passing that awareness on to others. If I use plastic bags, just myself, as I live alone, it still mounts to probably a dozen a week or more, especially in stores that don't put very much in the bags to start with.
And as I just went out to my kitchen, I realized, don't buy plastic stuff for your kitchen that could be made of metal or wood. The nicest cooking spoons, dear ones, and I speak of experience here, are wooden spoons. They don't scratch, they have a nice balance when stirring and making cookies and the like. The only metal cooking spoon I have is a slotted spoon. Buy quality metal products otherwise, like spatulas and the like and these will last your life time and you can pass them down to others. Plastic always gets brittle and must be thrown out.
NO plastic throw away silver ware for parties. NO throw away glasses and the like. This is terribly wasteful and expensive to boot. Wash the stuff. If you wish to have parties and don't wish to buy more expensive dishes, and silverware, at least get the longer lasting things and wash them when done. Start noticing the waste you produce.
I have a film on the amount of waste a family produced over 3 months, it was huge, and all this stuff that is thrown away is polluting, even with the recycling process. Investigate on the web about where your trash goes, or just go to your local trash collector and ask. You will be surprized at what you learn. I need to find that movie, take some notes, and put up some information.
In general get out of materialism, and into sustainability and begin to demonstrate by your own life, to others, what needs to be done.
Ok, another thing I do. I buy food from local health food stores that comes in plastic bags, as bulk material, in the way of nuts, seeds, and the like. I tend to dump these into larger containers with lids to store them, and I use the plastic bags again, to store food in the fridge instead of buying ziploc bags. Also, I do purchase those little "showercap" style bowl covers and rinse and re use them instead of wrap. These are great around cut pieces of fruit and the like. The little ones are nice over a half grapefruit. This is better than using plastic wraps. I was washing them in the wash with my clothes, but the elastic on them wears out faster, so I rinse them immediately when done and let dry.
You also don't need plastic refrigerator containers and the like. Reuse the ones that food comes in from the store, both plastic and glass. Start making real salad dressings at home and use your old containers for them. That way you don't deal with preservatives and the like in your food, and you save containers and money.
On TV I just watched where a lady complained she had no time to cook breakfast for her kids, but she had time and money to spend taking them to McDonald's in the morning! It takes less time to fix a simple breakfast for the kids than to do this, and its saves a bit bunch on money, and NO throw away McDonald's packaging. Diito, eating out at night or for lunch because one is "too busy". It takes more time to drive, and wasted gasoline to go eat out.