Thursday, July 17, 2008

Reducing My Plastic Footprint

My newest environment preservation focus is my effort to reduce my plastic footprint. There is a floating island of plastic debris twice the size of Texas in the Pacific Ocean, about a thousand miles West of San Francisco. Soon there will be another continent on earth made entirely of plastic, a petroleum product, which has many serious health implications both known and unknown. It is impossible to remove plastic completely from my life. Unfortunately, plastic is used to line cartons and cans. It’s everywhere. But I can definitely reduce the amount of disposable plastic I use. Enemy number one is plastic bags. I am experimenting with biodegradable plastic bags, which are sturdier than you would imagine. Made of cornstarch and other plant materials, they disintegrate like compost. I have brought my own cloth shopping bags to the grocery store for over 30 years. Now I’m transitioning to using cloth produce bags as well. My goal is to eliminate all plastic bags from my household. I recycle all my plastic containers, although some of these types of plastic are probably not recyclable. I will have to learn one from the other. It’s a process. I hope you are also trying to reduce your plastic footprint and I’m wondering what clever things others are doing in this regard. Email me or post to the blog your ideas!


USelaine said...

Hmm. You're way ahead of me on the grocery bag thing. I now use fabric bags, but I'm still in training on remembering to put them back in the car for the next trip to the store.

One major thing I do for the earth is subscribe to a Community Sustained Agriculture service called Live Power Farm from May to November. So for half the year, all my produce is grown in Round Valley, and is delivered in a half bushel basked wrapped in wet burlap. No flights from Chile or truck trips from the Imperial Valley. Their farm practices actually enrich the soil rather than deplete it.

There's a new guy in Redwood Valley that is trying to start a winter season CSA to fill in the months that Round Valley can't grow for.

Liz Logan said...

good for you! since becoming aware of peak oil and how many petroleum products we use, I have been continually astonished at how pervasive plastic is.

I have heard, however, that the biodegradable plastic bags are really just plastic in a network of cellulose, so the bag breaks apart, but the plastic doesn't degrade. Its so complicated.