Saturday, February 27, 2010

Plastic, plastic, plastic

Plastic water bottles, plastic shopping bags, plastic baggies, and plastic surgery seem to be ubiquitous these days. Of the examples given, plastic surgery has the most longevity, but Pamela Anderson and others find that some features have to be retouched before old age sets in.

What is so silly about much of the plastic we use is its very short lifespan. People cart bottled water to the gym or on a short walk, then pitch the empty container 30 minutes later. I'm not sure when we got away from laughing at the thought of buying bottled water, most of which is common tap water. But, it makes much more sense to use a washable aluminum or plastic bottle. Or fill a glass with cold water from a pitcher with a filter (e.g. Brita).

Typically, the lifespan of a shopping bag is much shorter than that of a water bottle. Customers fill shopping carts with plastic bags full of groceries to make it easier for the one-minute transfer from the shopping cart to the trunk of the car. Then they use the plastic bags another three minutes for lugging the groceries from the car to the kitchen.

Granted, the recyclable grocery bags sold at checkout counters are worthless, unless you live in Europe and/or you are just picking up a loaf of French bread and a couple items from the produce aisle. Those bags also contribute to the detriment of the environment because most of them are made in China and freighted around the world. And, unwanted bags end up in landfills. Substituting cardboard or plastic boxes makes more sense. Plastic milk cartons are ideal, if they are not obtained illegally.

Plastic baggies without a ziploc are such a waste because they are only needed from the time a sandwich or snacks are prepared until they are consumed a few hours later. Reusable baggies are much more environmentally friendly, and fashionable. I make them in two different sizes, starting at $6. My reusable baggies have pull tabs for easy opening and are:
  • Machine washable
  • Dryer safe
  • Polyurethane laminated 100% cotton
  • Lead and Phthalates free

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