Its official – only 24 days into the project and I have become a crazy person. I see a plastic bag and I cringe, I see a take out cup and I almost snap. I am a little worried that ‘almost’ snap will soon turn to ‘that time that I snapped’. I mean its only 24 days in – I am honestly not sure if I can make it the additional 341 days without losing my mind on some innocent bag holder or take-out cup user.There are a number of things that frustrate me. The most frustrating thing for me is how easy it is to change on a personal level. Here’s how easy it is – step 1: Buy a Stainless Steel Mug, step 2: Use the Mug. Or easier still, grab that reusable bag I know you have (in the back of your closet), bring it with you to the store (don’t leave it in the trunk of your car) and use it. There is no excuse anymore, so just do it. I am asking you nicely so you aren’t the person I lose my cool with!
Secondly, and perhaps most worrisome is that the mess is so widespread, and really imbedded in our consumer culture. It seems to me that branded things, no matter what they are, or where they are found are good for business (at least from the companies perspective). This means that if I am a coffee company, and I have my logo plastered on every cup I sell, it is good marketing. It doesn’t matter if that cup is in the hands of some attractive young person, or piled up in the garbage can of a busy street, it is all good for the bottom line. The same goes for stores, and especially fashion retailers. If they can get their branded bag in the hands of well-dressed, good looking people then it is good for business. Why would I want to get rid of my bags, or even encourage people bringing in whatever bag they can find in their house – from the business end it doesn’t make sense.
So what can we do, is it really as simple as bringing your own bag, or using your own mug? The answer is both yes and no. Yes, bring your own bag, use your own mug. every little thing you do helps the greater good (and don’t let anyone else tell you otherwise). But this alone isn’t enough. You need to demand less plastic from your retailers, and change your shopping habits accordingly. Your dollar is your vote, and you can vote for less plastic.
Over the coming weeks I am going to brainstorm ideas on how to ask for less plastic at your favorite retail outlet. Please share your ideas as well. We are gaining a readership here at our humble blog, and all the input we can get will make this not only easier but better – better for ourselves, better for our community, and better for our planet.
So join in and check back often for ideas on using less plastic when you go to the store, some of the ideas are easy, some a little more challenging, but they all make a difference.