A Week Without Plastic

Want to challenge yourself? Try going one week without using any plastic. Chicago Tribune columnist Trine Tsouderos did and learned just how hard that is.

Tsouderos went beyond just bringing her own bags to the grocery store. For one week she pledged not to buy any new plastic. Some of her challenges included buying a shampoo bar instead of the liquid shampoo that comes in a plastic bottle, using cloth diapers for her baby instead of the disposable plastic ones and using a stainless steel water bottle instead of a plastic water bottle. This is a tough task to handle in just one week. The key to everything is baby steps. As a society, we need to change consumption habits and be held accountable for what we throw away. What exactly does "throw away" mean? For many of us, it's "out of sight, out of mind". Trash pick up comes once a week and after that, we're not held responsible for it's trip to the landfill. Next time you're at the store, look how products are packaged.

Can the packaging recycled? Can it be reused or repurposed? We build products and packaging for a life well beyond its intended use. Take for example, a clear blister pack that lightbulbs come packaged in. What was wrong with the paper, cardboard cases they used to use for packaging? It protected the bulb and was easy to recycled once you got it home. That blister pack had such a quick product life span and will now take several thousands of years to break down in a landfill.

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I applaud companies like Pangea Organics  that instead of wrapping their soaps in plastic, they designed their own packaging using 100% recycled board with open "smell holes" on the top that you can smell what you are buying. As consumers, we vote every day with our dollar on what products we purchase. Support companies that address the true impact of their products and that includes the packaging!