I’m not a huge environmentalist. Not one of those preachy, save the environment is my primary goal type people. It’s not that i don’t care about the environment, but my main thing i care about is people. This is the narrative i told myself for many years.
I started using reusable grocery bags maybe 8 years ago. I started trying to carry my own coffee cup and water bottle probably 3 years ago. I was bothered by the amount of waste in my previous industry, and was looking for something more sustainable. But the Green New Deal really did open my eyes to the ways that our environment impacts the lives and incomes of people everywhere. And now, i think about the way that we are treating this planet a lot more often.
So for me, it was probably only about 5 months ago that i was walking through the grocery store with my reusable bag, and i realized that everything i was preparing to buy came in single use plastic.
Sure, i reuse my bread bags and snack containers, but the potato chips i love, the veggie sausage, the mushrooms!
My fellow apprentices are younger than me, and they’re more advanced in their awareness about plastic and avoiding it. We talk about things like whether it’s reasonable to make a glass greenhouse from old windows, and ways to avoid using plastic mulch. I really hope that the next generation of organic farmers finds more new and innovative ways to reduce their (our?) environmental footprint.
For me, it just occurred to me 3 days ago that if i’m going plastic free the rest of this month, i can’t buy bread, milk or yogurt, at least not the ones i’m used to getting. Sure, we reuse yogurt containers and bread bags, but this is an exercise in increasing awareness. I’m going all in.
The plan is that i’m going to learn how to make bread this week. I haven’t decided if i’m going to buy a yogurt maker or go without. And i’m either going to spend the extra money to get milk in a glass jar, or attempt to make oat milk. Not sure which just yet.
And this weekend i went to the store Marley’s Monsters in Eugene and bought reusable dish sponges and floss that’s not made of plastic.
Staying away from single use plastic is made easier by living on a farm. Much of my food comes from our jars of bulk dry goods and oils, and the rest comes from the fields. I do keep thinking, how plastic free could i have been when i lived in New York? I think i could have gone a lot further than i did, with some extra thought and effort.
Today i read the how stuff works for how plastic is made, and recycled. I pondered the process for making paper and glass. This month is only 9 days old, but my eyes are open. I think i am going to learn a lot this month.
What about you? Have you thought about the plastic you use and how you can use less?