Archive for March, 2009

Paper vs. Plastic

March 12, 2009

Posted by Jessica W

Way to go Massachusetts for putting together an agreement to reduce a third of the plastic AND paper bags grocers distributed in the state (and way to go for getting the grocers on board—not always an easy task).   

As plastic slowly makes its way into mainstream news and dinner table discussion we’ve seen an array of solutions to the paper vs. plastic question (outlawing plastic bags [yay] but keeping paper, taxing plastic, taxing both, etc).  From these solutions has stemmed a debate over which is “better” paper or plastic and long lists of facts (each with its own scope and measure of environmental impact) are cited to defend or denounce both. 

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m glad this is the topic of discussion and I’m glad we are exploring solutions, but sometimes I think the debate gets us away from the real question at hand.  This question is not which disposable convenience is better or worse, but how do we retrain ourselves to not need either.  People have survived for hundreds of years without throwaway goods, how is it that in a relatively short period of time we’ve become so utterly dependent?   

What I’d like to be discussing then is how do we come up with productive plans to reshape our approach to bags?  Because no one can remember to bring a bag to the store every time, but that doesn’t mean that we need to have an arsenal of disposable ones just waiting for us to forget.  Do we start a drop-off bin where you donate extra bags when you remember, and borrow when you don’t?  What kind of health codes are we going to have to follow to make this happen?  These questions and more were discussed last September at City Hall during a Plastic Bag Forum attended by Mayor Sam Adams but since then there has been little forward movement.

Now we want to hear from you oh faithful and plentiful blog readers. What are your thoughts and creative solutions on the matter?

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Don’t Cry for Me

March 5, 2009

posted by Cheryl

Dear friends, 

I feel an apology is in order. So many people who know me say that when they have a fall out with single-use plastic, they think of me. I don’t mean to be guilt inducing and would rather you not see MY disappointed face when you feel you have no choice. Maybe it’s the reason for all of my good fortune lately, but I’ve come up with ten things you can imagine instead. Whenever you use single-use plastic:

(these are mostly drawn from recent news about plastic)

1-another city decides life is better with the flimsy bag.

2-a plastic bag recycling outlet stops accepting the material. 

3-a large chain store with a green policy still carries plastic bags.

4-a little more chemical leaches into someone’s hot coffee.

5-some finds a bit of plastic in their chicken sandwich.

6-another 3.9 billion pounds of plastic go to waste in the U.S (happened in 2007)

7-another undesirable t-shirt is not turned into a reusable bag. 

8-a school chooses to purchase milk in plastic containers (In the 80’s I remember filling a cup, and having chocolate milk, too, not to bring the attention back to myself)

9-another food processor “improves” its packaging by changing to plastic.

10-yet another city decides not to ban plastic bags. Like, all the other kids are doing it, so it’s okay…

I hope this helps you to think more about yourself, than about me, when you give in to the ubiquity. After all, it’s really about all of us.

Channeling Andy Rooney, David Letterman, or somebody,

Cheryl