Thursday, May 8, 2008


I have never paid more attention to my straw usage than in the last week. Drinking straws come in black, white, white with two red stripes(!), all the colors of the rainbow, straight, bendy….what they all have in common is they are made of plastic. I use far more straws than I thought! But wait, there is hope, I found non-plastic ‘paper drinking straws’ the other day: I’m not planning on buying any…not right now :)…this is about ‘reducing’, after all, not just ‘replacing’. It is nice to know paper straws are still out there though. All straws used to be made out of paper…that is after straws made the evolutionary leap from hollowed-out reeds and pieces of straw. Plastic, paper or papyrus, straws will forever take up residence in our blowing-bubbles-in-milk consciousness…and more. I know this ‘forever’ part to be particularly true because drinking straws have long since made the their most significant evolutionary adaptation, from paper to immortality—straws found plastic.

Drinking straws have been the epiphany of my thoughtless daily plastic usage. Well, the thoughtlessness is ending, but the usage is not so easy to curtail.

Last night after trying to decide if I should bring my drinking straw home from dinner, to reuse of course, my boyfriend asked, “How far are you going to take this?”, my immediate response, “Pretty far!”. So lets begin.

Plastic is everywhere I look…my Pilates ball in the corner, the keys I am typing on, my alarm clock, the bottle keeping my lotion from becoming a puddle of goo, the stretchy yoga pants I wear every night…everywhere! Kerry and I can’t get rid of plastic from our everyday lives, and we aren’t really trying to (I don’t think). What we are going to try and do is take less in. Just say NO to plastic. Specifically, we will only consume one piece of plastic per day, per coast (this is an east coast-west coast thing after all). Right now I am trying to wrap my head around how this will be possible. Today I went to Whole Foods (I do 98.2% of my grocery buying between Whole Foods and my local Farmers Markets) and I came home with a lot of plastic! I will reuse most of it, but still, I almost had to run head down through the pastry/bakery section for fear of buying one more thing wrapped in plastic. A lot of this plastic reductionist lifestyle will come from one major change I think…preparation (BE PREPARED Kerry the grocery store is hard.). We need to be prepared when we go into stores/restaurants/the world with our own containers, bags, etc. I have used reusable grocery bags for years, but that’s not enough anymore. Now I need to bring something to Whole Foods to store the raw oats I buy to make granola, not just take the plastic bag and twisty tie they so generously offer me. Then there are some harder choices/dilemmas…I moved permanently away from plastic milk container to reusable glass milk bottles, about 6 months ago, but even glass milk bottles have plastic caps! Plus, I make my own yogurt and I have to buy a new “starter” yogurt, a.k.a. prepackaged plain yogurt, every few weeks…I can’t avoid some plastic it seems.

So, the whittling and tallying continues for 19 more days and I think we will have to start brainstorming our rules for June 1 soon as well…


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