The United States ranks behind Europe (30 percent) and China (25 percent) in recycling; recycling in the U.S. has remained at nine percent since 2012.
This much plastic enters our oceans every second!
Each year over 100,000 marine animals and one million birds die from ingesting and choking on plastic. Plastics leach harmful chemicals such as DDT into our soil and groundwater. Additionally, plastic products emit millions of tons of greenhouse gases during their production phase, accelerating climate change and polluting our air. Microplastics are accumulating in our soil and water. In spite of years of the mantra “Refuse – Reduce – Reuse – Recycle”, plastics are still a significant problem. China is now refusing to be the dumping ground for our plastic refuse. What will we do about it?
Earth Day is Sunday, April 22, 2018; the Earth Day organization is addressing the plastics problem with its End Plastic Pollution Campaign. A group of Upper Valley friends are educating ourselves as to what it would take to reduce plastic pollution and are committed to not purchase single-use plastic for at least one week. (April 16-22) We’ve given ourselves some lead-time to do research, scout for new options, and share what we learn via this forum.
PLASTIC WORKSHOP June 16 & 23 in Sharon, VT 9am-1pm ($5.00 donation for supplies.) Children, accompanied by parents, are welcome to participate.
MAKE A PLASTIC POLLUTION PET out of recycled plastic. Put it on wheels from the dump (using office chairs, lawn mowers, kids toys etc), and add a leash. You can paint dead fish or birds on opaque milk jugs. Take it to a parade. I’m going to take mine with me shopping the 13th of every month – NO PLASTIC DAY.
We’re going to hold two workshops Sat June 16 & 23 here in my shop from 9-1. You will need to start collecting recycled wheels and clean plastic.
Everyone bring at least 1 big bag of your clean recycle plastic trash.
PLEASE let me know if you plan to attend the workshop. 802-765-4454
The issue of too much plastic, time has come.
There are a variety of stories as to how the ice cream cone came into being, but how wonderful . . . an edible serving container! No plastic spoon, no plastic cup!
One of the many stories about the cone was that it happened in St. Louis at the 1904 Expo fair. That reminded me of my one experience of the Common Ground Fair in Maine. The fair is sponsored by the Maine Organic Farming Association and they seek vendors who strive for zero waste and worship the three R’s. (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle!) I was impressed by the vendor who used peppers as containers for hummus and raw veggie sticks, and sold taco salads where the bowls were the hard-shell tortilla. Flatware was “rented” – they charged a deposit on stainless steel forks and spoons, refunded when returned. Creative solutions!
Fair Fare: beautiful pepper cups with dip or hummus and stuffed with raw veggie sticks.
Taco Salad served as is with a “rented” fork!
And how about an espresso cookie cup?
Kudos to the UVFC for facilitating REUSE. Not only do they share the large plastic bags left over from bulk deliveries (Thanks to them, I haven’t bought a trash bag in years!), but they also collect cardboard egg containers for reuse by egg farmers, collect clean glass jars for customer use when buying in bulk (stored in a cabinet in the bulk dept.) , and collect magazines to be passed on to the next reader. Thank you UVFC!
A congenial contingent of “No Plastic Pollution”challenge-takers gathered at Salt Hill in Lebanon to celebrate Earth Day and swap gleanings from the experience of the challenge. Conflict of values was one of the themes: no plastic, non-gmo, organic, co-op, price, local, humane treatment of animals, reuseability, recyclability, compostability, etc.
The pervasiveness of plastic was another theme. The difficulty of getting ahead of the problem was exemplified by Hope’s ordering meals-to-go . . . plastic lids. It takes constant vigilance to avoid plastic!
A friend sent this photo from a market in Italy. Look at all those beautiful cheeses! None wrapped in plastic. What a difference from our own grocery store cheese offerings, all plasticized!
Today, with the formal end to the No Plastic Pollution Challenge, I am pondering what I have learned and how I will act on what I’ve learned. One thing I’ve learned is how challenging it is to avoid plastic when buying tortillas, tortilla chips, sriracha hot sauce, my favorite maple oatmeal bread, vegetable dumplings from the sushi vendor, and Ben & Jerry’s ice cream (love that Strawberry Cheesecake ice cream!) I really don’t want to give them up. So my resolve will be that I will buy no more than three items in plastic each week.
Another thing I’ve learned is how plastic disintegrates, thereby contaminating our soils , our waterways, and eventually ourselves. My resolve is that I will keep a rolled up bag in my coat pocket in order to pick up plastic litter.
Do you have an Earth Day resolution? What will you do?