10 The Problem with Plastic

There are a few things in my life that have pushed me to try and reduce our reliance on plastic. I've worked in a plasticizer plant so I know what goes into plastics and I know what comes out of the process and into our air, water and land. We have also sailed through two of the garbage patches. The first time we went through one I totally thought that one of the fishing boats was dumping garbage but as old bags and water bottles became tires and chairs I knew that it was more than just one person carelessly dumping into the ocean. And it is...it is millions of people carelessly discarding their waste in the ocean or in ways that it eventually ends up in the ocean.  

This is the amount of plastic dumped into the ocean every 15 seconds

Plastic is deceiving because you think it can all be recycled. Well it can't. Some isn't recyclable at all (like the stupid plastic shrink bands that go around the top of margarine and other plastic bottles) and others really depend on your local recycling rules.  #4 plastic is my nemesis. So many things we use (like salt for our water softener) come in bags that are a #4 plastic and our city does not take it. But there is sits with it nice little recycling symbol making me think it should be recycled and that I am bad for throwing it in the garbage.

While greenies like myself hate plastic, companies love it. It is cheap, easy to work with, easy to make and light to transport. There in lies the problem, in the short term plastic is not going away. If we want it to in the long term we need to speak with our actions and our dollars.  The best way to reduce the amount of plastic you are disposing is to not even bring it into your house in the first place!

* Look for products that have no (or less) plastic packaging
* Support companies that are going plastic free
* Make small changes like replacing plastic straws with a glass one
* NO MORE BOTTLED WATER (come on people!!)
* If you do have plastic containers, reuse them when you buy in bulk or repurpose them for other uses (just don't reheat food in them)
* Buy wooden toys for your kids
* Take your own containers when getting takeout

If you are looking for lots of fantastic tips and information on how to cut the plastic from your life then check out Beth's book. She is serious the plastic free diva! Bonus is that her book is plastic free and biodegradable. I bought it electronically for my PlayBook to save on environmental impact of shipping. Buy Plastic Free

How plastic free is your life?  What are you doing to reduce the amount of plastic you use?

Related Posts - Check them Out
The Problem with Wind
Waste Diversion
Beyond Junk Mail


  1. I watched the movie "Bag It." Have you seen it? It got me thinking about this. A lot. And I hate that in some forms I just can't seem to avoid it.

  2. You posted a link to it on CCC a little while ago but I haven't had a chance to watch it yet. I will have to add it to my to do list!

    I think avoiding it involves life changes. Because most retailers aren't getting rid of it so if we want to we have to stop using certain products.

  3. Amen!!! I have totally eliminated using one-use plastic bags and it really wasn't that hard or expensive. I no longer use produce bags or grocery bags. I bring my own re-usable bags. I think I spent $20 for all the bags and I've been using them for over 6 months and they are still in great shape. At this rate, I'll be able to use them for at least 2 years.

  4. That is a great switch to make! I totally forgot to even add it to my list because we have had a plastic bag "tax" here for many years so I don't even think about them much anymore.

    Most of our reusable bags are about 5 years old and still holding up strong!

  5. I hate it when I can't recycle all of my "recyclable" plastics. It's really too bad that more people aren't concerned with our environment to make small changes that could go a long way.

    New follower :)

    The Pretty Pinhead

  6. I'm thisclose to saving all my #4 plastics and taking them to a municipality that does recycle them (and by taking I mean dropping them off in someone random persons blue box).

  7. There are so many inherent problems with plastic, yet it's everywhere! I have taken baby steps for many years to reduce the amount of plastic in my life. I'm getting there!

  8. It feels like such a long road sometimes but I think doing it methodically is the best approach!

  9. I saw this picture. Have you seen the trailer for MIDWAY – A Film By Chris Jordan?

  10. I haven't seen that Shane, I will have to look for it!