Saturday, June 12, 2010

Less plastic, less oil

Day 53 of the oil spill and they can’t get the accurate amount of how much has spilled or is spilling every day. Only thing we know for sure is that it’s coming on shore, putting lots of people out of work, and killing even more wildlife. They are still considering continuing offshore drilling which is a debate for another forum, I suppose, but one thing is for certain: we need to wean ourselves from oil dependency (foreign or domestic). Sure, our cars are fueled by oil, but one oil product we tend to overlook is plastic. This country (as well as many others) is addicted to plastic.

Could you go a week without buying anything in plastic? As a friend pointed out, unless you’re vegetarian and make your own toiletries & beauty supplies, you probably couldn’t do it. Bare essentials, such as toilet paper, are wrapped in plastic. The butcher paper wrapping your meat is lined with plastic. Your shampoo bottles, toothpaste, juice, milk, laundry detergent, and almost anything else in your house is plastic!

So what do we do about it? Try to buy less of it. Be aware of the packaging of your products. Buy in bulk and avoid individual servings sizes, like in yogurt, juice bottles, or snacks. Avoid those processed foods that tend to be individually wrapped, such as fruit roll ups, or yogurt-in-a-tube, or even flavored ice. Buy sliced cheese that’s not individually wrapped. Don’t buy bottled water and get a filtered water pitcher and reusable water bottle instead. These are just a few ways to reduce your plastic purchases.

Make your own! Granola bars, bread, mayo, dressing, marinade, cookies, and popsicles can be easily made in no time, and you save money while you’re at it. An added benefit: these foods are natural and healthy! Cleaning products can be made with simple ingredients and are non-toxic, saving you trips to the store which means saving money, less plastic packaging, (and gas!).

Grow your own. I do not have a green all. However, I have managed to keep a basil plant alive for over a month now and just planted tomatoes as well. If all goes well, I’ll try something new but there’s nothing fresher and more local than your backyard! My neighbor has enough in her vegetable garden that she’ll never have to buy produce again. Try growing a few herbs, vegetables, or fruits and you’ll avoid having to buy it at the grocery store, which means less fuel to transport, & saves you money!!

No more plastic bags!! Bring your own reusable bags or even paper is better. Plastic bags tend to end up in the ocean and are harmful to wildlife, regardless of their connection to oil production. It’s no longer strange to bring your own bags to the store so show that your environmentally responsible and say no to plastic bags. If the product you’ve purchased can fit in your purse, then forget the bag all together! Do you really need a bag for that lipstick you just bought?

RECYCLE & buy recycled! Most of the plastic we buy is recyclable so please recycle it so more products can be made out of it. The more demand there is for recycled products, the less they have to start from scratch to make them. Plus, you really can’t tell the difference and it’s better for the environment in the end.

So besides the tips from last week regarding saving gas, try these tips to reduce your plastic usage and we can collectively reduce the demand for oil. Less plastic, less oil, better environment. :)

Granola bar recipe:
Cleaning recipe:

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