Earth Day 2018 envisions a world without plastic pollution. Look around. Plastic pollution surrounds us. On a recent walk in the park, I filled my hands with single-use plastic items discarded by others. What to do? The Earth Day Resources are filled with facts as well as resources about how we can personally end plastic pollution. As I read and thought about this, I wondered…what would it be like to make a change in only one of the components of plastic pollution…having no single use plastic pollution? As I reflected, I remembered from my childhood and young adulthood what it was like prior to the extensive use of plastic. I wrapped sandwiches in waxed paper. Paper bags were used at grocery stores. Toys were made of metal and wood. We ate in-season fruit, purchased from seasonal fruit stands and then canned some for use in winter. Water was drunk in glasses made of glass. People didn’t buy carry-out coffee. Soft drinks came in glass bottles. Eating utensils were made of metal. Straws weren’t used in restaurants. Cloth diapers were used for babies.
We have several established habits in our home that help end single-use plastics. I haven’t used plastic bags from grocery stores for a long time. I have reusable cloth “paper towels”. I use my own water bottle. We rarely use paper napkins. Many foods are purchased at Farmer’s Markets. We often use glass jars to store left-over food. But I still see us contributing to single-use plastic pollution. Just last weekend on our way to Cincinnati for Easter with family, we stopped for a drink and snack. That resulted in plastic throw-aways. Our newspaper is delivered in a paper bag. Many of the food we purchase is packaged in throw-away plastic. What to do? It can feel overwhelming at times. Yet, I see that there are a few more changes to make that hopefully will become habits.
After reviewing the materials from the Earth Day Toolkit, I am committed to making more changes. I will take reusable mesh bags to the grocery for carrying unpackaged vegetables and fruits. I will stop buying carrots in plastic bags. I will use my own cutlery when buying carry-out food. I will no longer use straws in restaurants. Our earth needs all of us to change our ways. What can you do?