Recognizing the plastic monster

In united States, We throw away 2.5 million plastic bottles every hour. (1)

Most big journeys in our lives start with a story. Mine does, too.

It took time to see that plastic was the biggest enemy of the environment primarily because it lingered around the longest, if not forever. And it was also being generated the most.

I figured those light-n-fluffy bags, cups, and straws loved to fly with the wind and float on the water. They are about to conquer the world with their free-wheeling spirit. To me, they were the dark spirits of pollution in disguise.

When I discovered the concept of landfills, I thought, of course, there was no “away” in this world. Why hadn’t I thought of that before? That’s when I paused each time I had to throw away something. Before I knew it, I had become a hoarder.

Beautiful-but-pathetically-empty chocolate boxes, old shoes, two-gallon water dispensers, comforter packets—they were all serving some purpose in the house. That unrelenting zeal to reuse surprised me. Minimalism and hoarding trash-worthy items can be quite a tricky combination to handle.Example:Latex gloves become rubber bands and many more.

Fortifying my home and homeroom

Every few weeks, when I felt comfortable with a change, I added the next achievable step. Not all of it seemed related to plastic, but they were tied into an interesting plastic-saving network.

I was spending less and less money buying supplies for my classroom as a teacher because I came up with multiple uses of things. My students were getting the mania and were stepping up to be little soldiers around the school.

Composting took away so much of volume from our garbage that only a tiny empty bag of chips was enough to hold our trash. Since it sat inside our huge plastic bin on the curbside, nobody seemed to mind.

The empty sandbags that I stored away in our garage served as our yard waste bags. That’s reusing plastic! Go away, new-bag-beast.

Zero waste parties are no-brainier spells that everybody knows but cannot pronounce. It’s a great demon-deactivator. Reusing bottles, produce bags, non-greasy Ziploc bags all added steam. I haven’t bought a box of Ziploc in years. I save my used ones in the freezer after thoroughly cleaning them for reuse.

I take my own plastic sporks in the CVS or Walgreens paper pouch. Taking my Pyrex containers to the restaurants to bring back leftovers or even our to-go orders is a fabulous repellant of plastic, pleasing the management since their supplies and waiting time are spared.

I’m all charged up using bread seals as wire-markers, saving tiny plastic chips from the landfills.

1. https://www.rubiconglobal.com/blog-statistics-trash-recycling/( worth reading)


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