It’s everywhere. Plastic, that is. It’s really, truly in everything we buy and no wonder America and the planet and choking in plastic debris. Does this sound like a rant? It isn’t — yet. It’s more of a concerned discussion, with a rallying cry to myself. Self, I say, what are we gonna do about all the plastic in our lives?
I buy gallons of milk in plastic jugs — it’s a better buy than smaller sizes. But it’s plastic, right? Which may or may not get into our food and our bodies, etc. Plastic needs fossil fuels to create, produce and transport the goods it packages. I could go on. But you already know this stuff. The dealio is this: I’m going to try and cut out plastics, and will blog on occasion about it. More, if it’s amusing, and less, if it’s dull. (Let me know in the comments section, please!)
But I figure on having to change my tune on a number of things: my couponing, for one. I get some pretty sweet deals on lunch meat and cheese with coupons, for example. But those are pretty plasticky, packaging-wise. That means I will have to ask for stuff at the deli and have it wrapped in paper only. More expensive? I’m sure it is. And potato chips — those tend to be in plastic bags. Pasta often comes in plastic. Bread comes inplastic. Bagels, shampoo, juice? Bars of soap may be wrapped in paper or boxes but come lashed together with plastic. So do multiples of anything. Our vitamins have the top sealed in plastic. Computer games and printer ink have plastic everywhere in the packaging. Toilet paper comes swathed in plastic, unless you buy individual rolls. Guess I’ll be doing that from now on.
We’re already pretty good about buying less plastic, or letting in very little. But this is about stepping it up a notch, and then we’ll see if we can still eat and pay the rent… What a pity that (once again) ethical living and paying the rent seem to be opposed. Is it more expensive to live without plastic? Can we live better? Or is it more costly and will we have to give up elsewhere to make this scheme work?
Julia Park Tracey is an award-winning journalist, author, and blogger. She is the author of six books: three novels, one poetry collection, and two women's history. She was the Poet Laureate of Alameda, California, in 2014-17. She's also the conservatrix of The Doris Diaries, the diaries of her great-aunt Doris Bailey Murphy. She has a BA in journalism from San Francisco State University, and MA in Early 20th C. British Literature from Cal State Hayward. Julia's articles have appeared on Salon, Thrillist, Paste, Scary Mommy, Narratively, Yahoo News, Your Tango, and Sweatpants & Coffee. Her articles have also run in Redbook, Woman's Day, Country Living, House Beautiful, Town & Country, the San Francisco Chronicle, Oakland Magazine, Quill, and MadeLocal. She was the founding editor of weekly Alameda Sun and literary zine Red Hills Review. Her poetry has been in The East Bay Literary review, Postcard Poems, Americus Review, Cicada, Tiferet Review, and many others. Julia has been recognized several times by the San Francisco, East Bay and Peninsula Press Clubs as well as the California Newspaper Association for her blogging since 2003.