One of the pleasures of a Sunday morning (besides a tasty bowl of cereal) is the newspaper, that fat bundle lying like a gift on the front step. I (heart) the Sunday paper. The nice delivery person, a mystery visitor to our home once a week, leaves the paper on the front step, so close to the door that I could fetch it bare nekkid and still be OK. So why does s/he feel the need to wrap it in plastic? Not just on rainy days, but every week?
Note to self: contact San Francisco Chronicle and have the plastic bags stopped. The worst thing that could happen without the bag is that my paper gets wet, and guess what? It will dry. I know sometimes they put little samples of Tide or gum or something in the bag. Guess what? I don’t want that stuff, either. Which reminds me: I should also call my local newspapers that deliver once a week and ask for no plastic bags.
I’m going to have to sit and look over our budget for the month of June, because money-wise, buying food without plastics has already proven to be more expensive. It’s also proving more time-consuming, re cooking and snacking from scratch, as well as much healthier. But money is money. Our food budget for 5 people is usually less than $500 per month. It tops out at about $800, with more mouths and fancier food during the holidays (Dungenness crab, hello!), but usually we do pretty well. If buying better food in order to avoid plastic is a new direction for us, I will have to seriously consider other budget items: gasoline, cable TV, entertainment, pocket money, and other semi-flexible expenses.
On the other hand, forays to Taco Bell notwithstanding, we are eating like kings. Delicious cantaloupe and berries, fresh salami on whole grain baguettes, local dairy butter, olive oil, wonderful turnips, carrots, kale and bok choy, and the occasional gourmet potato chip or mint Milano. No complaints as to quality, while a year ago, on the Food Stamp Challenge, we were eating hot dogs, cheap cuts of chicken, and lots of starch.
If eating well and helping to keep some plastic from the waste stream is the end result of this Challenge, then “no plastic” may well become a lifelong change.
I called the San Francisco Chronicle (800-310-2455) and they put a note to my distributor to ditch the plastic bag. Julia 5, plastics 2.
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.