The Great Plastic Takeover and what you can do to stop it!

At the beginning of 2015 I wrote a post about a little change I made to be a little more environmentally conscious.  I switched from plastic to glass drinking straws. You can if you wish read about that here.  I was pretty proud of myself for not putting this

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Approximate number of straws I am no longer throwing away each year.

into the landfill each year. I knew in my heart that was the least I could do. Since then My wife and I have endeavored to do even more after watching this video.

I started working in a restaurant the middle of last year and I couldn’t believe how much waste occurs and is going into our landfills.  It’s not just plastic, but Styrofoam which currently cannot be recycled and many restaurants use for their to-go containers. One day I watched our deli team get a HUGE to-go order ready. Styrofoam to-go containers were stacked from the counter way up towards the ceiling, and I thought OMG! that will all end up in our landfill and it doesn’t biodegrade.  WTF! Why are we doing this?!  I started to think of all the restaurants that use plastics and Styrofoam containers and I tried to get a visual in my head of what that really looked like added up. It was horrific.  What people and even I myself failed to realize previously is that even though we can recycle plastics; all we are really doing is down-cycling them. They don’t truly go away, they just get re-used.  That’s better than just thrown into the landfill, but it’s not good enough, because more and more single use plastics keep being made, used, and thrown away and do not get recycled.  It will take all of us to change this. We have to change our own thinking, and then we have to urge others to be more environmentally conscious.  There are some restaurants that already use recycled to-go containers, which is something, but still not enough.  Long ago I also wrote about attempting to bring my own to-go containers when purchasing food to go, like salads, and asking the restaurant if they could just put it in my container instead of the plastic one.  I touted in that piece that The Habit burger grill actually allowed me to use my own container for my salads to-go, but sadly since then I have been told by management that they will no longer allow me to do that.  I intend to write several letters to restaurants that we frequent and urge them to be more environmentally responsible.  Which brings me to what you/we can do. We may not be able to get a restaurant to package our food to-go in our own containers but if you eat out at a restaurant you can bring your own go containers for your leftovers. Again, its something.  We are doing our best to avoid altogether single use plastics. That means utensils, straws, to-go containers, left over containers, baggies, bottled water, the list goes on and on.  I am ashamed to admit that we use to use a lot of baggies. They are so damn convenient. We do our best not to use them now. Of course, there isn’t a lot you can do about the way things are packaged except to recycle what you can. We long ago stopped purchasing bottled water. We filter and bubble our own water at home and refrigerate it when need be. It seems selfish to me to use bottled water at home when we already have everything we need to avoid that, but we also do not use it when we are out.  We bought ourselves water bottles, which we love, to carry with us and get water when we are out and about. We drink mostly water and if we stop somewhere we have noticed that many of the restaurants offer a single use plastic or Styrofoam water cup that you then throw away, and you know they are not recycling all the waste that’s used and thrown away there.  So now we just carry these for water and we never have to throw away single use cups.

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But we have also now made ourselves a kit that we keep in the car for when we are not at home…. to help avoid using single use plastics.

It’s a little effort, okay maybe a lot of effort over convenience, but if everyone made a little effort I think it would help tremendously.

Also there’s this possible future solution… futuristic…but it sure would be awesome.

Smooth Sipping and Slipping on in to 2015

My morning Iced Coffee with my new glass straw
My morning Iced Coffee with my new glass straw

I did not do the whole year in review post… I thought about it if that counts? Some great things happened for me in 2014 and I will share some highlights here now, but then we will blissfully move on…  Or maybe this post will just be all encompassing. 🙂

I published my 3rd book of poetry in December 2014 just in time for the holidays. Scarlett Saturated Gold was six years in the making and provided quite the feeling of accomplishment upon its completion.  I had to learn new book making software in order to make the finished product a little more affordable and marketable for those who choose to buy my books. A win win, but no easy task.

I commissioned my first piece of art from an artist abroad and I love it! I will be doing more. If you love my Cheshire as much as I do you can get more info about TJ Lubrano here.  She really is an amazing talent.

Cheshire Cat by TJ Lubrano
 Cheshire Cat by TJ Lubrano

I got to use my passport for the first time while traveling to Mexico. We stayed at an all inclusive resort in the Rivera Maya Mexican rain forest. I highly recommend the Occidental Grand Xcaret.  We got some amazing photos… if you would like to take a gander there is a photo book here. It’s not every day you’re hanging out in the pool and some random guy comes cruising by with a Toucan. 🙂

Me with the most awesome Iguana Chester

I launched my new greeting card website Heart Elevations, the art of greetings elevated.  Very exciting. We just finished some medieval wedding invitations that were so much fun to create.

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We took it easy during the holidays…and sort of eased in to 2015 without much ado. We did watch the ball drop and toast and then sunk into sweet slumber.  I am not much for New Years resolutions.  I feel that promising yourself and the world that you are going to make some dramatic change sets you up for failure.  I have learned to take baby steps. Small ripples (quite doable) that in the end create big change.  This year I have a couple small ripples already in place.  The first of which is I/we have given up plastic straws. It may seem like a little thing…but the impact as I have discovered is quite large when you start doing the math.  I drink iced coffee with a straw every day. Even if I only ever used just one straw per day..that’s 365 straws going into the landfill because plastic does not biodegrade and currently you cannot really recycle straws. The truth is/was that I probably was using and throwing away closer to 400 straws a year. 😦 Not any more. I ordered and received my first ever glass straw and I love it! Yes you have to wash it out in order to reuse it, but it comes with its own little cleaning brush and it’s really no big deal to clean it. Let the smooth sipping begin.  I will carry one of my glass straws in my car for those times (rare) that I get a drink out.   If you are interested to know about glass straws and the impact of throwing away plastic ones you can check out this website Hummingbird Glass Straws. They are handcrafted and so beautiful and they are sold on Amazon.  I will be purchasing biodegradable poop bags for fishing the littler box.  We have already given up plastic bags at the market, and really the reusable bags are so much stronger anyway.  On those occasions when I forget my bags (more often than I care to admit)  …I just don’t have my groceries bagged and then bag them myself when I get back to the car.  We are going to do our level best when eating out to bring our own reusable go containers for leftovers. I am also going to try for the first time making my own laundry soap. We are continuing to look into ways to remove chemicals from our direct environment. Two years ago we began using doterra pure therapeutic grade essential oils for all natural remedies and cleaning. Huge difference in our lives.   Little steps..and there will be more to come.  Another continuing goal is to maintain healthy eating habits.. that ones always difficult.  That’s about it…so do you have goals for 2015? Dare I say resolutions?