It’s everywhere, around everything, and on everything. It’s getting more difficult to recycle and being sourced in more environmentally destructive ways. It’s in our rivers, our lakes, our oceans, our fish, our birds, every mammal on earth and even in our own bodies. We can all agree plastic has gone beyond problematic. While we can make simple conscious decisions to refuse it as often as possible by using cups instead of water bottles or green bags instead of plastic, there are a few preposterous plastic situations out there that make you realize how ridiculous our obsession with plastic truly is.
Organic baby food in disposable plastic squeeze containers
It’s organic! That’s good for the environment, right? For the one second you feel warm and fuzzy about choosing food for your baby grown without chemicals you might not think about the fact that the food is in a plastic pouch made of petroleum. Oh, and these pouches can’t be recycled. They are made of different types of plastic and small in size which makes them impossible to break down into the different plastic types for recycling. Glass jars are washable and easily recyclable. There’s also the option of making your own organic baby food in your own blender at home!
Small bundles of firewood wrapped in plastic
Nearly every gas station and grocery store has a mound of individually wrapped small bundles of wood for sale. Even if the wood is environmentally sourced, why does it need to be wrapped in plastic??!! Sure, there are plenty of people who only build a fire for special occasions so a small bundle of wood great to have. However, those bundles can be tied with twine and travel perfectly well from the store to your home. Instead, look for a local seller of firewood bundles or talk to a friend who keeps a winter’s worth of firewood. Good chance you can work something out to take a handful home when you need it.
Paper products wrapped in plastic
Have you seen this paper towel ad? A happy woman dances in her kitchen with a three pack of paper towel wrapped in plastic. She dunks a few cans into the recycling bin while the advertiser tells you trees will be planted every time you buy their product. Petroleum is a limited resource, trees aren’t. Paper towel and toilet paper can be wrapped…. in paper! Also, old torn or stained clothing and linens can make for great cleaning rags. Fabric rags can be used for decades while paper towel is one and done. Going this route says NO to both plastic and using trees unnecessarily.
Individual foods wrapped in plastic
Hard boiled eggs aren’t that hard to peel, neither are oranges. Cheese slices aren’t that hard to cut. Potatoes, corn and cucumbers have their very own nature made wrapping that you are going to wash before you eat anyways. So why wrap them individually in plastic? Or worse yet place them on a foam tray wrapped in plastic? I’m afraid I don’t have an answer to that. Apparently, the sellers of these foods assume you’ll think they’re doing you a favor, taking a whole burning 60 seconds off your busy day? We’re smarter than this.
Save water use a plastic cup?
Oh, the hotel industry’s weak attempt to appear to be environmentally friendly. Nearly every hotel has a lovely little card asking you to reuse your towel because the hotel chain cares about water waste. To be completely fair there are many hotels that have become extremely sustainable. For most though, plastic cups wrapped in plastic wrap in your room, non-recyclable coffee ground cups and continental breakfast served on foam plates far outweigh any environmental benefit brought by reusing a towel.
What’s the most plastic preposterous thing you’ve seen? We would love to see your comments! Thank you for reading.
Audrey L Elder
A recyclable grocery bag would be a million (maybe a billion) dollar “Shark Tank” business. We bring our extra plastic bags back to the grocery store for others to use, but sadly, many of them end up in our trash.
You make an excellent point about hotels basically paying lip service to being environmentally friendly. The “save our planet” photo you provide says it all.
Good work, Audrey.
Thank you Sam! The plastic bag problem will be a tough one to get under control as long as there is no real incentive to avoid them. There was a plastic bag ban approved by vote in Columbia, MO several years ago. However, the MO state legislator overturned it by passing one of many bills that take away the ability for Missouri municipalities to have their own local regulations, even if approved by the voters. Right now I would consider it a great start if I could get baggers to put my groceries in my green bags without them trying to put them in plastic bags first!
Thanks, Audrey. Funny how some politicians preach about the importance of local control, unless it conflicts with their own political interests.