A Tide of Plastic

Happy Monday Everyone!

So this week’s posts are going to be addressing the use of plastic in our lives and its impact on the environment. As some of you may know I went to the Canadian premier of A Plastic Ocean, and it was eyeopening. I already had a strong grasp of the ecological implications of plastic in our oceans, but the message in the film highlighted that it is also very dangerous to human life across the planet. So I am dedicating the next few posts to plastic and how to mitigate it’s damaging effects. Today we are starting with a question from a friend of mine and then an email question from a reader who emailed me. I love getting emails from readers asking questions, looking for advice and with suggestions for future posts! So thank you for your comments and questions.

The Gist:

  • A plastic bag has an average “working life” of 15 minutes.*
  • Packaging is the largest end use market segment accounting for just over 40% of total plastic usage. *
  • Annually approximately 500 billion plastic bags are used worldwide. More than one million bags are used every minute.*
  • Recycling plastic saves twice as much energy as burning it in an incinerator.**
  • PET plastic can be recycled into: clothing, fiberfill for sleeping bags, toys, stuffed animals, rulers and more.**
  • There are LOTS of plastic bag (shopping and storage) alternatives. Reusable fabric totes, produce bags, food storage containers and food wrap.
  • Many regional recycling depots and even grocery stores accept soft plastics (bags, plastic wrap, food packaging and Styrofoam for recycling)

Alright, now for the details.

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So  just this past week a friend of mine asked what could they use instead of those flimsy plastic produce bags from the grocery store. They are distinctly one-time-use only, so what options are there? Lots!
We currently use these Flip and Tumble mesh produce bags. They are sturdy, stretchy and are machine washable. I use them for  produce and larger bulk food items like pasta and nuts. You can buy them online, at Whole Foods, Pomme Natural Market and Crate and Barrel (where we bought ours.) While we are talking about it, it is worth looking at the quality and shape of your current reusable grocery tote bags. I realized that they get kind of gross, so make sure you wash them from time to time.

Alright, on to our second question, which admittedly made me laugh out loud.

“What do you recommend for disposing of cat litter in? I feel bad about hermetically sealing the cat poop in plastic shopping bags for eternity…”

Now, I know a lot of you guys are thinking. Are we really going to talk about pet waste? Yeah, because according to my calculations, our kitties “go” roughly 5000+ times in their lifetime. That’s a lot of waste. And since they are integral parts of our household, we should talk about it. There are LOTS of biodegradable litter options at your local pet store, so have a look. The wheat and corn based ones are pretty good.

So our kitty poop is scooped into Poopy Sacs (the ones you carry behind Rufus on walks). You can buy those baggies everywhere (pet stores and grocery stores) for really inexpensive.

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For the bi-weekly litter tray empty we use these larger bags. Both are biodegradable and are quite in expensive. I buy the sacs at the pet store and the BioBag’s at Pomme Groceries.

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So thanks for all of your questions! Please keep them rolling in, I love answering them. If I  don’t have an answer right away, rest assured that I will research that for you and share my findings! 

Question: If you don’t use the Flip Tumble baggies, which do you use? I would love to hear back.

– Heather 

*Reference Here

** Reference Here

 

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