Super convienient earth day action step / by Lauren DeMarco

I like holidays to celebrate and remember what's important to me. I saw on my calendar that Earth Day is coming up on April 22. My wheels started turning...

My husband and I were reading about the Great Pacific Garbage Patch in this article on CNN. We have known about this garbage patch for a while but this article with updates reminded us that it is not going away. We whined about it, shook our heads, and rolled our eyes. We mentioned a few ways that other people and big corporations who we pretend are not made up of people at all, are making this problem worse instead of bringing up any solutions for our home. I hate doing that shit. I hate talking about how things are broken instead of taking any little bit of action I can to make it better. 

I took 3 minutes and was honest with myself about the biggest plastic problem in my own home and decided that Shop Rite brand sandwich bags are one of our biggest convenience issues that I want to try to overcome. Every little bit counts right?! So I did some research online and found this website.

I learned that right at the entrance to my grocery store (where I go every Sunday morning) there is a drop off where you can recycle all kinds of plastic bags. I thought I could only put the yellow grocery bags in there, which I rarely use, so I have never taken advantage of this resource. See image below of all the types of bags/films you can put in there:

 Image from plasticfilmrecycling.org

Image from plasticfilmrecycling.org

I thought about how I can make recycling these things just as easy as putting organic stuff in my compost bin (which is 2nd nature now). I created a little challenge for myself and invite you to join me for 30 days. (at which point I can re-evaluate the system and adjust for the long term change, if needed).

Here is what I am going to start with:
1. Minimize my use of sandwich bags (and reuse them when I really do need them) by using glass jars, especially in Chi Chi's lunch box, because prevention and reusing beats recycling all together. (may need to buy a set of these, preferably at a local store to save on shipping cost and packaging).
2. Place a canvas tote on a hook in the kitchen (not unattractive to look at, easy to grab with grocery list on the way out the door to the store).
3. Put anything that fits into one of the categories above into the tote throughout the week.
4. Bring the tote to the grocery store and place the waste in the plastic bag/film recycle bin as I enter the store. Make sure your grocery store has one of these bins: here.

A few other little things I do: reusable bags for groceries, decline straws at restaurants, bring silverware to wash and reuse in lunch boxes, pack washcloths instead of paper napkins in lunch boxes. I would love to improve more and more over time!

*I also found this cool website called Terracycle and applied to their free program for Clif bar package recycling since my husband eats them very frequently. You can see what other free programs they offer or other programs that you might be ready to invest in.

And for fun, a cute pic of Chi the compost we have been using for about a year and a half!

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