Guest Post - Jenn Savedge - My Plastic Free February

by: EJ on 02/01/2011
Posted in: Guest Posts

Each week I receive Green Parent Daily Tips from Jenn Savedge. Jenn is a full-time mom, environmentalist and author who researches and writes about the two topics that are closest to her heart: children and the environment. Her book, The Green Teen: The Eco-Friendly Teen's Guide to Saving the Planet, was published by New Society Publishers in 2009.

Today's tip was about going plastic free. It caught my attention because over the last couple of years, I have been volunteering at our local school to help initiate a zero waste program. Plastics were a real problem. I worked with another mother, and between the two of us, we went back to our local recycling depot at least six times to ask, "Now what plastics are recyclable again?". The answer as to what we could and could not put in our blue box, the school recycling program, or bring to our local depot was incredibly complicated. It also seemed to change from week to week. In the end, we made a decision to forget plastic recycling and encourage the kids to use as little plastic as possible. And, being good role models, we pledged to completely eliminate plastic from our own lives. Well. What a challenge! Once you start looking, plastic is everywhere.

Michelle, my partner in the pledge, was very successful. She moved her garbage bin into the closet, called it a recycling bin, and cancelled her garbage service. She placed a tiny bucket on her counter for garbage. At the end of the month, she had a handful of assorted plastic bits and a broken cup. My family did a good job too. We signed up for a local food buying group which delivered bulk food in paper bags. We baked bread and cookies. We stopped buying organic vegetable margarine and switched to butter instead (foil wrapping). We stopped eating cheese. We are still trying to make our own yogurt (more plastic tubs to avoid!). We carried our own bags, utensils, take out plates and cups. We purchased a stainless steel straw. We bought our meat from the butcher and asked him to wrap only in brown paper and no plastic. It was amazing really, reducing plastic completely transformed our grocery shopping, eating and cooking recipes. The impact on our lives has been profound. Undertaking a plastic-free pledge is no small thing and I applaud anyone willing to take this on.

Cudos to Jenn and Rodale Publishing! Read on to find out more about Plastic-Free February.

February 1. I just finished up my January eco-challenge (The Compact) and I’m ready for the next event. Can you guess what is is? That’s right – I’m going plastic-free. And I’m not doing it alone.

The staff of Rodale Publishing , publisher of some of my favorite magazines such as Prevention, Organic Gardening, Women’s Health, and Runner’s World have chosen to go plastic-free this month, too! All month, Rodale staffers will be taking turns blogging about the successes and failures of living that week without purchasing, acquiring, or cooking with plastic — along with eight other bloggers who’ve signed up for the challenge.

And Beth Terry, the plastic-free guru and eco-inspiration behind My Plastic Free Life, will be working with the team to give her expert suggestions and support.

So, I will be in good company this month. I had already chosen to go plastic-free in February as part of my year-long stint of eco-challenges, but the fact that so many others are doing it too seems like an exceptionally good sign. If you’ve ever thought about going plastic-free, this is the month to do it. You can do it on your own, or check in over at Rodale for support from a team. I plan to do a little of both.

Are you up for trying to tackle the plastic in your life? Let us know how you get on in the comment section below.

The Green Teen

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