To say that it has been awhile since we last updated the blog, is an understatement. I'm excited to be taking on this challenge and to bring our members and other visitors to this site a fresh look at environmental issues in the Triad. One thing I am really excited about is a new year-long initiative, The Piedmont Environmental Alliance Green Guide, that will roll out in the next few days (more info coming soon). Hopefully, you will join me here and learn some new things as well as enjoy the journey.
My first assignment will be to take the ditch plastic challenge. Would you like to ditch your plastic addiction with me?:
Let me start by prefacing that not all plastics are evil, right? Plastics have made lifesaving products (surgical and water filtration equipment) and they are found in numerous other devices (components of solar panels and personal computers) that make our lives in the modern world possible. But the widespread use of the "stupid plastics", single-use items destined for the landfill, is unnecessary and destructive.
The Green America blog has posted 11 easy ways to kick the plastic habit. Click here
Some of these will be easy, some will require a bit more effort, lets start with the easiest.
1. "Paper or Plastic?"..."Neither"
Bring reusable cloth bags to the grocery store. Before I wrote this post I counted the number of reusable bags in my house and it is over 30. This is not counting the 5-10 scattered at work and in the cars. The real key is having them in the car/on your bike when you need them. Having an expandable one in your purse at all times is a good idea.
2. Give up your bottled water, and carry an unlined reusable stainless steel bottle. I am always torn, between keeping what you have, versus pitching it for the more environmentally friendly version. Over consumption is an equally negative environmental problem (see above note about my 30+ reusable grocery bags). How about this compromise... stop buying the single use bottled water you see in bulk at the grocery store, and when you need a new reusable bottle, make it a plastic free one like a kleen kanteen.
3. Get your meal to-go without the styrofoam shell and plastic utensils. My favorites is To-Go Ware. They have a very nice collection of both bamboo and stainless steel. Their utensil holders are even made out of salvaged plastic bottles or plastic bags.
Another bright idea? Many campuses across the country, including Salem College in Winston-Salem, have begun using "Eco-clamshells" in their cafeteria to-go service. These have now replaced the traditional styrofoam containers previously used if students chose to take their meals to-go. I even found that in Portland's booming food cart scene, they have a system set up where you pay for your reusable container upfront. Once you have finished eating the treats inside you can then exchange it for a token that may be used to obtain a clean container the next time you dine out. Read more at Tree Hugger.
The key to all of these tips? You have to remember to have these products with you when you are out and about. This just takes some training. Will we fail occasionally? Probably. The idea is to start making these behavioral changes, and if enough of us move in the right direction, hopefully we will move towards a more sustainable community.
Want to do more?
You can take the Plastic Trash Challenge:
Or take the Non Toxic Revolution Plastic Sucks Pledge: