I've started a Plog (plastic log) on my phone to track all the times I use plastic and defy the rules I've set out to follow. I think of them as plastic land mines. They happen when I least expect it. Things got kind of ugly last week while I was visiting my family in Atlanta.
Here's the usage breakdown: 1 bag, 1 salad container, 2 forks, 3 dressing packets and a straw.
There's a few things to watch out for in the anti plastic crusade. Things people hand to you when you least expect it and walk away before you can give it back.
The following items sneak up on you, even when you are trying to be fully aware of your plastic usage:
- Salad Dressing containers
remedy: ask to share a salad dressing with someone else or just have them put it directly on the salad (usually half as much as they normally would think to use)
- Plastic forks
Remedy: this is definitely out of the ordinary, but carry a fork around. I'm going to start carrying a fold-up fork / spoon / knife combo (if I can find it…I was saving it for a camping trip).
Remedy: ask for no straw, or have a metal or reusible straw on hand.
- Plastic bags
Remedy: double check that you have your reusable bags. Carry things in your hand.
- Styrofoam cups
Remedy: bring your own mug / cup
- plastic lids
Remedy: ask for no lid or bring your own mug / cup
- plastic cups
Remedy: ask for a real cup or bring a travel water bottle
- Styrofoam and plastic to-go containers
Remedy: order smaller portions or share a meal if you are eating out.
The easy remedy for all of this stuff is just don't eat out or eat fast food. When you do, ask before you order and clarify you are getting reusable materials. Remember that waiters are working for your tip and are glad to accommodate you.
I am totally fine with cutting out fast food. That stuff nasty anyways. Mmm hmmm.
It was a tough week in the fight against plastic, being in a group of people who offer to buy me things on the reg. But all hope is not lost. When someone says it's impossible to live without using plastic, remember that just means it takes a little planning and persistence.