Wednesday, July 9

Noitalever: "Less Plastic?" "That's what she said!"

Jamie brought up a valid point yesterday when she noted that the quality of environmental jazz isn't going to change much until the corporations get behind it.

This is true, but that does not mean that you shouldn't try to adjust your lifestyle and work your small-scale magic. Here's why:

1. Every little bit counts. You need to remember that you are making a tangible difference. If you need a reminder, check this out. Another method is to start a "shrine". For the next month, save all of the plastic bags you consume (i.e, take home from the grocery store) in a drawer by themselves. Then, take them out at the end of the month and count them. Do the math and figure out how many bags you'd consume in your lifetime continuing at that rate. Eliminating that waste isn't such a small change.

2. Your friends will catch on. If your friends see you make change look this easy, they will try to change these little things, too. At this point, it's not one person's plastic bags (slash coffee cups slash water bottles), but five or ten.

3. People will notice. Once it starts creeping into everyone's field of vision, they will reevaluate. This is the point at which corporations will begin to care, because it will become profitable to market to these consumers. However, if everyone waits for the corporations to shift their paradigms, no one will ever make a move.

4. It's not hard. You should be doing the small things anyway, because they aren't difficult and most of them make economic sense. For example, if you can refill a water bottle from a water fountain instead of buying a new bottle every day at work, you'd save at least $5/wk. Or, if you reduce your waste in general (for example, avoiding excessively packaged products), you can lower your utilities bill (at least in Oregon, they charge by the gallon).

Here are five changes that are economical and environmentally-friendly:

1. Stop buying bottled water - the stuff from the water fountain/sink is free.
2. Switch to bar soap - this is often way cheaper than liquid because of lowered production costs.
3. Wear your jeans/skirts/whatever more than twice - I have found that under most conditions, jeans can be worn for at least three days. Towels, if treated properly (not lumped on the floor after use), can be reused several times also. This lessens the amount of laundry you have to do and thus lowers your water bill!
4. Bring your own coffee cup - most places will now give you at least a twenty-five cent discount for bringing your own coffee cup, and you'll save all of that waste (some of which is often plastic and can't break down).
5. Bring your own grocery bags - a lot of places (IKEA, Whole Foods, etc) are starting to charge for each bag you take.

In closing:

I'm not asking you to stop wearing polyester and using deodorant - I'm asking you to stop these little habits that are byproducts of a "disposable" lifestyle. I'm also not asking you to step on eggshells in our world. I think that these are five examples of small changes that can be implemented today in order to bring about big change for tomorrow.

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