Where to begin? This week has been a little bit discouraging. I began talking with my committee of experts about a point system, and our discussion quickly devolved into a debate over the best theoretical framework for this project. What was my overall goal here? Should I develop a system through which to determine the most harmful plastics, and then rate all of the plastic I used and focus on cutting down on the most noxious stuff? Should I use a universal “cap” approach whereby I lowered the cap by a little bit each week in order to slowly wean myself off of plastic of any sort? Can you say overanalyzing the problem? I could see what was happening: I suddenly envisioned myself ending up crouched in a corner of my apartment, angrily shredding cling wrap in a distracted and half-crazed manner while I muttered unintelligably about the Pacific Garbage Patch.
So, in the end, I simply tracked my plastic usage this week in order to get an idea of my starting point. In total, my list included about 30 items, and I’m sure I missed some. I’m thinking that a good place to start will be plastic bags and plastic kitchen items such as tupperware. My goal this next week is to eliminate these items in my daily routine by finding substitutes like cloth bags for groceries and glass or metal containers for food storage. I will also be doing some research this week about the history of plastics, the chemical make-up of different types of plastic, and other fun plastic facts. (Get excited!) I will be using as one of my chief resources in this project a fascinating book called The World WIthout Us by Alan Weisman. I will be focusing on his chapter specifically about plastics, but the whole book is well worth a read. Check it out if you are interested in the impact we are having on this planet!
And I’m out.