Choices

Posted by Ken Campbell October 15, 2012 0 Comment 932 views
There were a few items we needed from the grocery store on Saturday before we headed out to the weekend house getaway in Longbranch. Yogurt, a bottle of wine, carrots for the horses, etc. It wasn’t until I got to the checkout that I realized I didn’t have a reusable bag with me… in a flash, the clerk had everything in a double-thick plastic grocery bag. I didn’t say anything. I paid for the stuff and walked out, but I felt like crap.
Over the past year, I have really been aware of plastic. The Ikkatsu Project has undoubtedly contributed to this heightened sense of moral outrage at single-use, “disposable” plastic items like grocery bags and their ilk, as has my involvement with the Surfrider Foundation as well as just the simple reality of living on a beach. A beach where, every day, I see more plastic stuff that has been deposited on the sand by the tide, that may wash out at the next high-water, or that might stay there. Forever.
That’s the thing: polymers are forever. How can something that never goes away be thought of as “disposable?” It’s not just shopping bags. It’s lighters, water bottles, all kinds of packaging – there’s a special irony in realizing that the packaging for many items is more durable than the items themselves. We have a way of life, like Mr. McGuire pointed out to the young Dustin Hoffman in The Graduate, that is based on plastic.
Switching to reusable grocery bags is one small step. It is a necessary step, but it’s just the beginning. I have plans for next year, to try to greatly cut my use of plastic on a personal level, mostly as a result of the things I’ve learned this year, and as a way of modeling to my son a method of living what I believe. It takes vigilance and some dedication… nothing good is ever easy.
This Planet Earth is a tough place to be honest; hypocrisy seems to be a default setting.

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