Friday, August 14, 2015

Zero Net Plastic Day - I FINALLY did it!

Well, yay, I've finally pulled off that Zero Net Plastic day I've been trying for for a while.

In case you missed it when I was trying it earlier in the summer, that means that I just got through a whole day in which I didn't buy or accept any new plastic, and I didn't create any waste plastic - just reused what I already have and then put it away for re-use again tomorrow (and the next day and the next). 

This was an offshoot of my personal Mālama Honua project. In honor of the Hōkūle'a Polynesian voyaging canoe's amazing worldwide voyage, which includes a New York City stop in June of 2016 (woohoo! SO exciting!) I've made a concentrated effort to quit being lazy about a couple of ways I've been using more plastic than I need to - 1. I've quit using the disposable plastic clamshells the cafeteria uses in favor of asking them to put my lunch in a reusable plastic tray (felt like a doofus the first time I asked but the staff has been lovely about it, never so much as looked at me funny), and 2. I've gotten much better about not going shopping without bags; in the past, although I would always take a bag when I was planning on shopping, if I thought of something I wanted at another time, I would just take the new bag. This has all gone really well, and then one day it occurred to me to try to make a game of trying to get through the entire day without actually moving any plastic along the supply chain by accepting it or chucking it. 

Now, I'm not the most attentive person in the world and, hey, guess what, there turns out to be a whole lot of plastic out there. I knew that but this really brought it home. I've sabotaged myself or been sabotaged with plastic q-tips and butter containers and frilly decorative sandwich picks, by buying cold medicine and cough drops, by drinking a bottle of beer (kept fresh and tasty with a plastic-lined cap) or eating leftover Thai food from a plastic-lined cardboard pail, by finishing off a bag of veggies or an asthma inhaler or a container of pills, or just not being able to resist that bag of chips or wrapped chocolate at the end of a long day at work. It's everywhere it's everywhere, and getting through an entire day of playing by my self-imposed rules without slipping up once ended up being a lot harder than I expected. 

I had pretty much dropped the zero-net game part of the project for a couple of weeks before I went to Hawaii, there was just too much to do, and things I needed to get, and then I also had a cold and then a cough that required medications to get through the work days, and then I also gave myself a pass while I was in Hawaii. I guess there's some irony in that but it's harder to avoid the plastic when you're traveling and eating out and buying local goodies to send home to yourself, so I cut myself a lot of slack while I was out there.

I actually remembered about the game yesterday, thinking the day had potential until I recalled that I'd started out the day with the good bread I'd bought for the Orient Point trip, buttered from an individual serving container I'd picked up somewhere; today, though, I actually pulled it off. Had to resist the chips and chocolate in my desk; fortunately a large fruit plate appeared in the pantry just about the time the chips were getting especially persistent and I was able to hush their racket with that and a couple more slices of the good bread. Without that fruit appearing, I don't know if I would've been able to do it, but it did, and I did! 


JP said...

Congrats! - it shouldn't be a hard thing to do but alas it is :(

bonnie said...

Thanks! Yes, it was much harder than I expected - one moment of inattention and it's done.

Roz Warren said...

Inspiring. I'm going to try. Wish me luck!

bonnie said...

I'd be very curious to know whether other people do better than me!

pia said...

You did great!

I'm not sure I could ever give up plastic q tips which you're not supposed to use anyway for the reason most of us do but....