Cancelled the newspapers. I couldn’t be convinced that even if the newspaper carrier was going to remember to deliver it without a bag, that the bag wouldn’t just have been discarded in his/her car moments before delivery.
I received a gift card from REI for Christmas and I decided to redeem it today. I knew that any package they sent me would include plastic of some sort and that the box would arrive after the first of the year (our official start date), but, hell, I wanted a new pair of pants so I decided to go for it. Failed. Already. Zero-plastic-influx was going to have to take a hit.
The pants are 3% spandex (fancy name for plastic?) and 97% cotton. I guess I will need to find a 100% cotton pant moving forward, but I feel confident that none of the pants I currently own will need to be replaced over the next year. I Suppose I have spandex to thank for that.
Anyway, to feel a bit better about the whole plastic pant shipping thing, I decided to see what the REI sales representative could do for me in terms of plastic-free shipping. Despite my attempt to appeal to her Northwest/Seattle, outdoor-loving, need-to-be-ahead-of-the-curve-in-terms-of-funky mossiness, she claimed that she had no control over the way my pants were shipped; this despite her admission that “Yeah, we’re into green.”
Apparently the plastic bag the pants will come in are to protect it from any moisture it may come into contact. (Dog pee?) I tried to see if they could wrap my box in twine instead of using tape. No go. “Hey, I won’t hold you accountable if the twine comes off and my pants land on the floor of the Salt Lake City UPS distribution center. Let’s just see what happens,” I said to the woman. Suppose REI just isn’t that funky.
Sure, I didn’t really press the issue – it was a half-assed effort on my part. Mostly, I was just curious – just feeling the whole thing out. Clearly this could have been a big Michael Moore moment complete with cameras and tirades and heart-felt speeches about the churning mass of plastic so soupingly loving our oceans, but I’m not quite ready for that yet. We’ll see.
So the morning after we decided all this happened to be our daughters’ 7th birthday. I woke up and went to Giant for a few supplies. I got birthday candles (plastic window on the cardboard box), wrapping paper (plastic wrapper), 2 pairs of gloves for the girls (held together by a plastic tag), tortillas (in plastic bag), and taco-mix (in plasticized envelope). So I’m batting 1000 so far. I finally thought of something today that wouldn’t be hard. Spices – our spice-guy Jim at market will think it’s just peachy to sell us spices in paper bags, or in containers that we bring to him. I think basically anything we buy from someone we know is going to work out. Interesting how that works.
Driven by a post-dinner conversation with our friend and chemist, Ryan Mehl, we have decided to rethink our relationship with plastic – well, more than rethink. During the 2012 calendar year we are going to try to eliminate any new influx of plastic into our house. Sure, plastic has many important and useful applications and our approach is not plastic-free, merely zero-plastic-influx. There will undoubtedly be challenges along the way, but we will try to meet these in a creative way.