Not many people know this about me but I was a film major in college. Yeah, I watched a ton of movies and wrote a lot of papers. Unfortunately (for my friends and family) I memorized a lot of one-liners from them.
There’s one line that gets stuck in my head each time I walk thru a drug store and it’s from The Graduate. The movie was made in 1967 and Dustin Hoffman’s character Benjamin has no idea what he’s going to do now that he’s graduated from college. He’s given advice from Mr. McGuire, a friend of his parents at his college graduation party who pulls him aside to speak with him and says, “Can I say one word to you? Just one word? Plastics.” Then he goes on to say, “There’s a great future in plastics”. Yeah Mr. McGuire, there sure is.
From the invention of Tupperware in the 1940’s to the salad-in-a-bag packaging of the late 1990’s, plastics have infiltrated almost everything we use in daily life. I remember thinking how great it was that Saran Wrap was invented in 1933, and what my mom called plastic wrap could stick to everything, including itself.
Plastic has made our lives so much easier, but it has made our planet so much worse.
After seeing that poor Sperm Whale dead on a beach after eating roughly 64 pounds of plastic (see it here, at your own risk!) I’m beginning to think all of it should be banned.
What did we do before everything came in plastic?
We used glass bottles for all liquids, cardboard for dry goods and aluminum for others. Sure, these containers cost more but look at what plastic is costing our environment.
Just as slow fashion may cost a bit more because it’s made responsibly and made to last, we need to look at the brands using plastic containers and start investing in the ones that use environmentally friendly options, regardless of the cost.
Some plastic is recyclable, but it seems there’s only three types that most curbside recycling programs pick up. Check out this list from Natural Society to see if the plastic you’re buying is safe and recyclable.
Out of all the plastic containers out there, the only ones to purchase have the numbers 2, 4 and 5 on them. Anything else isn’t safe for humans or the planet and should be avoided.
Hard to believe there are still restaurants serving food in Styrofoam containers (plastic #6) and using plastic straws (my biggest pet peeve). It’s up to us, the consumer, to push restaurants, retailers and suppliers to stop using this stuff. I’d like to think we’re encouraging them to be hip. Think retro as in soda shops with cardboard straws, fluted, glass ice cream dishes and heavy ceramic coffee mugs. Maybe those parents of Benjamin from The Graduate should have stuck with their shapely, martini glasses and paper grocery bags instead of encouraging the Baby Boomers to create the stuff that’s killing our planet.
Maybe it’s time we get serious about not buying anything encased in plastic. I’m right there with you as far as convenience goes, but I’m committed to ridding my home and workplace of plastic anything and below are four ways I’ve switched to avoid buying my favorite products in plastic:
This is a big one for me ’cause I’m not one for making my own or going without, so I’ve switched to a bar made by LUSH. It works and smells amazing and since it comes in a bar form, no plastic packaging is included.
Bottled Body Wash:
I love a great body wash and am not a fan of melting soap in my shower, but I’m no longer buying body wash in plastic containers.
There’s a slew of small soap artists, (yes, artists!) out there and my local Chicago favorite (you can order online too) is from Mojo Spa. They make uniquely fragrant soap cupcakes, pie slices and even cookies that change the everyday shower into a real treat.
Sports Drinks: I was a big purchaser of Propel but stopped buying the plastic bottles and switched to using their powder that I pour into my reusable water bottle.
Plastic Food Wrap: No more saving food in plastic zipper bags or wrapping it up in plastic film. Now I use Pyrex glass storage containers and compostable Bee’s Wrap. The bonus? They make the inside of my refrigerator look organized and clean.
(Find out more in our blog: Pack Your Plastic-Free Bags & Join Us)
Plastic Pet Bowls, Toys and More: Now we use metal pet bowls that clean up a lot easier and no more fake plastic bones or toys. I love the toys from Purrfect Play made from hemp and vegan materials.
(Find plastic-free human giftables in our blog: Easy Last-Minute Gifts)
Workroom and Breakroom Essentials: Everyone knows MAJAMAS EARTH makes eco-friendly fashion, but we stick to sustainable office practices as well. From the paper we use (recycled/recyclable) to the shipping methods and materials, we do our very best to ensure our studio creates barely half a bag of trash per week. We compost, recycle, and encourage our contractors and vendors to do the same.
(Find out more in our blog: Waste Not, Want Not At Work)
So this season, when you find yourself at your next graduation party pull that graduate aside and give them one word of advice. “Just one word: Sustainability. There’s a big future in Sustainability.”
– Germaine Caprio, Company Owner & Designer
TO HEAR FROM YOU
How do YOU prevent plastic pollution?
Please share your own thoughts with us – let’s get a conversation started in the comments below! Your comment may even win you a free MAJAMAS garment this week!