It’s Everywhere

June 8

We are going to play a little game I call “Where’s Plastic”?

The photo collage below shows some products that tricked me into thinking they were plastic-free. Nice cardboard cartons, I thought. I’ll order a drink at a bona fide restaurant that uses real place settings, I thought. I will pay twice as much to buy my milk in a glass bottle, I thought. And hey – here are some obviously earth-friendly poop bags (you now know something else about me: I have a dog. She’s an awesome dog. She also poops, and I have to pick it up and throw it in the trash. Bags, my friends. Bags required).

collage

Have you spotted all the single-use plastic that snuck by me? Bottom line: it’s everywhere.

Those doggie bags deserve a more detailed explanation. It took me about ten minutes standing in the store peering at the strange lack of detail on the clearly environmentally-friendly packaging before I thought to whip out my phone and directly access the Internet. Upon which I found that the packaging is recycled cardboard, but – guess what? – the bags themselves are actually plastic. That’s an interesting twist: plastic-free packaging for a product that is the definition of single-use plastic.

Apparently the company does have a line of poop bags made of plant-based plastic, but they don’t sell them in my store.

Although I applaud the company’s effort to reduce its environmental footprint, I thought this particular product was somewhat deceptive. So remember: just because it’s exuding an eco-friendly aesthetic doesn’t mean it’s not plastic.

And here’s my final cautionary tale (no photo of this one, sorry). Today I visited my local ice cream shop, because ice cream cones are the perfect way to fight packaging: just eat it! Once in there, though, my overheated brain demanded a “sorbet freeze” instead. It is served in a paper cup, and I figured I could skip the straw. Imagine my horror, then, when the server scooped the sorbet into a disposable plastic cup, dumped it from there into a paper cup, and tossed the plastic cup into the trash. Gratuitous plastic abuse! As she was grabbing a plastic lid, I cried, “No, no, thank you, I don’t need a lid. No lid!” For all I know, she threw that out as well. Making me once again, in spite of my best intentions, accessory to plastic-trashing.

And I am developing the sneaking suspicion that there is stealth plastic all around me…

…Hey, what is this shiny coating on this paper cup?

 

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