Going Green | First plastic item of month collected

Published 9:02 pm Wednesday, February 15, 2017

February has begun, and so has my avid avoidance of plastic. In a recent column, I challenged myself to see how much unnecessary plastic I end up using during the course of one month, and to try my best not use any one-time-use plastics.

Anytime I use a piece of plastic this month, I will hold onto it. By the end of the month, I’ll be able to really see the impact I can have on the environment in just 28 days.

Armed with my handy notebook, I am also keeping a running tally of how many pieces of plastic I’m able to successfully avoid. So far, there have not been many days in February and I have had one success and one instance where I rate myself “needs improvement.”

Email newsletter signup

Here’s my success: I went out to eat one day, and I made sure I was going to a restaurant that didn’t use disposable cups because I didn’t have a reusable one with me. Then, once I was at the restaurant, I used a metal straw instead of the plastic one I was offered. So I successfully avoided putting one straw into a landfill, which I feel very good about.

Here’s my “needs Improvement” experience: I really wanted coffee last week and I went to a fast food place for an iced coffee. While in line, I decided that I didn’t need an iced coffee because it comes in a big plastic cup. So I got a hot coffee instead. I thought that would be okay, but I forgot that there is a one-time-use plastic lid on my cup of coffee. That lid became the first item in my February stash of one-time-use plastics. As I write this column, it’s still the only item in there, which I feel pretty good about, even though it’s only a few days into the month.

And there is a silver lining: The lid is a recyclable No. 1, so when this study is over, I can put it in my recycling bin and it will get turned into something else.

I anticipate that my biggest challenge this month will be plastic bags, so I’m already on the defense against them. I will keep you updated on my progress.