Folks, this is about my "consumption" of plastic over the next year. I'm looking at what I have, what I buy, and why I seem to need this hundred and fifty year old man-made concoction more than my mother's fried chicken.
Saturday, September 6, 2008
Week 1: Medicine & Mascara
A friend at work suggested I come clean about something. And I agree. To be sure, I am a "reductionist" (if I may pilfer this word for a new definition) in that I already avoid buying plastic when I can. I am not one of those who feels "good" when I toss something into the recycling bin because the garbage mentality is still the same: out of sight, out of mind. It doesn't keep me from thinking about my consumption. It only helps ease the blow of throwing stuff out & most of us really don't know for sure if our recycling is just being mixed with the trash in the end. It happens--don't kid yourself. So, just keep in mind that this collection is coming from a person who is already a little plastiphobic.
All that said, I'm still a little shocked by my plastic collection over the past 7 days (see photo). I was trying to multiply the pile by 52 and I started sweating a little. (What the bleep am I doing?) It appears that most of my plastic consumption this week came from my food choices and only one item (sunglasses) was not packaging of some sort (see photo).
This week got me to thinking...about medicine & mascara. With my grandfather in the hospital in his last days and all the other people who have been to hospitals, what kind of experience would it be without plastic? I think about the time I was rushed to the hospital in the Marshall Islands due to severe dehydration, and I can't help but wonder what kind of life I would be living if the needle for my IV didn't come out of one of those super sanitary plastic packs. I mean, plastic has done wonders for safety in the medical field, right?
And then there's mascara. On my Jetblue flight from Austin to Boston, I forgot to fill up my trusty water bottle between security and the gate. A 4 hour flight with no water? I succumbed to the 6 oz. water bottle they offered (from an imaginary source known as Tap Springs) as I couldn't see myself sneaking off to the bathroom to drink from the tiny pump sink. I waved off the cute little bags of snacks & cookies. It's just so hard to say "no thanks" when they shove it gently in your face. And then, just when I thought the temptation was over, a sweet flight attendant smiled and handed me a complimentary plastic package holding a pink plastic tube of...mascara. That's right--the dude handed me make-up. Does anyone know what that's all about?
I'll end with one last story. Today I went to a popular coffee shop, ordered an apple bran muffin & a coffee with no lid (I had forgotten my mug). The happy barista frowned apologetically and informed me that he was required to put a lid on the cup to protect both of us from burning ourselves. He chirped a quick joke: "This is (coffee shop name), not Hooters--we don't go topless here!" (When did Hooters go topless?) I laughed & sighed "OhhKaay" and then he put the coffee on the bar, faked like he was going to put the lid on, winked at me, and threw the lid in the garbage with an "oops!" (Sigh.) I thought about asking him to fish it out for me, but I wanted to be able to show my face in there again, so I shrugged and walked out--topless and all.