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Monday, May 10, 2010

Plastic is bad, Waste is worse

Hello, Dear Readers! :)

I've been TerraCycling for our school since November (see earlier post for more info. about that) and it has been a real journey, to say the least.  I started out wanting to do good for the planet and I feel like I am in a small way, but it has also made me think about so many issues that are bigger than chip bags and juice pouches.  Like how huge the plastic problem has become and how we don't even think of it as a problem in the U.S.  It doesn't make the nightly news, even though there are huge gyres of plastic filling up our oceans....the very oceans we depend on for survival.  And like how much we waste in this country.  If you ever want a lesson in waste, take a look at what is thrown away at a typical Elementary School lunch.  This leads me to so many other thoughts.  Do parents realize how much money is being thrown away, even if they aren't at all concerned about the environment?

I haven't posted for a while because all of these thoughts are swirling around me like a gyre.  I'm trying to figure out what I'm supposed to do with them.  When I do, I'll post more, but if you have some of your own that you'd like to discuss here, please let me know.

Have a great week!


  1. Hi, Kate,
    I haven't posted too much lately either -- as I am also trying to figure out what I want to say. Plastics has become a major issue in my life, from my kitchen cupboards to the entire planet. I refuse to be discouraged despite the massive amount of negativity that I get inundated with through twitter and news feeds and just walking along the streets of my town. I am in grad. school to be a middle school language arts/social studies teacher and I know I can and will make a difference. It is a crazy world. I am just keepin' on keepin' on, I guess. And talking about it! And learning. And becoming more conscious. I think it's called enlightenment? Yay! Thanks for telling Dan what you think (he's one of my "projects").

  2. Unfortunately, some parents throw money away in the name of convenience. I think we'll be able to get better at this as the kids get older but I'm not about to put both kids in cloth diapers. Yogurt is easier to feed from a plastic tube than a plastic tub if you also need to feed another little mouth at the same time. Schools probably buy into the same mis-guided story.

    It doesn't take a village anymore, as long as you've got plastic on your side. Sad.

  3. It's not just's styrafoam, waxed paper items, you name it....but I did find out today, our Recycling place does take any aluminum foil products (Sr. Mary Joseph took those items since she can get money for them). In the meantime I have been saving all of the items that our recycling center doesn't take and I have two huge bags full. I just can't seem to throw them into the trash anymore. I'm hoping that Kate will be able to take them to her Whole Foods or somewhere where they can be recycled. I will go back to using regular soap once my last plastic container of Dove liquid soap is gone, since they are wrapped in paper and probably last longer too. I use only glass containers anymore for leftovers. I don't buy bottled water anymore. We compost all of our foods, etc. that can go into the compost. Every little bit does help. I'm very aware of what I buy and what it is wrapped in. I'm waiting for my reuseable produce bags so I don't have to put my produce in plastic bags anymore. I even brought my Chik fil-a salad container home after eating in the restaurant.
    I don't think any of my friends care about the environment.....they have too much money and could care less about the future of our children. But I talk about it as much as I can...maybe it will spark something one day.

  4. Thanks, Dave!
    I actually thought of a lot of other good arguments for Dan (of course, this was after my post...par for the course with me)!
    I think education is the key....I'm so psyched to hear you are becoming a teacher! I was a middle school math teacher for 1 year before I had my sons and am hoping to get back in the classroom one day. Thinking about adding environmental science to my repertoire since it's a real passion for me. I wish you all the best in that endeavor!
    I just started following you on Twitter as I enjoy hearing what you have to say!
    :) Kate

  5. @sikbrik....I think that's exactly what we've been taught to believe, but you'd be amazed how easy cloth diapering is! I'm not just blowing smoke here, as I've done both...I actually preferred cloth in the end. But with 2 tots in daycare, I can see your side as well....I'm not sure the daycares are equipped for cloth diapering at the moment.
    I guess it's the TerraCycling side of me that looks at Capri Sun juice pouches every day and can't believe how little liquid is actually in a pouch...ounce for ounce, I'd have to say there's more plastic there than there is juice...(or should I say the cheapskate part of me)...who can't buy into the so-called convenience factor anymore. Is it really so much easier to schlep those boxes around and chill them than it is to fill a thermos with free water? Never mind the fact that we are turning our kids into little sweet-drink addicts from such a young age. For me, it's another thing we are sold. We're sold on convenience, but if we look at how much we're saving on time vs. what is happening to the planet, is it really that convenient? You're the marketing guru, so you know all about the sales pitches....Don't you think that a lot of what we've been told is easier is really just a sales line? Somebody still has to squeeze the it really that much easier than holding a spoon? Not judging, since I've bought the tubes in the past as well, just pondering...

  6. Mom,
    You are such a blessing! Reading your post makes me smile ear to ear! I am cheering and doing the happy dance here for having you as my Mom!!!
    It is the rare person of your age who takes such an activist stance and becomes a personal crusader for their beliefs, who learns knew things and takes action and who keeps the faith that every little bit helps. You are truly an inspiration and I'm thankful every day to have you in my life!
    And I have some aluminum to trade for your plastic if Sr. Mary Joseph wants more! :)


    Another sad example of a needless disposable product....sometimes new products really miss the boat!