Saturday, September 26, 2009

Two Year Anniversary of Life Less Plastic!

It's been two years since I started writing this blog and trying to reduce the amount of plastic I use. It's been a crazy ride, filled with lots of ups and downs, including but not limited too...

The Ups
  • Successfully figuring out how to use less plastic.
  • Educating myself about plastic, waste, and other environmental issues that I never thought about before.
  • Experiencing endless support from family, friends, co-workers, and readers.
  • Watching the readership and comments on my blog grow and grow. It's been great to know that people are interested in what I'm doing.
  • Being featured in Time Magazine, Mother Jones Magazine, The Dallas Morning News, Positively Green Magazine, and on NPR, the BBC website, and Forecast Earth, the Weather Channel’s environmental website (click the links for the stories).
The Downs
  • Trying to figure out how to reduce the plastic I use. The first few months were really tough because I had to completely rethink everything I buy.
  • Using plastic, even though I write this blog. I hate it, but it happens on occasion and I usually feel like I'm deceiving people. It's just hard not to give into my weaknesses for coffee and fancy cheeses.
  • Being scared that people will think I'm a freak. Not conforming is hard, even if it's with something like not using plastic. For a long time a didn't even have the guts to tell my co-workers about what I'm doing.
Through all of these ups and downs, there have been many people who have supported me, which I have appreciated immensely.

The Thanks Yous
  • My family - Thanks to my Mom and Dad for always being interested in and supportive of what I'm doing, and thanks to my siblings for providing ideas, commentary, and general well wishes. Thanks also go out to my family for making the effort to create my first plastic-free Christmas and my second one.
  • My friends - Thanks to all of my friends who have put up with my plastic-free-ness. It's always appreciated. Additional thanks to a certain someone who had to put up with me when I was first figuring out what I was doing. I know it was annoying, so thanks for being patient!
  • My co-workers, who are also my friends - Why was I so scared to tell you at first? Thanks so much for all your support and positive feedback (and for not being too mad that I waited to tell you about this project).
  • Life Less Plastic readers - Thank you for all of your interest, as well as for your thoughtful and supportive comments. Some of you have been with me on this ride since the beginning, and I dearly appreciate everything you have contributed.
The Blog Contest
To mark my two year anniversary, I'll be hosting another blog contest in the near future. Check back soon for the details.

And thanks again to everyone!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Plastic-Free Cookies

It's a distant memory now, but long, long ago, I made my first attempt to avoid plastic at the grocery store.

It was an endeavor that changed my life and empowered me to do something different. To take a stand and to show the world (or a least anyone who happened to land on my blog) that creating so much garbage, plastic or otherwise, is not necessary. It's possible to live a good and happy life without sending 4.5 pounds of trash to the landfill each day.

I'm happy that I started my less-plastic experiment that day, but after almost two years of blogging about it, that must be obvious.

But now I feel I must also admit something. That day was also the start of a horrible reality. That's right. It was the start of life without cookies.

No Oreos. No Nilla Wafers. No Big & Soft Chocolate Chunk Chips Ahoy.

Life would be cookie-less, or at least I thought it would be until, soon after my experiment began, I stepped into my local bakery and discovered a precious secret—local bakeries make delicious cookies that can be acquired with little or no packaging.

That's right. A shop that might just be right near your house can provide you with delicious cookies that are better for the environment and help nurture the local economy. Who ever thought cookies could be so good?

The moral of the story: The next time you consider buying a box of Keebler Fudge Shoppe Mini Fudge Stripes cookies, put them down and pay your local baker a visit. You won't regret it (unless you eat too many cookies, which, actually, you might regret, but I can't help you with that).

p.s. You can also make your own cookies. Those are good, too.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

One Year of Plastic

A Life Less Plastic reader recently emailed to tell me about a project he undertook—to save an entire year of his family's plastic usage.

This is what it looked like:

Scott, the plastic-saver, explains his endeavor.

"I heard all the talk about plastics being bad for your health and the environment but wanted to know what my family (single parent, twin daughters) was using. So the best way to do that was gather the facts, save the plastic, and see."

His result was a decent-sized, although probably much smaller than average, hill of plastic. He laments, "I'm fairly conservative with waste and I still got this big pile."

"I have [enough] plastic forks, spoons, knives, and straws to last a long time."

Quite enlightening. Thanks, Scott, for sharing photos and info on your project.