Plastics: Just avoid them

Information from the NOAA Marine Debris Program

Day 11 – It seems like an easy task, but there is nothing easy about avoiding plastic. It is everywhere and I just don’t mean in the packaging and products we buy. Plastic is in the food we eat, the water we drink and the air we breathe. Microplastics are very tiny pieces of plastic, not even visible to the naked eye, that are permeating every corner of this planet. It just doesn’t seem to be an overwhelming problem, it is a gargantuan problem.

When I set out to find another option for my recyclables, instead of using the city’s program, I reached out to a few groups and organizations. One person I contacted was my alderman. His office got back to me with a lengthy email. It was very informative, but it agreed that the city’s program was not good and had countless issues. I was directed to various articles that stated this fact and opened my eyes a little wider to the problems plaguing Chicago’s recycling program. This was all very disheartening, but I was encouraged to attend a Green Council meeting to find out how the ward was addressing the issue.

The 47th Ward Green Council is convened by 47th Ward Alderman Matt Martin and led by ward residents to direct environmental policy and organize local initiatives that promote environmental education and stewardship. – As posted on their Facebook Page

So, on December 3rd I attended the meeting. I signed up to be in the breakout room discussing waste. I ended up sharing my frustration with the city’s recycling program. One woman simply told me that I needed to avoid bringing single-use plastics into my home. “Just avoid them”, three simple words that seem almost impossible to comprehend. However, I heard what she was saying and I soon got busy on how I could start separating my life from plastic.

Throughout this year I will be sharing how my family is removing single-use plastic from our lives. It’s not going to happen overnight, but it’s a challenge we are ready to take on.

If you would like more information on the 47th Ward Green Council, be sure to sign-up for their monthly newsletter. I also encourage you to see what your ward, town, village or neighborhood is doing to be more environmentally friendly.

Tomorrow’s topic will be trash bags. The problem of adding more trash to your trash.

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