Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Too much plastic!

I had such a horrendous nightmare last night. First my head was stuck in a plastic bag and with each breath I would suck it further and further down my throat. Then my hands were covered with plastic and wrapped up tightly so I couldn't use them to pull the bag off my head. I struggled so hard to break free.....I finally woke up!

For me it was only a nightmare. For the animals on our planet and in our oceans and waterways? It is a living nightmare.

I have always been a firm believer that my dreams are a source of inspiration for me. And many times the message is one that I need to really pay attention to. You know, suffocating has a way of making you pay attention, right?

So, I am blogging about this issue, I've posted about it on my Facebook, I'll post about it on All About Beads....wherever I think I can get anyone to pay attention.

When I couldn't fall back to sleep easily, I spent the time thinking of ways that I can reduce the amount of plastic I use in my everyday life. Now mind you, I run a beadstore.....plastic is in abundance...sadly. All the seedbeads and packaged in plastic tubes, the little doodads and sparklies people pick out one by one get stuffed into plastic ziploc baggies for the trip home where they are most likely moved from there to a plastic storage box of some sort. Ugh!
Is everyone taking the time to recycle all those ziplocs?

If you're going to go home and sort your beads out anyway, why does every single style you just bought at the store need to be sorted into individual bags for you? Enjoy the sorting process...you're a beader because that type of activity feels good. The tiny little bits of glass being put into their own special place, whether with needle and thread or with your fingers when you place them into their own compartment in a case.

From now on we will encourage our customers to let us put as much as we can into as few ziplocs as we can.

You know that jumbo soda you got from the drive-thru? Why not take the cup home, wash it out and put it right back in the car. When you order your next soda, tell them you brought your own cup! These cups can be used many, many times over.

If you shop at a grocery that still uses plastic bags, encourage them to switch to the soy based bags. NEVER opt for plastic when asked. Or, if you will be using it, return to the store with them! They can be used again, too!

I have several of the reusable bags I've purchased from Trader Joe's, Whole Foods, Safeway, wherever I've shopped...and up until today I also spaced out and left them home. I vow from today forward to put my groceries away and immediately take the bags back out to the car....along with my plastic drink cup!

What other ways can we reuse this stuff? Cut back on how much of it we use?
I know there are a million and one causes out there. But this one doesn't have to cost you a single penny (altho there are many places you could donate financially to help clean up the mess we've made)! All you have to do to help is to be a little more conscientious. Just a little bit....please?
For more detailed information on this issue, here are some links:
The Planet Archives


Drea said...

Great topic, Beki -- it's been on my mind a lot lately as well. We've been trying to reduce the use of plastic bags in our household (but OMG, they're so pervasive!!)And we generally try to think green.

But the bead packaging thing? Hard to wrap my head around, cause it's so necessary & there dont seem to be many viable alternatives. I posted this subject to the About forum years ago, and was dissapointed by how apathetic most beaders seemed in their replies. However, I think we (collectively speaking)are greener now ... so please do spark discussions and encourage ideas. I'd love to hear them :)


Kiwi Ellen said...

I agree with your thoughts Beki - Joe & I use clothbags for our shopping as well as the ones you get from the major supermarkets. That 'plastic soup' that is floating out in the Pacific is a scary thing & we are responsible - even scarier, isn't it?

flying fish said...

I am blown away by how much plastic we use...even at the health food store where I work. We're always repackaging bulk into ziplock bags and sell loads of those mixed greens in tubs. Packaging, bleh.

AJ said...

Beki, a lot of beadstores that I've been to have a tray with a divided flocked inset, and then the different prices are written inside the insets, so you don't need zippy bags. Of course, then they usually package them in zippy bags at check-out...

But! I have an idea for you! Grocery stores sell reusable plastic bags... what if you sold a reusable box? A plastic multi-section box (like the sort that you can store cards of embroidery floss in, maybe?) with labels for different prices. Your customer brings it in, puts the beads in their individual sections (maybe keeping tally of how many on a paper, that could be recycled, or some sort of write on/wipe off surface that can be re-used?), and then takes the beads home in that box. Next time, they bring it back to the store and do the same thing. Maybe you could even give a small discount for using it, to encourage people to buy it.

I really hate all the zippy bags that I waste and would be totally all for this idea if my LBS implemented it.

Deann said...

I agree also. We use reusable bags and green bags for the vegies. I take my geen bags with me so I don't use theirs and I don't have to rebag into the when I get home. I save my beed tubes & zip bags and return them to the bead store so they can reuse them. Saves them money and gets another use out of them. Every little thing helps

Deann said...

I agree also. We use reusable bags and green bags for the vegies. I take my geen bags with me so I don't use theirs and I don't have to rebag into the when I get home. I save my beed tubes & zip bags and return them to the bead store so they can reuse them. Saves them money and gets another use out of them. Every little thing helps

Jayne said...

The bead stores. I once went in to a store and got a lot of beads on hanks and they did not use zip lock bags. they wrapped my hanks with klennex so they would not get all tangled up and then put in one of the bags that was shipped to them with beads. I thought that was pretty goos reuse is what I always say and do. As far as a bead store. If you must use zip bags. Have the customers bring them back and reuse them.When they do that have an incentive after so many times are have them buy a certain container for the beads like the cloth bags that stores use. My problem is the stores around here all they have is plastic and then I use them as my trash bags. Reused again. I also reuse my cups all the time and also water bottles. I do not normally buy water because I have my own filter system but when I go out of town I do buy water when my water bottels run out. I also reuse them until I can not no more. I fill them with what ever drink I may want or water and put them in the refridge for colder water. I try and use anything I can. I have a bunch of coffee cans in the plastic and I reuse them a lot and also the buckets that ice cream come in. It makes you fell good to use the stuff until it can not no more and then put in recycle bins. Jayne

Anonymous said...

Has anyone invented reusable ziplocks in a fabric that a customer can bring back to the store over and over? Like the bags some grocers give out.

MARILYN said...

Beki, that is a wonderful piece. I wish I had been able to go to the show with you and Shawn ~ I could have stayed in your booth while you walked around with him and directed his shots ~ ha! Your article is on point for sure. I buy the soy-bags whenever I can and use them for my projects instead of plastic boxes...and they are easier to carry too. The point of combining items into larger zip-lock bags is a great idea. Keep up the great work hon. marilyn