I became aware of the great “Pacific Garbage Patch” after I learned about the Plastiki Project. Thanks to the Plastiki boat and its crew who already sailed more than 4,000 miles across the Pacific Ocean to raise awareness about marine debris and other environmental issues.
My background is in the energy sector and I’m not an expert on environmental issues other than what’s related to power generation. I do recycle as much as I can. However, I admit I have no idea what’s going on in the recycling process, where our materials are coming from or what type of materials we should be using. By reading some statistics, I learned that more than 90 percent of plastics are not recycled.
This made me aware of what we are doing to our ecosystems without even being able to clean up. I became annoyed and upset when I went to the grocery store and realized that I can no longer live in a world without consuming plastics. Plastic materials are not only a major packaging item in our food chain, but we are forced to buy most of our daily needs in plastic packages. Perhaps we are saving energy and money by using plastics, especially in packaging. However, maybe there is a way to reduce plastic consumption to a minimum level.
I haven’t used plastic bags for a long time. Instead, I bring my own reusable bag for grocery shopping. I stopped buying plastic bottles after I watched the animated film, “Story of Bottled Water,” which alerted me to the environmental danger caused by plastics. However, I realized that I still keep consuming plastics. Therefore I set up a challenge for myself:
I will not consume plastics for the following 30 days!
By saying that, I vow to reduce the amount of plastic that I use — down to zero, if possible — and reuse the plastics that I already possess. I have a feeling that I would fail soon when I buy frozen meat from the store or when I need to buy a new shampoo next week.
I’m not setting up this challenge to prove anything, but to see to what extent I can reduce my plastic consumption without changing my lifestyle. I also see this challenge as a great learning opportunity about plastics and recycling processes while reading, doing research and sharing. I would be happy to see more people getting involved in this challenge and to share their experiences. I know this has been done hundreds of times by other people and I believe the more we re-do it, the more the earth gets a break.
I’ll try to give updates about my progress in this blog each week. I will also share my experiences through my Twitter profile. Here we go: The first day of not consuming plastics!
photo: Leo Reynolds