IN THE NEWS

Earlier this year I read on the intra web that a whale had been found dead in the Philippines with 88 pounds of plastic in its belly.

The story stayed with me, playing over and over in my mind. How horrible, I thought. I knew our oceans were polluted with too much plastic, I understood the general concept but its gravity hadn’t yet penetrated my consciousness.

The image of a beautiful whale dead on a beach with plastic in its stomach impacted me to my core. The global situation wasn’t just a question of bringing reusable bags at the grocery store anymore.

Then this other story hit the news: sea salt was found to be contaminated with micro beads of plastic. Sea salt is what I tell my clients to use instead of table salt. Just how much damage had us, humans, done to our oceans?

FEELING HELPLESS? NO MORE!

Forget feeling outraged and wondering which country would step up to find solutions – though I did feel outraged and wondered which country would step up. I knew any kind of change should start with me. Just me. Just little me living in Greenwood, SC.

My first step was to realize how much plastic I was using. Talk about an eye opening experience!

Trash bags, ziplock bags, plastic wrap.

Food packaging. Grocery bags. All those Starbucks cups!

Single use plastic utensils. Plastic packaging for personal cosmetic products, toothbrushes, dental floss, toothpaste.

Plastic containers to store food.

Our modern lives can’t escape plastic usage. It’s omnipresent.

WHERE TO START?

Every week I shop at Publix. Though I do my best to always bring my own bags, sometimes I forget. And I usually realize I forgot them when I’m at the cash register. If I have one or two items only, I asked for NO bag and I carry my items out of the store.

Did you know Publix offers PAPER bags? If you forget your reusable bags, ask for paper bags. They are made out of recycled paper and they will degrade in a matter of weeks at the landfill, instead of in never.

When I lived in Ontario, Canada, the grocery chain I worked for offered clients to buy a plastic bin to carry their purchases. I remembered I still had them! So I dusted them off and brought them to Walmart (though WM is not my favorite store, they do offer great fat options like avocado oil, and that’s where I buy Bella’s raw ground beef).

Even if I did attract a few curious glances, it was worth it just to haul my groceries out without one single bag.

That’s just one way to avoid plastic. Stay tuned for my next post, where I’ll share many other ways I’ve found to reduce my personal plastic consumption.