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Climate Connections: Plastic free? Possible?

Shirley Freriks
Guest Columnist

Probably not completely. We need a lot of things made of plastic. But there are lots we do not need that are polluting our beloved rivers and trails, and oceans around the world, and worst of all, going to landfill where they give off methane which becomes greenhouse gases that contribute to global warming.

We are seeing the impact of the warming trends all over, especially here. We know that leads to drought and possibly fire. Get the picture?

What we really want to free our lives from is single-use plastic: snack bags, grocery bags, takeout containers, and cups, among a myriad of other things.

Think of this: We buy an item like chips or yogurt. We only want what is inside, but we pay for the container which we throw away. Does this make sense? First, just say no to plastic if at all possible. Think before you buy. Can it be bought in bulk? Is there a recycled paper container package available? Is it available non-plastic?

Are we stuck with dish soap and cleaning supplies in plastic containers? No more! Refill the bottles from Gaia Soap Supply on Argail Way, Nevada City. Laundry detergent in big plastic containers? Refill them at Gaia or look at TruEarth dehydrated laundry detergent leaves that come in a slim paper packet. https://www.tru.earth. Package Free https://packagefreeshop.com/ is all out for zero waste. It has many items in many household categories plus body products, and even non-plastic toys for your pet, including pet pickup bags.

Trash has value because those resources can be reused and reprocessed without taking more finite resources out of the ground. This is why we recycle No. 1and No. 2 plastic containers to Waste Management. They can reliably sell those materials, provided they are relatively clean and not food contaminated, to be made into new post-consumer uses. They accept Nos. 3-7 and look for a market so they can cover their costs.

A more predictable way to keep these items out of landfill and processed into post-consumer material containers is TerraCycle. Buy a recovery box which is shipped. Fill it up with all numbers of rigid plastic material and return it to their factory, shipping included. Average small household usage monthly cost is about $30, which is worth it to keep it from polluting our air and waters. https://zerowasteboxes.terracycle.com/products/plastic-packaging-zero-waste-boxes

Be part of the Plastic Free July EcoChallenge with daily tips for things you can do that will change your habits over time https://www.plasticfreejuly.org/get-involved/what-you-can-do/

BriarPatch is participating in this Plastic Free July challenge. They have a lot of plastic alternative products and paper berry boxes. Bravo, BriarPatch!

Vow not to take another plastic cup! If you get to the counter and realize you forgot your own container, walk away without that cappuccino you were craving. You’ll remember it next time. Or ask for a ceramic cup. Change takes time. Make it a family game to find alternatives as well as ways to reuse and re-purpose the plastic you cannot avoid.

Saying no to plastic is like taking that pill every day. The accumulation over time will make you feel better. Saying no to plastic together will grow our collective county impact, and our world will become a cleaner, healthier place. Thanks for being an eco champion for a single-use plastic-free world!

Shirley Freriks lives in Grass Valley and is affiliated with Elders Climate Action, Nevada County Climate Action Now https://www.ncclimateactionnow.org/recycle, and WasteNOT Recycling Team https://www.facebook.com/groups/wastenotnevadacounty


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