the TAO of CHANGE

a boots-on-the-ground view of the change that's a-foot

Posts Tagged ‘plastic’

The Last Straw

Wednesday, March 11th, 2009

by Tao Oliveto, Carrboro, NC

Sometimes it’s the little things that matter – but sometimes, it’s not. Just like “extra soft” toilet paper, there’s some things that are pure, ridiculous luxury, but still don’t seem to be going anywhere soon in this culture. So, attention and alternatives to the small things matter. Like plastic drinking straws.

They are at most eating establishments. Surprisingly, even my local co-op still has a straw-dispenser with plastic straws. I understand the child issue, but most of those kids, not old enough to drink out of a cup, come equipped with their own baby bottle or sippy thingy, so I can only conclude that there is a whole slew of us who, for some baffling reason, prefer to drink our beverages toddler style – through a straw. Are so many of us grown-ups really stuck in this “oral” stage of development?

I’d find it simply amusing if it wasn’t another single-use, unnecessary, wasteful habit which is creating more disposable, non-biodegradable, non-recyclable, full of chemicals, plastic Stuff. Then it becomes simply annoying.

If you really have to suck on something, there are a lot more interesting things to choose from, and as the drinks go, grow up or BYO (Bring Your Own). Yep, they have ’em now – stainless steel and/or glass, reusable drinking straws. IdealBite turned me on to this, so here’s the link for more info., but if you ask me, any Stuff that is this needless, simply Sucks.

IKEA – NO More Free Bags (REALLY!)

Thursday, November 20th, 2008

by Tao Oliveto, Carrboro, NC

ONE YEAR in to IKEA’s program to reduce bag use at stores by 50%, the results are in – instead of cutting use in half, 92% of customers chose reusable bags over disposable plastic. Last year, IKEA motivated both reluctant and forgetful consumers by both offering a truly affordable reusable bag at checkout (.59) and charging 5 cents for use of traditional plastic bag. All proceeds went to American Forests, to help plant trees to restore forests and reduce CO2 emissions. As of October, 2008, IKEA has upped their call to action – only reusable bags will be available at their stores, eliminating all paper and plastic options.”No More Free Bags (REALLY!)”

Most people agree with the idea, though plastic bags are a long way from disappearing altogether. The disappointed among us are people use retail-produced bags at home for trash and cat litter. The problem? Those plastic bags take up to 1000 years to biodegrade – once again, we reach a crossroads of harsh reality of the conveniences we’ve become accustomed to. Biodegradable trash bags are available – we just have to get used to the higher cost. In my experience, what felt like sticker shock quickly subsided when I realized that with less consumption and more recycling, I’m sending only 1 trash bag to the curb per month. Really.

NY Times recently reported that, “Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg announced this month that he would push for a 6-cent fee on each plastic bag, both to raise as much as $16million/year for the city and to steer New Yorkers toward greener practices.” With effortful ease, times are changing. Be Here Now and we can reap the rewards to come.



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