Q: What was it that first inspired you to eliminate plastic from your life? Was it a particular issue? News article? ? And when was this?
A: In late 2006 I joined The Compact, a group dedicated to not making new purchases for a calendar year. During that year I started following environmental blogs and quickly became fascinated with EnviroWoman's Living Plastic Free. Not buying anything new was pretty radical for me at the time, but no PLASTIC? Now that was radical! I quickly discovered just how easy it is to avoid buying new crap--- which in and of itself wipes out a lot of plastic. Could more changes be just as easy? EnviroWoman's blog led me to Fake Plastic Fish and Life Less Plastic, two of my favorite plastic reduction blogs.
Like a lot of people, the article "Plastic Ocean" had a huge effect on me, and I point people to it whenever they ask 'what do you have against plastic?'.
Q: What have been the 1-3 easiest changes to make?
A: Easiest: taking cloth bags for groceries, going bagless for large produce items, slipping small purchases into my work bag, avoiding new purchases, carrying a reusable coffee mug and metal water bottle.
Q: What has been your biggest challenge so far?
A: My biggest stumbling block has been produce bags for bulk items (dry beans, rice, oatmeal etc.) and loose produce (green beans, floppy lettuce...). I know how to sew, so the idea was to make them from fabric on hand instead of buying them new while I was officially part of The Compact-- it never happened. Since then, I've just been dragging my feet and saying "d'oh!" every time I get to the supermarket and forget to bring from last time. Silly, right? There is a purchase from EcoBags in my future!
Q: What one thing would you say to encourage others to lessen their plastic consumption?
A: It is a lot easier than you think! A few simple changes will make your life easier, more aesthetically pleasing (glass containers look SO much nicer than plastic...), healthier (plastic avoidance means less processed food and no more worrying about leaching chemicals), and will make you feel good.
Q: What plastic-related issues are most prevalent in the area where you live? Are you working on plastic bag bans? Bottled water campaigns? Finding plastic-free products in your area? I'd like to get a sense of the regional challenges that plastic activists face.