Answering Beth Terry’s questions

I was glad to have new visitors today, including Beth Terry (Fake Plastic Fish) who asked some getting-to-know you questions.

  1. What was it that first inspired you to eliminate plastic from your life? Was it a particular issue? News article? Experience? And when was this?
  2. Besides the obvious ones like carrying your own grocery bags or giving up bottled water, what has been the easiest change to make? (And if those first two weren’t easy, I’m sorry to assume!)
  3. What has been your biggest challenge so far?
  4. What one thing would you say to encourage others to lessen their plastic consumption?
  5. 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.

Here’s what I sent her.

  1. I’ve chosen to greatly reduce my plastic use because I’m trying to scale back by consumption overall, as a matter of religious principle. Plastic has huge inputs, is hard to reuse or properly dispose of, and is ubiquitous. Controlling plastic use not only saves resources, but it is a shorthand way to save other resources besides. (I might try and reduce oil consumption instead, but I don’t own a car.)
  2. Giving up small “speculative” electronics has been the easiest, including deciding not to buy a new computer. I’m also a Linux advocate, in part, because it helps me make best use of what I already own.
  3. That’s easy: packaged tofu and yogurt. And cheap meals out. More beans, fruit and planning for lunch out with my husband and office mates, who have been supportive.
  4. Be plain about your intentions and ask friends and family for suggestions to reduce plastic use, rather than making a stand . . . and standing alone. You’re more likely to convince others of plastic reduction — which helps more — and is good for overcoming the “sucker feeling” that your choices are nothing more than an eccentricity.
  5. I live and work in the Dupont Circle neighborhood of Washington, D.C.: the land of bottled water. I think the economic downturn might provide an opening for tap water — particularly if Sigg bottles can make it a bit more chic, like durable bags are becoming — if there was more confidence in D.C. water quality. Nationally, I also care about biodegradable packaging for electronics.

I welcome your questions and will do my best to answer them..

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