Those pesky plastic bags & the matter of recycling…

March 1, 2012

Hello!  Today it has been snowing since morning and I’ve got to say it’s pretty.  I am cozied up inside, alternating between getting things done around the house and various online retreats like pinning.  If you want to follow me on Pinterest go to it:) Outside my window it looks like this:

While I was picking up around the house and organizing our recycling I gave myself some heck for having to use the grocery store plastic bags, again, because I forgot to bring in at least one of my 500 reusable bags {exaggeration}. In my head I heard Faye Dunaway as Joan Crawford yelling “No more plastic bags, everrrrr!!!” which made me laugh and then gave me the chills because she was so creepy in that film.

Recently I read that the very thin plastic bags we get at convenience stores, groceries, etc, actually jam up the recycling machinery. Like most of us I reuse those plastic bags {made of HDPE high-density polyethylene or PP polypropylene} as much as I can until the bottom falls out, literally.  {Isn’t that so annoying, by the way?} They’re great for lunches, holding dirty running sneakers, and lining bathroom waste baskets but as we know they aren’t so great in the long run.  They contribute to a huge litter problem, including the notorious floating plastic island out at sea, and street gutters everywhere.  They will not be breaking down in our lifetime and I don’t like the thought of that.  I read this article online that basically defends the use of plastic bags, to a point, referencing studies that have been done on the cost/benefits {both in dollars and environmental impact} of plastics vs paper and/or reusable bags.  It’s an interesting read.  Here is tidbit:

Honestly, plastic overall is one of those necessary evils…it’s been an important part of the medical field and most of our electronic devices and packaging are comprised of it…you get the idea.  I feel like limiting it as much as I can in my own life so while my reusable bags aren’t perfect either, they aren’t floating around en masse choking marine animals.  Recycling is the answer my friends!  I take recycling pretty seriously; it makes me feel good to get rid of things responsibly and to know that a landfill will be a little less full.  Companies that use recycled material to make new things {like Hilex Poly, who is mentioned in the above article} can limit the amount of raw materials they would otherwise need to take {not a limitless supply as we know}.  Every state has some measure of a recycling system in place.  It’s a good idea to check out what they will accept for recyclables because so much garbage ends up mixed in with acceptable material and in the end the cities and towns pay a fine based on the percentage of how much matter is actually garbage.  In Maine we have this site that gives detailed information on what we can recycle so it clears up any confusion. Just something to think about! In the end whatever we feel we can do to lower our negative impact on this earth is doing good and so whatever it is that you do, keep it up and so will I!

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