Our plastic planet worries me

One of the great things about reusable shopping bags made of recycled plastics is that they have made me realize how many other plastic bags we use that we don’t recycle.

One of the great things about reusable shopping bags made of recycled plastics is that they have made me realize how many other plastic bags we use that we don’t recycle.

Every time I put my hip, colourful environmentally friendly bag on the counter at the check-out, I watch it being filled with carrots in a plastic bag, milk products in plastic containers, cucumbers individually wrapped in plastic, potatoes in plastic bags, meat wrapped in plastic on Styrofoam trays and frozen veggies in plastic bags.

The lemons and the pre-cut and pre-washed salads are in plastic bags. The kitty litter is in a plastic bag and the cat and dog food are in some kind of brown paper bags strengthened with an internal plastic coating.

Plastic encases the frozen turkey and the schnitzels. The toilet paper, even the really “green” stuff is in a plastic bag. Oddly the plastic food wraps are in cardboard boxes.

The flat of canned beans is also wrapped in plastic, as is the deck of blank CDs.

The new plastic shelving for the home office also has a plastic wrapper and so do the triple packs of underwear and socks.

I know I can take my regular shopping plastic bags back to the store and put them in a recycle bin — but what do I do with all this other plastic wrap? I put it in the garbage where I guess it goes into the landfill. What do you do?

I am thus very impressed with the program my son’s teacher runs called Wasteless Wednesday, where we are to pack a lunch that uses easily degradable wrappings like wax paper.

I’m surprised at how easy it is to reach for all the pre-packaged snacks and plastic sandwich bags, instead of the washable, reusable containers. Or the real thing — like instead of fruit leather in a plastic baggie, just a piece of fruit.

Can we have Wasteless Wednesday every day? For the grown ups?

Can we think about how to change our economy, buying and shipping practices so that plastic is not the element that stands between us and consumption? Or, what to do with these endless mountains of plastic that don’t have a proper recycling home?

I remember how school lunches used to consist of a reusable brown paper bag — and woe betide you if you didn’t make that one bag last for a week or two. Snacks were wrapped in wax paper and my mom used and re-used and re-re-used the leftover plastic bread bags from the old Silver Bakery for our sandwiches. (I’m sure the health department would not allow it today! But we never died from it.) Oddly enough, I just found a few of those bags the other day while sorting through her things.

Reuse. Recycle. Rethink the real cost of convenience.

Michelle Stirling-Anosh is a Ponoka freelance columnist.

Just Posted

Cruel and sadistic: Central Alberta dog rescuers believe there are dog fighting rings in province

With the increased number of stolen dogs, some central Alberta rescuers are… Continue reading

UPDATED: “I want to be your premier again”: Rachel Notley

Premier Rachel Notley makes announcement on Tuesday morning

Mixed Nuts revue presented Saturday to kick off first Carole Forhan Theatrical Scholarship

Broadway songs, comedy skits are part of the Red Deer Players production

Skunks smells are in the air in Red Deer

Medicine River Wildlife Centre receiving calls

Camper found in good health at Pinto Lake

Rocky Mountain House Search and Rescue respond

Photos: Three moose spotted in Red Deer Tuesday

Three moose were spotted in Red Deer Tuesday morning. Red Deer resident… Continue reading

Andreescu rockets to No. 24 in WTA Tour rankings after Indian Wells title

Canada’s Bianca Andreescu has rocketed to No. 24 in the WTA Tour… Continue reading

Canadian figure skaters looking to reach new heights at world championships

Nam Nguyen, Alaine Chartrand and Kirsten Moore-Towers and Michael Marinaro all have… Continue reading

Man linked to largest art heist in history freed from prison

HARTFORD, Conn. — A reputed Connecticut mobster who federal authorities believe is… Continue reading

Florida Georgia Line, Glorious Sons headline concert series at Canadian Open

HAMILTON — Florida Georgia Line and the Glorious Sons will headline a… Continue reading

Family: Time to shed winter clothes and inhibitions

It has been a long, crazy cold winter. But, if the thermometer… Continue reading

Chelsea Carey rink registers two wins at world women’s curling event

SILKEBORG, Denmark — Canada’s Chelsea Carey rebounded nicely Sunday at the world… Continue reading

Canadian Bianca Andreescu has her first WTA title, winning BNP Paribas Open

INDIAN WELLS, Calif. — Canadian Bianca Andreescu has her first WTA title.… Continue reading

Most Read