• Yellowwood Youth Bloomington, Indiana

Plastic Free July

Updated: Sep 2, 2020

You can listen to this post on our Youtube Channel, here.

Whether its produce bags at the grocery store, chapstick tubes undoubtedly not empty when they are thrown away, or a night out to eat at a restaurant, plastic can be hard to avoid. In quarantine, we are living with more of the waste we produce -and its much more visible to us. We know the basics. Bring your own bag, your own water bottle, your own straw. But what about when someone else is picking up your groceries for you, as is the situation for many Americans using pick-up services? What about a socially distant picnic when you run out of water and don't want to enter someone's house or the public restrooms? These are new questions the Plastic Free Movement is dealing with, and they can be hard to answer. But at home, at least, we have some control.

Time to get creative. I was making a batch of all natural lip-balm from this recipe and I needed a container to put it in. Except, I wasn't going to run to the store for mini glass jars or chapstick tubes. It's not worth the risk to go to the store for my family, so I had to make do with something in the house. I checked old chapstick tubes to see how empty they were. I opened every drawer in my bathroom looking for a container. Eventually, I asked my family if I could use a dish from the kitchen. And that's when I found the answer. One of my family members had two old eye cream containers that were almost empty! They were the right size, had a moisture seal, and were portable! They were perfect.

But they were plastic.

Here's the thing. That plastic jar of night cream was made for one use, one cycle of application. Maybe 60 days worth of use. By filling it up with lip-balm that lasts 2-3 years, I am prolonging the lifespan of that plastic, and every time I rinse it out and fill it with another batch, I prolong its lifespan again. Had I bought a new glass container, not only would the plastic container be thrown away or "recycled" (here's an article on how recyclables end up anywhere but recycled), but energy, resources, and time would have to go into producing the glass jar I used. Eventually, yes, that piece of plastic would be recycled or thrown away, but in prolonging its lifespan, I actually saved resources and energy.

So this Plastic Free July, keep your efforts on reducing your environmental footprint by limiting your purchasing of plastic, not just throwing out all the plastic in your house to buy reusable alternatives. Reuse what you can, where you can, or you'll end up wasting more in the long run.

-Josie Sparks; Founder of Yellowwood Youth-

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