Prior to the recent US presidential election I participated in one of those on-line polls (something I usually avoid as being silly and time-consuming). After asking a series of questions regarding values/policies on a wide range of issues, this poll matches you to the political party (and leader) with which you have the most in common. Here are my results. I was/am firmly “Green.” Though at one level this was unsurprising, it disturbed me to realize that: a) I was not even sure that there was a national Green Party running in this election; b) I had never heard of the party leader, Jill Stein, whose policies and values were virtually identical to my own.
Though I am not sure if this belated recognition of my clandestine green identity prompted this, but in the Fall of 2012 I decided to put my greenness to work, by adopting a more eco-friendly lifestyle. This can, of course, include a lot of things, but I decided to focus on ridding my everyday life of plastic — at least to the extent that such is possible. I was inspired in this regard by Beth Terry’s blog My Plastic-Free Life (and recent book, Plastic Free), which gives very useful tips on how to purge your life of the “evil” that is plastic.
Now, before I get into the problems with plastic, let me say that ridding your life of all plastic in 21st century America is a daunting task indeed, a new asceticism that, given the way that this pernicious substance has filtered into almost every thing we do, is at least as difficult as that of traditional cenobites, whether Buddhist or Christian. In order to tackle this problem, I decided to begin with the following two strategies, one immediate — eliminate plastic connected to food preparation and storage; and one gradual — replace or eliminate plastic items used in chronological order throughout the day.
The first tactic required a thorough overhaul of one whole section of our kitchen cabinets. My first task was to replace all the plastic containers used for refrigerator food storage. To this end, I paid a visit to a Canada-based website that is indispensable for anyone who has taken on the bodhisattva vow to rid the world of plastic: Life Without Plastic. I promptly ordered a small (4.5″ diameter) square glass container with an airtight stainless steel lid rimmed with silicone. While not inexpensive ($19), this proved to be exactly what I was looking for (and LWP’s shipping is not only prompt but largely plastic-free). I soon ordered an entire set of such containers, of various shapes and sizes.