Showing posts from April, 2019

The List of Single-Use Plastic I Used During Lent

I can sadly report that there were only TWO days I went completely single-use plastic-free during Lent. Even with all the changes I made. Also, I stopped keeping track as of Palm Sunday, so you miss another round of "menstrual necessities", although they were off-set by reusable period panties this time. More on that in a much later post, as I need to go through another cycle with 'em. Wednesday, March 6: cling wrap that was already wrapped around a cut cucumber (but I rewrapped it, so that -- nah, it still counts -- however I used it before Lent started, so yeah, it doesn't count [see Bargaining ]) emptied a Lay's chips bag (jalapeno flavored in case you're wondering) bought last weekend. Plastic. had hot chocolate this afternoon at work -- and as I threw the packet into the trash I realized that it was plastic-lined. OMG. I have a feeling I'll be making turmeric lattes or decaf tea for that afternoon warm drink for the next 40 days.

Acceptance: a stage in keeping a Lenten discipline

Here’s what I have learned about myself: I can’t completely do without single-use plastic.  Working full time I don’t have time to roast a chicken, keeping aside some meat to use later and then make my own chicken broth (which is still going into plastic, but reusable, containers because I broke a glass mason jar in the freezer). I mean, I can do this sometimes but it’s a level of meal planning and prep that I don’t have time for on a regular basis.  And that’s why plastic works: it makes it convenient to prepare meals or to eat quickly (if not always healthily). Also, it is impossible to buy meat or cheese that isn’t encased in plastic for health and safety code reasons (and given a recent Twitter thread about (spoiler alert) finding human body lice in salmon, I am feeling pretty grateful about that). Plus, I am not nearly ready to go vegan, which is the only way, currently, to reduce that plastic load. What I can do — is make chicken broth sometimes. What I can do -- i

Depression: a stage in keeping a Lenten discipline

Whales with guts full of plastic. Recycling piling up in warehouses or being burned because nobody overseas wants to buy it our rubbish. And plastic is everywhere. ( Teen Vogue does a great article on the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. It's not what you think. ) In the whole of Lent thus far, I have had two days only of not using some kind of single-use plastic. Time and time again, I find myself using something with plastic in it. From cans to dental floss to menstrual products to the inside of a cap on a glass bottle. It’s freaking everywhere. 9% of recyclable plastic ends up in recycling bins and of that 9% less and less is being actively recycled. It’s being burned, or stored in a warehouse or buried in landfill or dumped in oceans and this stuff lasts for over 500 years, breaking down into micro plastic that ends up in the food we eat. The problem seems insurmountable and that no matter what I do, there will always be plastic.  And I’m talk

Denial: a stage in keeping a Lenten discipline.

“Dan can take out the trash and then I don’t have to worry about that single-use plastic.”  “Hey, want a ginger snap? Oh wait, it’s in single use plastic.” “So long as I don’t take the last one!” Which makes me wonder how long that cucumber is going to stay in the produce drawer wrapped in cling wrap... Here's another way I've been denying my Lenten discipline: I stopped logging the repeat offenders. The Bundaberg ginger beer, the plastic sleeves of Thin Mints... I told myself I would stop or reduce my use of them, but I haven’t. You know what else is single-use plastic? Double-sided tape dispensers, acrylic paint, for starters. I haven’t even dared to look at my art practices when it comes to single use plastic. Lent stops at my art room door. There’s a mighty long river in Egypt and in keeping a Lenten practice and they're both called denial. What to make of this? I wrote in my journal at the start of March that my intention is to be a better stew

Anger: a stage in keeping a Lenten discipline

I got so angry at myself. I had been faithfully recording all my plastic use in the first few days and all that time I’d been using tiny single-use plastic creamer cartons for milk in my hot beverages and not even noticing.  Not. Even. Noticing. Argh! I exclaimed on Facebook. GodDAMN! I wrote in my plastic log. I said far worse to myself. Success, winning, perfection are not what this, or any, Lenten discipline is about. Beating myself up is destructive, and God is a creative force, not destructive. I can hear my husband saying “Remember this!” as I can be harder on myself than anyone else. Doing that won’t help me succeed in my Lenten discipline, especially as it was one I had chosen knowing it wasn’t going to be something I could “win” at.  So instead I need to be creative and constructive and allow my anger to be the drive that "gets it done", such as being a voice for change. As Will Chase says in the new series “Whiskey Cavalier”, “I have my feelings. My

Bargaining: A Stage in Keeping a Lenten Discipline

Just like the five stages of grief, I rather suspect there are five stages of keeping a Lenten discipline. Bargaining, denial, anger, depression and acceptance. Giving up single-use plastic is proving to be quite the trial. On Day 2, I had already started bargaining with God. Is it single-use plastic if I recycle it?  Is the city actually recycling the stuff we put in our blue bins? (Apparently, yes, currently.) What if it’s made of 100% recycled plastic? Is that a second use and therefore not a single use? I fell asleep pondering this and without getting into a whole lot of detail, God sent a message in a dream: “Stop bargaining. Just do what you can.” And that is really the thing. This Lenten discipline has opened my eyes to the ubiquitousness of plastic. I use it without even thinking.  Stasher bags are reusable silicone bags that are replacing plastic bags It took me a while to remember to bring my own coffee cup, my own reusable silicone straws.