Bag It: Is your Life too Plastic? (2010)

Bag It: Is your Life too Plastic? (2010) is a good intro to plastic. It talks about single use plastic, the proliferation of plastic in everyday products (lining cans, etc.), and plastic toxicity. The info about toxicity is a little nerve wracking, but I found the documentary to be informative and approachable. Also, it was a really good reminder to focus on avoiding bringing plastic into the home.

The toxicity discussion made me think about the contrast between zero-waste living and plastic-free living. In plastic-free living, the ultimate goal is to avoid all plastic because of the issues with plastic trash, but also to avoid the toxins in plastic. Zero-waste living is more focused on avoiding sending things to the landfill, even if that means reusing plastic items.

Personally, I would like to avoid plastic and I would love to, eventually, replace all the plastic bottles that I’m reusing with glass or stainless steel containers. But, I think that I have a responsibility to extend the life of plastic I purchase as much as possible, even if it’s just a mayo jar. And, I don’t trust recycling, especially as I live in an apartment and our recycling bin is always contaminated with non-recyclables – that probably means that all my carefully cleaned and sorted recycling ends up at the landfill. While I may be increasing the risk of exposing myself to toxins, reusing the plastic I have reduces the plastic in the environment. It also means that I’m not contributing to the production of new products.

It’s not an easy decision to make. After learning about plastic toxicity, it’s really tempting to throw out all the plastic. But, I think that the best solution for me is to simply work on avoiding bringing plastic into my home. I’m privileged to be able to access and afford items that come in glass bottles (natural peanut butter, etc.) even though it’s more expensive. But, this isn’t something that many people can do. We’re all sort of stuck in a situation where plastic is cheap and profits are more important than consumer health.

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