18 February 2011

Plastic-Free February Update

Some day, when you look back on what you’ve written, you’ll realize that you have born witness to your life. You’ll be grateful. ~ Susan Wittig Albert

The proliferation of daily plastic use continues - even the throwaways. Anyone who becomes conscious realizes that it's almost impossible to do away with plastics. Yesterday, I mused that a pasta shop where I could buy freshly made noodles that I brought home wrapped in paper... well, no point musing about it. Such a shop doesn't exist anywhere near where I live. The pasta I boiled came wrapped in plastic. How do you buy your pasta? In plastic. How else? I have one friend who makes his own, but he is a rarity.

I don't store my foods in plastic, having bought into glass storage many years past. I still have two sets of Martha Stewart bowls I bought at Kmart probably two decades ago. If I need more, I use Mason jars.

Yesterday, my largely-plastic office chair broke. I asked Mick to see if he could fix it - it was a perfectly good upholstered chair and simply too good to toss. He discovered an interesting thing - it was almost impossible to get into the underneath portion partly because the screws weren't easily removed (matching ones weren't even used!) and clearly, the design was never intended for long-term maintenance. Plastic comes ready-made with a throwaway mentality imbued into ever piece. (Wait a minute. Wasn't the original intent of non-breakables so we could own and use them for longer?) These items are not meant to last, and more's the pity. Next office chair - antique oak swivel on wheels - as soon as I figure out what to do with this one, since I don't need two office chairs.

I've reached a point in my life in which I seriously consider my purchases and ask the question: What if I had to own this until I died? With no storage space available? Would it outlast me? Could I repair it? Can I repurpose it if its usefulness in the current state is diminished? If it doesn't pass the test, I seriously reconsider the acquisition.

These are questions we all should ask when we acquire "stuff". I look at this appliance above sitting in my bathroom, thankfully only borrowed, and wonder if I'll ever use it. It's a paraffin melter for hand therapy. It's been here for a month. It's very plastic. And I'm grateful I can give it back to its owner tomorrow!

Temps: 50/23 and windy
Writing: mostly research

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