Tuesday, September 25, 2007
I have been meaning to post about this topic for some time but now is as good a time as any. In the greater Portland [Oregon] area there is a team of Master Recyclers who biannually have a plastic roundup. It is wonderful considering the amount of plastic that our curbside recycling accepts is laughable. This roundup takes in items at four locations twice a year. I mention all of this because this Saturday the 29th from 9am-2pm they are accepting any plastic that has accumulated around your house. At the last event we had a nominal amount to bring because I was reminded of the event by a friend but kept forgetting and so by the date of the roundup I had maybe a small bag to recycle. Even just being there the first time helped me realize not only how much they take but also how much plastic we really do use every day.
It is hard to challenge oneself to use less but it can also be turned into a fun game. Back in March I discovered a horrifying stat counter at the bottom of jumilla bugs blog. The tally was for the number of plastic bags consumed year to date [the link for the stats is quite informative as well]. I was blown away by the visual of the situation. I was only looking at the tally for maybe a minute and the number went up by 100,000 if not more within that time. At that point I vowed to make a conscious effort to reduce the amount of bags we used. It was a challenge and at times we got some funny looks like when we would go to home depot and say that we did not want a bag but would instead carry out our loot. Hauling our curtain hangers and hardware out of the home store also got us some looks but it was a great way to push our limits. We do have two amazing two cargo totes that truly come in handy. I know there are thousands of bags out there for just this type of thing but I love ours because I can always fit at least 3-4bags of groceries in each. During the month of April we were able to consume only 7 plastic bags and from the challenge we have both become more aware.
The even taking place this weekend is great and I encourage anyone in Portland to attempt to at least take this weeks plastic in. If you are not living on the eastside of town there is another event happening on October 6th on the westside of town. I encourage those outside of Portland to look into something like this in your area.