Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Pollution means execution

The Electric Company's blissed out funky tunes never fail to make spelling and environmentalism fun.

Yesterday I did something I hate. I went grocery shopping and forgot to bring my reusable bags. So I ended up coming home with 4 double-bags of groceries and a very surly attitude. Ugh.

My good friend Michael brought to my attention a so-called trash vortex floating in the Pacific Ocean. Greenpeace has this neato animator that shows how all that swampy, disgusting muck of our own filth gets from the shores of California and Japan to the middle of the ocean over time. It's not just plastic bags that we're choking the ocean with, but they're a big part.

Reusablebags.com has a few pages full of scary facts about plastic bag usage.

Plastic bags don’t biodegrade, they photodegrade—breaking down into smaller and smaller toxic bits contaminating soil and waterways and entering the food web when animals accidentally ingest.

Luckily, I live in NYC, where the City Council recently passed a bill requiring stores to recycle plastic bags. Don't live near a recycling facility? Well, for one, get some reusable bags and don't be dumb like me and forget them when you go shopping. Reusablebags.com even has a cool one that folds into itself and can fit in your purse so you never forget.

If you've already got some plastic bags at home that you can't stand to throw away, a quick google search of "reuse plastic bags" will not disappoint. The first link on the page is for a ThriftyFun (since 1997!) post with tons of reader tips and ideas. Some are good:

"Plastic grocery bags act as a protective cushion when packing dishes or breakables."

"The little plastic grocery bags we get are useful the little ones when teaching them to help clean up a room. They are also good for the little garbage cans in our bathrooms."

Some are gross:

"An emergency pair of plastic pants to put over your baby's diaper."

"I kill two birds with one stone. We have not solved two problems in decades: Dog waste problems in urban areas and grocery bag problems. My pooper scooper has a collapsible frame structure which springs open any grocery bag instantly, and it catches dog feces before it hits the ground. If all dog owners reuse grocery bags for 68 million dogs in the US, they might need more bags."

So don't be a wastoid. You have a lot of options and with your participation, we can stamp out pollution.

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Michael T said...

Woah, thanks for the link! I got a bunch of traffic from that.

Also--I love that video. It doesn't even bother me that you stole it from Mali's post on Ben's site before I could.

Proof of good humanity--people clicking on your links to a site about a trash vortex. Also--people clicking on your links to my site, just because you said I'm your good friend. They think you're a good human!

Hops said...

No probs, Michael. I like to give credit where it's due. Speaking of, I jacked that Greenpeace link from one of your posts.

I wonder if there is any legislation in the works to cut down on the United States' participation in this trash vortex. I'm going to look into it; might be something to write our reps about.

Holly said...

These are a lot of great ideas and I have used plastic bags to pack breakables and they do work!

jen x said...

I love the Electric Company! Reliving my childhood with this one :-)

Hops said...

Holly, I also found instructions to create a plastic bag woven rug. It was hideous.

Jen, youtube has done more for childhood nostalgia than anything I can think of. Love it!

Anonymous said...

I haven't see the Electric Company in years! Thanks for the flashback.