Baby steps



by Mz Penny

I have finally trained myself to always carry a cloth bag to the grocery store. I had no choice. My favourite store stopped carrying plastic bags and now also charges for paper ones. This is all good and forces me now to remember to actually always have one on hand. No more plastic bags filling up my closet. However, I do seem to have a growing amount of cloth ones (due to sometimes forgetting my bag at home).

My next step was to always walk out the door with a travelling mug, especially if I am driving further than usual. It’s a thermos style, keeps my coffee hot and my ice water cold. No more empty plastic water bottles cluttering up my car (yes, I do tend to just toss them on the back seat). I have bought glass containers for the fridge and freezer, replaced my shampoo and conditioner with bars that look like soap, and my laundry detergent plastic container has been switched to little packs of what seems like cloth that you toss in with the laundry and they deteriorate.

Sounds good right? But these are small baby steps, I realise that.

Recently on Facebook, I saw a post that brought home to me just how small my steps are towards becoming plastic free. Facebook does have some good qualities if only people would stick to the good rather than abusing what it was meant for…but that’s another separate article. Last time I was out shopping, when I got home and removed all my groceries, I found that almost every item was packaged in plastic.

I have made what I had thought were some major steps towards saving our planet from plastic. But I need to do more and that post on Facebook reinforced the need for it.

Some time ago when I travelled to New Brunswick to visit a friend, I discovered a small town in the middle of nowhere between Edmunston and Dalhousie. The town has this gas station/store. The first time I walked in, I was amazed to see all these dispensers lining the walls. They had everything and all a person needs to have with them are a few containers to dispense the stuff into. I was amazed that it was so advanced, this small little town, compared with anywhere else I have ever been. Wherever possible, they used dispensers. Yes, they did still carry plastic, but it was limited to what they could not purchase in bulk containers.

We as a society must start pushing for the ban on plastic. We do have the power, but it has to start with each of us, en masse, refusing to purchase plastic containers. You need to start thinking each time you put out your recyclables that most of it will land up somewhere other than being recycled. We have to stop being such a disposable society, stop having to have all these bells and whistles and start thinking of our children’s future, what our legacy will be and what we are teaching them. Let’s not leave this planet in a mess for them.

We need to start taking giant steps.


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