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No New Plastics Month in Review

No New PlasticsNo New PlasticsAlthough I'm not proud to admit it, going plastic free was not an overwhelming success. Plastic is EVERYWHERE, from our living rooms to our cars to our nights out. And our plastic habit is piling up to the tune of 2,500,000 plastic bottles every hour and 25,000,000,000 styrofoam cups every year in America alone. And plastic doesn't go away, even if you do your due diligence by tossing it in your recycling bin: every piece of plastic ever created still exists in some form or another. Even those that "biodegrade" just break into to small pieces, never truly disintegrating entirely.

To recount my No New Plastic successes:

  • I've gotten very good at just saying no to straws when I'm out and about. 
  • I've also gotten quite good at saying, "I don't need a bag for that. Thanks, though."
  • I've made my shower a No New Plastic haven by purchasing an antique safety razor, a bar of Dr. Bronner's soap (love the almond scent), and using the baking soda and apple cider vinegar routine on my hair.
  • I've experimented with homemade deodorant. I've had most success with a 50/50 mixture of cornstarch and baking soda, mixed with some tea tree oil to work as an antibacterial agent.
  • I love my new homemade toothpaste: baking soda, hydrogen peroxide, and peppermint essential oil.
  • I've tossed all plastic storage containers from my kitchen pantry, replacing them with a variety of glass jars I collected from my sister.
  • I've carried all-cloth tote bags in the back of my truck to use when I go shopping.
  • I also consider it a success to have had a number of conversations about plastic over the past month. Awareness is key, after all.

On a number of other levels, I feel I've failed in my challenge this month. It took me far too long to recognize that innocuous straw was, in fact, a new plastic sneaking into my life. When I finally got the straw thing down, I was asking for hot sauce or salad dressing on the side, and it was coming in little plastic cups. And while my safety razor is plastic free, I could not find blades for it that were not encased in plastic. I was able to find toilet paper sold without any plastics, but dish soap just doesn't come any other way. 

When all is said and done, No New Plastic month has had a drastic impact on me. I am uncomfortably aware of all the plastic that surrounds me, and I cringe when I see unnecessary plastic. I mean, at this time in our society, I can't avoid plastic parts in my car, my computer, or my phone, just to name three major parts of my daily life, but I can avoid it in my drinks (only fountain sodas and only in reusable cups; refillable water bottles; take out coffee only in paper cups and without lids), my beauty routine, and most of my food choices (maybe my milk has a plastic cap, but I can bring reusable produce bags to the store and avoid prepackaged food). What can you do?