Plastic is everywhere. Plastic is in our kitchens, our bathrooms, our offices, and our cars. It’s likely that no matter where you are right now, you are surrounded with plastic, all of which will likely find its way to a landfill for over a billion years.
In 2006, Americans sent almost 60 billion pounds of plastic to landfills. Each hour Americans throw away 2.5 million water bottles. That’s equivalent to 60 million bottles a day and more than 21,000 million bottles a year. With all this plastic going into our landfills and into the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, shouldn’t we try to give up on plastic?
Jeanne Haegele asked herself this very question and decided to try to decrease plastic’s presence in her life. In How I Gave Up Plastic, Haegele discusses the difficulties she faced near the beginning of her quest.
She says, “Grocery shopping was my greatest challenge. I remember my initial trip to the supermarket, when I first learned that so many of my normal standbys were off-limits. Crackers, chips, cookies, pasta… I had no idea what to buy…”
Yet Haegele began eating more fruits and vegetables and began shopping at stores with bulk bins, which allow customers to refill their own containers. According to her blog, she has not only experienced significant cost savings, but her diet has become much healthier, adding two more reasons to remove some of the plastic from her life.
Haegele’s efforts have not gone unnoticed. She appeared on CNN’s front page with a video debuting her struggles and successes. Click here to watch the video.
“I gave up plastic – a bad habit that was hurting the environment – and I’m stronger for it,” says Haegele. “I’ve tested my boundaries, forced myself to think critically about my actions and developed a simpler way of life. I’m happier and healthier than ever.”
If you’re as interested as we are in using less plastic, you can read more about Haegele’s endeavors on her blog. Also, check back here in the coming weeks to read more about plastic, its effects, and ways to reduce its prevalence in your life.