Plastic a Toxic Love Story & UpCycling Plastic

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drowning_plasticPlastic – love it or hate it, we use it – lots of it. It is a substance that opened new worlds of innovation and may have saved elephants from extinction, but we have become addicted to our celluloid, polymers, acrylic, etc., and it has left the realm of useful innovation and joined the stratosphere of the overindulged.

According to Susan Freinkel, author of Plastic a Toxic Love Story, the plastic the world consumes annually has gone from almost nil in 1940 to nearly six hundred billion pounds today. Holy water bottle batman that’s a lot of plastic that’s going to stay with us for . . . how long?

When we started this crazy love affair with plastic, we didn’t know that it would not degrade and would live in our landfills for hundreds possibly thousands of years. Now we know.

It isn’t likely we’ll give up plastic all together, but I am confident that with a conscious effort, we can become more aware of the plastic we are using, use less and reuse it more. There are innovative companies, like TerraCycle sprouting up that are finding ways to re-purpose a lot of the plastic that would otherwise be piling up in our landfills. And other manufacturers that are find ways to use recycled plastic in order to reduce the need to create more of it.

Green Diva Lisa has come up with some simple ways for anyone to get as much use out of the plastic we can’t avoid. Here are some of her suggestions:

Plastic Bags

  • Food baggies: Turn them inside out and toss them in a cold laundry, then hang them to dry.
  • Always good for dog and cat poo (at least you get 1 more use!)

Plastic “Clam Shell” Containers

  • Cut in half and use to start seedlings
  • Keep the bottom half (with the holes) as a small colander for fruits and veggies
  • Store craft items in them
  • Donate them to farmer’s market vendors
  • Donate them to teachers for art supplies
  • Reuse them for sandwiches in a lunchbox
  • Use for draining and storing tub toys

Lidless plastic containers make good organizers in cabinets for small loose items

Plastic Bottle Caps

  • You can recycle these at Whole Foods for Aveda
  • Use for missing board game pieces or create your own checker board with them!
  • Cut a hole in them and use them to cinch plastic bags
  • Use them to hold boric acid for insect invasions

Plastic bottles can be placed on hangers for hanging knitwear.

Listen to the GD podcast where we talk about all this stuff AND do a wonderful interview with Susan Freinkel and talk about Plastic a Toxic Love Story.

image via shutterstock

About the author / 

Megan McWilliams (Green Diva Meg)
megan@thegreendivas.com'

(aka Megan McWilliams) is a green living expert and media personality as the producer and host of the Green Divas Radio Show. She has been sharing low-stress ways of living a deeper shade of green for over 20 years. She also produces podcasts and videos for the Green Divas and other clients through the Green Diva Studio.

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