Thursday, May 30, 2013

The Week of No-Plastic Consuming

I like challenges, especially ones done in collusion with others, and this photo display of weekly eating habits from around the world got me going on a new one. I was particularly struck by how much refined, plastic-coated food we first world nations are consuming, and how many fruits, vegetables and  beans many of the third world cultures are consuming.

And how little plastic.

With the hope of breaking some of my own bad plastic habits (too many disposable diapers, too many expensive, wrapped in plastic packages of gourmet cheeses and crackers), Avah and I decided to go a week without buying any plastic.

A week is nothing, I'm well aware. This amazing family went four months without a lot of home-made corn tortillas. Our household isn't at a place where either of us want to make a full-time commitment to the extra time preparing food that leap demands, but I know we can do a much job better consuming less plastic and, while we're at it, eat better. (And improve our microbial health, which, according to Michael Pollan and the folks he's been hanging out with recently, just might be the key to overall health.)

So after one week of not buying anything wrapped in or made out of plastic, what did we learn? 

~The bulk department at our local co-op is fun. I filled all the jars in our house with nuts, grains, beans and, because I was spending less money elsewhere, delicious chocolate-coated things. 

~When you spend less money on plastic-wrapped gourmet crackers and tea you have more money to spend on fruits and veggies.

~Homemade tortillas are easy to make, delicious, and make my daughter feel useful, productive, capable and...extraordinarily happy. 

~Just go out and buy yourself good cloth diaper covers. No more leaks, no more excuses, no more plastic coated shit in the landfill!

~I've said it before during our buy no new year, but limitations give me a sense of purpose, and a sense of purpose brings me satisfaction and joy. I like these opportunities for slipping out of the rat-race, for reminding myself of my values, and for sharing those challenges and values and that sense of purpose with my housemates who also happen to be the people I love most in the world. Avah especially took to the challenge. "But Mama, how will we buy Owen a birthday present if we can't buy plastic? We'll have to make him something out of wood!" The week ended yesterday, but I'm thinking we'll keep going for a while because, well, it's fun, and because I want to keep trying to eat like these people below from Bhutan do, and making tortillas with my daughter, and trying to make Owen Cricket his one-year birthday present out of salvaged wood. 

Want to join us for a while?