Thursday, July 18, 2013

From Plastic Free to Lunchskins

Earlier this year I spent the day with some fellow authors at an outdoor community event called "Sustainable Lafayette." One of the other authors was Beth Terry, who wrote Plastic Free. I found the concept quite intriguing and couldn't wait to get home and devour it. She believes that we should all be activists against the "tide of plastic pollution."

Terry, as it turned out, not only talks the talk, she also walks the walk. Her personal  crusade against plastic consumption began in 2007. She began her journey by inventorying the plastic in her home, then started seriously cutting the amount that came into her house.

Lunchskins' Red ladybug set  
Plastic, we realize when we start thinking about it, is   everywhere.  This was not always so! When I was a   kid, our  sandwiches were wrapped in waxed paper, we carried  our lunches in lunchboxes, and found milk  in a waxed carton. Soft drinks, which were pretty  much reserved for parties and picnics, came in glass bottles (which we also collected from  vacant lots and redeemed for change at the corner market).

Lunchskins' Green frogs set
After reading Terry's book, I started my own informal inventory and realized how insidious the move to plastic has been through the years. It's not just the plastic grocery bags, it's the plastic packaging on toys, the toys themselves, and the bubble-wrap that the item is wrapped in when it is shipped to you. It's our pens, the pages in our photo albums, and the trays and wrappings of our  frozen food products.

There are solutions--and Terry's book and website are very good at giving the rationale for making some changes, and telling us how we can find substitutes that will help us do more to reduce plastic pollution than simply choosing paper (or better yet cloth) grocery bags over plastic ones.

It is a process to make these important changes. In a  bit of synchronicity, just as I was finishing Terry's  book, I heard from a company called 3GreenMoms. They, who are indeed three moms, have launched an assortment of reusable fabric sandwich and snack bags called Lunchskins. The bags are made of a variety of colorful cotton fabrics, lined with a very thin polyurethane layer. Yes, that is still using some plastic, but Lunchskins can be reused 100's of times--reducing significantly the amount of plastic that a family would add to the landfill by using disposable baggies. Lunchskins are BPA-free and lead-free and they can go in both dishwashers and clothes washers. And it doesn't hurt a bit that these bags are so cute!

Lunchskins' Tangerine orange
3 GreenMoms are on "a mission to keep 200 million plastic baggies out of landfill and waterways." This is a step in the right direction and if we support companies that are trying to help our environment rather than those who recklessly destroy it, we can make a difference with our dollars. Let's vow to make just one small change each week or month toward using less plastic--that will help reduce (and reverse) the "tide of polluting plastic" that threatens not only our oceans and its creatures, but our food supply and our climate.

Disclaimer: I received a free sample of these bags in order to review them. 

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