by Marisa Folse 1Sep2022
Years ago I made a pledge to reduce household waste and carbon footprint. I am happy to report I take out trashcan only once a month for pick up, a big change from weekly dumping. Now however, I notice a distressing personal trash trend. It is what I call Shy-Based Petro.
Admittedly, I am exceedingly, even painfully shy. Hard to tell as my work of choice requires me to interact daily with numerous people. Yet, each day I return home to release, recover, refocus. You may think COVID shutdowns were great for shy-sods like me. But no, for some post-COVID anxiety of socializing with others is WORSE. My COVID experience was different during these past few years; I was one of many workers NOT experiencing a shutdown. I worked away from home the entire time, driving each workday on nearly vacant roadways.
But let me get back to household waste woes. A recent article shows COVID-based needs increased waste and single-use plastics by nearly 300% from pre-COVID production. Think about it, all those disposable PPE – masks, gloves and hand sanitizer bottles. But I digress from my topic.
COVID restrictions make it easier to shop in new ways without face-to-face interactions. Win-win for shy folk. Online shopping, self check outs, prepackaged deli and butcher items make it possible to do errands without coming face-to-face with another human. My dilemma – THIS SHY SHOPPING PATH BOOSTS PLASTIC TRASH!
Too shy to talk to butcher, I choose prepackaged cuts entirely wrapped in plastic. Household items ordered online arrive with plastic padding in the shipped boxes. Even conscious choices of cardboard boxed purchases instead of plastic reveals plastic inner liners containing contents. Drat this shy business!
So, even though my trash quantity is less, a larger percentage of it is now plastic. I make lots of changes to reduce plastic. Household sponges are walnut. Toothbrushes and similar items are bamboo. Global impact is more important than my shyness comfort. I MUST make a change. Here are a few new efforts to embrace.
New ways to focus plastic reduction efforts:
- Change bottle soaps, shampoos and conditioners back to bars.
- Change laundry and dish soap to dry types in plastic-free containers.
- Decrease plastic wraps and cellophane. Encourage others to do the same.
- Choose PPE that is NOT plastic based or individually wrapped.