donate buttonThis is Mike’s first entry in the series “Grist dared me to make a change.” Read the second, third, fourth, fifth, and sixth here. And support his dare with a gift to Grist!

For two weeks, starting July 5, I am going to eliminate as much plastic as possible from my life. I will not purchase anything packed in or containing plastic. I will not eat any foods packaged in plastic. I will not use hygiene products packaged in plastic (except this recycled plastic toothbrush I already have, as no toothbrush would just be nasty), nor will I create any plastic waste.

plastic bottlesfhemerick via flickrPlastic is an interesting material because it is both amazing and horrible. Think about all the great things made from plastic — the computer I’m typing on, our phones, medical and scientific equipment. I don’t think wooden cell phones would work so well.  

At the same time, we use far too much plastic and the environmental and health effects are terrible. Plastic is made from fossil fuels so it’s energy-intensive to produce. It doesn’t go away when you put it in the trash and when you recycle it, it doesn’t get used over and over and over again like aluminum.

Plastic is freaking everywhere. While cooking dinner the other night, all I could think was that grocery shopping is gonna be tricky. I’ll bring my own bags for produce — that’s easy enough. But I don’t think it will be possible to get tortillas. Even canned food is lined with plastic. And pasta will be tough because those boxes tend to have clear plastic windows in them.

Generally speaking I think I try to be pretty green. I ride my bike, walk, or take the bus to work nearly every day. We rarely drive and when we do it’s in a fuel-efficient Honda Civic. We live in a small apartment, have no air conditioner, no TV, no dryer (just a washing machine), and we eat nearly all organic foods.

But this dare is really gonna test me. Help a guy out — sponsor me! Donate to Grist in support of my dare. I don’t wanna let my peeps down.