What Do You Do When You Can’t Avoid Plastic?

I hate buying plastic, but sometimes it’s really hard to avoid. But at the very least you should make sure to do the best you can when you can’t avoid buying something plastic.

Reusing is of course the first option. I was pretty delighted the other day when I found out plastic #6 is the same as the Shrinkydinks I did as a kid. I’ve found little bits of it around the house (little cup that came with liquid Nyquil), but haven’t tried using it yet. Now I know what to use it for when I’m stuck with it. Why throw it away immediately when it could be so much fun?

And of course you may be able to come up with other ideas for other kinds of plastic.

You can come up with uses for other kinds of plastic too. Some can be reused for the same job they were bought for originally. Squirt bottles, for example. If they once had cleaning chemicals you do have to be careful about how you clean them and what you reuse them for, but generally they’re good for a long time.

Other times recycling is your one choice. Here, of course, the key is to remember to actually do it and to know what is recyclable in your area. If you’re stuck buying plastic, odds are that you don’t have a choice about which variety, but do the best you can. They only recycle plastics #1 and #2 in my area, which is quite a pain.

While avoidance of plastic is best, some products pretty much only come in plastic containers. Think about yogurt? Do you ever see it in anything other than plastic? There’s a good read on plastic yogurt containers over at Green Options today. It actually makes good sense for the manufacturers to use it, compared to other potentially suitable plastics. And of course there are a lot of other places in life where plastic is just about unavoidable. It’s pretty much a fact of modern life.

The trick, as always is to remember the rules of reduce, reuse and recycle. Don’t buy plastic products if you have to, reuse plastic when it’s reasonable to do so, and educate yourself on how to recycle it in your area. I don’t know that anyone can really cut it out entirely these days, but you can limit how much you use.

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One reply

  1. Kate says:

    My recent plastics dilemma is plastic grocery bags–I still use them for lining my kitchen trash and cleaning the litterbox. I guess it’s better to be reusing than not, but I’m not happy that they’ll be ending up in a landfill somewhere.

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