When I was pregnant with Enzo I took this amazing Environmental racism class in which I read the book Having Faith: An Ecologists Journey to Motherhood, which I highly recommend. I also watched a documentary called Blue Vinyl which will make you HATE and resent plastic. As a consequence I told my wonderful friend who was throwing me a baby shower that I did not want any plastic gifts. I had imagined my new baby's life plastic free. I went as far as inviting the Relief Society to come to my house and watch the documentary and then had a teach in about the disturbing life cycle of plastic. I suggested that they all make new shower curtains for their home that was plastic free. (always air out new plastic shower curtains for at least 24 hours. It is SOOOO toxic) How they asked? I didn't have the answer and I still don't have the answer now. The problem was that I felt entitled to educate people about plastic and as a mother-to-be I had unrealistic notions of having a completely plastic free environment for my kid. I finally had some sense pounded on me when I met Winona LaDuke. She was giving a seminar for my class and I proudly told her that I had requested a baby shower without any plastic gifts. "You did what?" she asked, and proceeded to teach me a very important lesson DON'T BECOME A POLITICALLY CORRECT ISLAND UNTO YOURSELF! She was right. I apologized to my friend who was organizing the baby shower. She seemed relieved. She obviously didn't want to write in the invitations "no plastic gifts." I had a wonderful shower where environmental and non-environmental friends from church and school came. I did get a set of plastic blocks which Enzo still loves, in fact it's the only gift I still have today.
I know that there is a lot of talk going on about safe plastic and unsafe plastic. I think it's great and I'm glad it's finally being done. However, don't stress out or become so preachy that you do end up becoming a politically correct island unto yourself. It's just not affective.
I've been trying different ways to eliminate plastic from Enzo's life. I've been thinking of ways to eliminate the plastic sippy cup. I use a glass jar for myself and thought it would also work for him. It does, kind of. I make him sit down to get a drink because I obviously don't want him to be running around the park with a glass jar. As a toddler he doesn't want to stop, sit, and drink he wants to be on the move. So I went back to the plastic sippy cup for when we are outside and only use glass cups when we are at home. I thought about buying one of those metal sippy cups but am totally put off by the price and put off from buying anything new. The constant manufacturing of new goods is also bad for the environment be it plastic or not. I did find a Sigg water bottle at the flea market for a $1.00. However, it's kind of too bulky for him. Right now the plastic sippy cup is really what works best and when we are outside playing I want him to be properly hydrated and if he's not holding his sippy he's not drinking. I've learned this through a bad experience. So for now the plastic sippy cup it is.
As for myself I have almost completely eliminated plastic containers. I just store my food in glass jars, or tin foil. When I say eliminated I don't mean throwing out all the plastic containers I once had. You can recycle unsafe plastic #3,6,7. However, if you have safe plastic in your house think twice before disposing it. The last thing we need is to have a mass purging of plastic. Out of sight means out of your sight and into landfills. Recycling is better, much better, but still takes up a lot of energy. I figured I'd keep the plastic containers and use it to store crayons, little dinosaur toys that keep appearing out of nowhere, stickers that have the same magical powers as the dinosaurs, coins, and random things that flood my house.
If we could live in a completely plastic free world it would be great, or maybe it wouldn't. Either way I think it's important to be informed and to make good decisions, but don't go alienating yourself because of it. Here's a pretty simple and straight forward article that should shed some light on managing daily use of plastic. And if you must buy more plastic National Geographic made a free Smart Shoppers' Plastic Picks Cards which you can download here.