Yesterday, I was out to dinner with a dear friend who is highly knowledgeable about my un-plastic ways. Yet, I noticed that she seemed slightly embarrassed each time I refused plastic. I ordered my water without a straw, and she smirked. She straight up laughed when I returned an un-necessary (and unexpected) plastic bag in which they placed my left-over pizza (I forgot my tupperware -- sad -- but expected a box; it's leftover pizza for heavens' sake! They wrapped it in aluminum foil and put it in a bag...foil = recyclable; bag = unnecessary). But you know what? I don't care if she was embarrassed. Because I'm NOT embarrassed.
I'm not embarrassed about the easier plastic things. I do get annoyed when I request "no straw" and the server says "ok" and then gives me a straw approximately 2.5 seconds later. I know it's out of habit, but really?? Does anyone have a good way to make sure they seriously don't give you a straw? But I digress.
I'm genuinely not embarrassed to refuse straws or bags. Or to return those items when they get handed to me (unless the straw is already in my drink...in which case, I'm pretty much stuck). I'm not embarrassed to bring my own tupperware or silverware.
But I do get embarrassed around social plastic. I've blogged about this before, but I don't really know what to do about it. Where is the line?
Then there's the hypocrasy problem. I am good with the littler things. I've easily adjusted my lifestyle to avoid plastic straws, plates, silverware, and bags. If I want to stop by the grocery store and didn't bring my reusable bags, I only buy what I can carry. Afterall, the store is only a few blocks away, and I can't eat all that food in one day anyhow. But I struggle with other things...granola bars, popsicles, ice cream. Canned food (a grad student's gotta eat! plus I'm all about emergency preparedness). And then there's the plastic pipeline (i.e. the plastic my food was wrapped in that I don't even see, like the packaging they wrap around fruit for shipping or the plastic tape on the big box out of which your individual cereal box came), in which case the only solution would be to move to a farm and become self-sufficient. I'm not about to do that. Not always sure what to do about these bigger issues, so I just try to take one day and one plastic-riddled decision at a time.
Five Year Plan
3 years ago