Bag It: Is Your Life Too Plastic?

blog-2-plastic-bagsIf your honest answer is “yes,” consider attending the following:

Sierra Club—Great Falls, Northern VA Chapter invites you to see BAG IT, an award-winning documentary about the effects of plastics on our personal health & the environment. It is the story of a man who makes a pledge to stop using plastic bags at the grocery store and how it changes his life. What starts out as a simple pledge leads to a full expose of how plastics are affecting our lives.

The film will be shown at 7 PM on September 22 at Patrick Henry Library, 101 Maple Avenue East, Vienna, VA. RSVP, if possible, to

Free refreshments. And, the Virginia Green Baggers will be giving away free reusable cloth bags.

According to Eco Watch, over the last ten years we have produced more plastic than during the whole of the last century.

  • 50 percent of the plastic we use, we use just once and throw
  • Enough plastic is thrown away each year to
  • We currently recover only five percent of the plastics we produce.
  • The average American throws away approximately 185 pounds of plastic per year.
  • Plastic accounts for around 10 percent of the total waste we generate.

Just about every environmental group has a list of suggestions for reducing plastic use. Rather than approach these lists with despair at all you are not doing, congratulate yourself on those steps you have already taken. More importantly, consider choosing at least one more way you can help reduce your own “plastic footprint” each time you see a new list of suggestions.

Try it here with Green Education Foundation’s list of ways to cut down on our everyday use of plastics:

  1. Stop using plastic straws, even in restaurants. If a straw is a must, purchase a reusable stainless steel or glass straw
  2. Use a reusable produce bag. A single plastic bag can take 1,000 years to degrade. Purchase or make your own reusable produce bag and be sure to wash them often! (More on this next week!)
  3. Give up gum. Gum is made of a synthetic rubber, aka plastic.
  4. Buy boxes instead of bottles. Often, products like laundry detergent come in cardboard which is more easily recycled than plastic.
  5. Purchase food, like cereal, pasta, and rice from bulk bins and fill a reusable bag or container. You save money and unnecessary packaging.
  6. Reuse containers for storing leftovers or shopping in bulk.
  7. Use a reusable bottle or mug for your beverages, even when ordering from a to-go shop
  8. Bring your own container for take-out or your restaurant doggy-bag since many restaurants use styrofoam.
  9. Use matches instead of disposable plastic lighters or invest in a refillable metal lighter.
  10. Avoid buying frozen foods because their packaging is mostly plastic. Even those that appear to be cardboard are coated in a thin layer of plastic. Plus you’ll be eating fewer processed foods!
  11. Don’t use plasticware at home and be sure to request restaurants do not pack them in your take-out box.
  12. Ask your local grocer to take your plastic containers (for berries, tomatoes, etc.) back. If you shop at a farmers market they can refill it for you.
  13. The EPA estimates that 7.6 billion pounds of disposable diapers are discarded in the US each year. Use cloth diapers to reduce your baby’s carbon footprint and save money.
  14. Make fresh squeezed juice or eat fruit instead of buying juice in plastic bottles. It’s healthier and better for the environment.
  15. Make your own cleaning products that will be less toxic and eliminate the need for multiple plastic bottles of cleaner.
  16. Pack your lunch in reusable containers and bags. Also, opt for fresh fruits and veggies and bulk items instead of products that come in single serving cups.
  17. Use a razor with replaceable blades instead of a disposable razor
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