Last year a member of my local Zero Waste group on Facebook asked if she should do bulk bin shopping in the context of living 20 miles away from the nearest store to offer it. Commentators on the post agreed that it probably was not a good idea. The additional miles driven would likely have a larger carbon footprint than the amount of plastic saved.
I wondered if there is a way to express miles driven as a quantity of single-use plastic. Here is my best ballpark estimate:
1 mile driven = 5.3 standard size plastic water bottles
GreenThinker DC’s mission is to de-normalize the overuse of plastic. When I tell people that I am starting an organization that will help fight plastic pollution, about 90% think I give talks on how to recycle. We at GreenThinker DC think plastic recycling is a failure. If it was a good idea every city, town, and municipality would be doing it. As of right now only mid-size and big cities that can take on the loss of recycling can afford to have recycling centers. That’s right – recycling operates on a loss.
Customs and societal norms are handed down to us from previous generations, but they can also change over time. We continue to challenge racism, sexism, and other ‘isms’ in the US, leading to positive changes in what is normal and legal in our society. However if left unexamined or unquestioned we can pass down harmful customs and traditions. We accept single-use plastic as the norm. Why?