Thursday, April 21, 2011

Junk Mail & Plastic Bags

 I knew when I started this blog that I wanted it to be about more than just food. While food is tasty to eat and fun to make, blogging about only food would be boring for me and probably boring for you, too, after awhile.

 The Big Personality is about my whole personality and life: I feel I have a dynamic personality and wanted to share my eco-friendly tips, my traveling experiences, the food I cook, and the vegan choices I make every single day. When I first started this blog I shared parts of my emotional side and ethical reasons for choosing veganism, including why I chose to be vegan and how we can all be more kind and compassionate each and every day. Posts that highlight those things include christianity and veganism and i am a witness. I then chronicled food for many, many posts and started a recipes tab. And now, to open and share a third part of my "big personality" I would like to talk about the environment.

 For me, it's impossible to be vegan and not be concerned about the environment. I am vegan for soo many reasons, but one big and important reason is for the environment. I think I have always been this way, because I remember watching PBS as a child and getting upset when I saw landfills and dumptrucks taking waste away. In my house growing up, if we wanted to watch TV we were only allowed to watch the learning channel, and since there were endless kid programs on PBS about recycling, reducing waste, and the harmful effects of all of our trash, I was haunted by pictures of polar bears drowning and landfills overflowing. I would stay up at night wondering how I could do more, and worrying about the fate of our planet. I thought it was a huge, major issue, (maybe even the only issue) concerning the world since that was all I saw on TV if I ever turned it on. Indeed, it is a huge issue, but when I hit high school and discovered there was more on TV than just PBS shows, I lost sight of what really mattered. Now that I'm older and can make my own decisions regarding recycling, food, and waste options, I am getting back on track and re-focused on what we can all do to help.

 Lately I've been reading Alicia Silverstone's blog called The Kind Life. She also has a book called The Kind Diet, which I haven't read, but plan to. I like her blog because it's really her, interacting with her readers and posting things that are important to her, mostly things about the environment and food.

 Since reading her blog, I have been inspired to re-think a few things in my every day life and would like to share them with you in hopes that maybe they will motivate a change in you as well.

 Junk Mail
I've always been annoyed by the amount of junk mail I get. Every day, loads of unopened envelopes go into our recycle bin, and even though I'm recycling, it still leaves me with a bad feeling. Why even mail it? Why create more waste? Then I saw this post Alicia wrote about gift wrapping, and I was actually motivated to change.
 In 2005, more than 41.5 pieces of junk mail were produced. It took more than 100 million trees to create all this bulk mail. That's the equivalent of deforesting Rocky Mountain National Park every four months. 
 That was in 2005- imagine what it's like today. Before you start hyperventilating and tearing up like I tend to do when I hear stats like this, remember you can make a difference, and I want to empower you right now to make decisions to stop the deforestation and maybe get some sleep at night knowing you have helped a little.
 Go to this website to find out how to stop your junk mail. It goes through 10 steps (not all of which you need to do) but all of which are helpful in stopping the junk mail. For instance, step one is remove your name from their mailing lists. Step two may not be necessary if you actually completely step one.
 After reading this, I felt better knowing that there is something I can do about all that paper that accumulates in my recycle bin. Yes, I'm recycling, but why even create the waste to begin with, and then create the labor it takes to recycle it, and the gas emissions of the dump truck who picks it up, etc etc.

 Plastic bags

Plastic bags have always bothered me, and I feel guilty every time I get one from the store. They are wasteful and most of the time end up in the ocean, where they harm marine life. They seem like one of the worst ways to transport things, and they almost always end up in the trash as soon as you unpack your groceries.
 For me, making a difference meant buying this reusable, durable cloth bag to transport my groceries in

That way, I am one less person who uses a plastic bag. If by chance I forget this bag and I'm running into the store for one or two items, I carry it without a bag or put it in my purse. It has made me aware of how many pointless plastic bags I used to use, and how often the cashier will give you a plastic bag for something small, like chapstick or a card. Waste, waste, waste.
 In addition, lead has been found in plastic bags. Alicica writes about plastic bags here and here, and I highly encourage you to read these short posts.

 What do you think about plastic bags and junk mail? Does waste like this bother you, or does it not? What is your favorite eco-friendly tip to reduce the use of plastic bags?


Lauren said...

Wow Michele, this is such a great post! One of the reasons I am vegan is because of environmental reasons too. Im glad you talked about the junk mail issue because I think about that all the time and it really frustrates me! I will go check out that website. I hope you have a wonderful day!

Maria said...

Thank you for following my blog as well. I'm still new to blogging as well.

I've shared your blog with my friends. They already love the recipes you post, but now they'll appreciate your research even more like the junk mail option. =)

Kelly said...

Hey girl, great post! Just wanted to let you know that I tagged you in an Easter Tag! Check out the post on my page, hope you do the same! :)

SuzyEats said...

I am so sick of plastic bags too. I do not get the point.