Agonizing over Straws, Pasta-Box Windows, and Bread Thingies

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Disclosure: I borrowed these straws from a cafe for the purpose of this picture. I have only consumed two straws this month.

This is the eleventh day of Plastic-Free July, and I have already accumulated more “problem items” than I hoped to for the entire month. Was I naive in imagining that I could already go an entire month using little or no plastic?

Well, I had a rocky start. On July 1st, I innocently grabbed a free almond butter package from my friend’s office at Google, and then proceeded to purchase a iced coffee from Starbucks…to-go. The cup was plastic, of course, but what really killed me was that green, garbage-y straw.

Admittedly, I had forgotten that Plastic-Free July had started. While I successfully avoided plastic for the rest of my weekend in Seattle, disaster struck the following Monday. Driving up to my grandmother’s cottage in Maine, USA, my family and I stopped at the grocery store to supply our four day stint on the lake. As we prepared a monster grocery list, I remembered my commitment to no plastic. My family’s response: “Wow.”

I still feel incredibly culpable for allowing the purchase of, and later consuming, a gallon milk jug, half a dozen cartons of berries, a block of cheese, two loaves of bread, tubs and tubs of cottage cheese, and more. The subtler plastics were the lids to Soy Milk cartons, plastic “windows” in pasta boxes, and that thingy that keeps loaves of sliced bread closed, whatever it’s called.

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Does the fact that I did not purchase any of these goods absolve me from blame? Practically speaking, I felt I had to eat the food my family bought so it wouldn’t go bad, not to mention to avoid inconveniencing everyone. But no, this was my failing.

If Plastic-Free July were a sporting event, and I were the competitor, I invite all my fans to boo me. But don’t revoke your support. I pledge to recover from my initial blunders of July’s first quarter. There’s still more than a half to go.

Who am I kidding? Yesterday, ordering from a seafood spot overlooking the water in Gibsons, BC, on the Sunshine Coast (in case you were wondering why I’m travelling so much, these past ten days have been my summer vacation!), I was shocked to receive a straw in my water glass and some unwanted salad dressing served up in a stupid plastic open-faced dip holder (you know what I’m talking about).

The one plastic purchase I don’t regret is two bottles of sunscreen. I can’t live without my sunscreen.

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Excellent sunscreen.

Wish me better luck world!
-George Radner, Common Energy External Team

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