Have you noticed how many more food products are now packaged in plastic? I especially see it with organic products that I buy, such as cheese and cold cuts, and I am not happy about it.

Because of this excessive packaging, I accumulate a lot of plastic. I decided to participate in the Hefty ReNew Program. I place all my plastic – except those marked with triangles 1 and 2 – in an orange (yes, plastic) bag. When I have filled five or six bags, I take them to the Smyrna Recycling Center, where the materials are sorted and sent to an advanced recycling center for burning. What remains is then used as an aggregate to make concrete. I am ambivalent about this choice because it supports the fossil fuel industry, but at least my plastic isn’t piling up in a landfill.

Another recent packaging concern is chip bags and protein bars that are now lined with Mylar, a polyester film that you may know best from foil helium balloons. When did we start lining food bags with Mylar? Do I need to give up my Clif bars now? Apparently, Mylar is more flexible, doesn’t tear easily, and has an oxygen barrier that lengthens the shelf life of the product. Unfortunately, these bags are not recyclable.

Recently, an opinion piece in The Washington Post caught my eye: “How to End Plastic Pollution on Earth for Good.” The author, Tatiana Schlossberg, proposed three critical actions:

1. Mandate that all new plastic products contain at least 30% recycled plastic.

2. Add a high consumer tax on plastics and use the revenue from the tax to invest $50 billion in global waste infrastructure.

3. Cap plastic production at 2025 levels.

Scholssberg concludes: “The United States, which produces more plastic waste than any other country, has a responsibility and an opportunity to lead the world in the right direction. Navigating the legal vagaries and facing up to the powerful fossil fuel industry won’t be easy, but this is an extraordinary opportunity. We know that if we do nothing, we’ll bury ourselves under mountains of plastic. But if we try, we can rewrite the geologic record of our planet.” Food for thought!

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JOURNEY WITH US: The Climate Action Team is for you. Yes, you. Because you want to act on your love for the planet and because you need caring companions as you navigate these changing times. Learn all about the group here, and check out our lending library and Carbon Offset Fund. You can also request to join the Climate Action Team on Realm. Contact Jon Reese to connect to the CAT and join us for our next meeting on Zoom on Monday, Dec. 18, at 7:30 PM.