Monday, March 3, 2008

March - Reusable Container Challenge

February we purged, this month we take steps to make sure our houses don't once again become overrun with stuff. Enter the Reusable Container Challenge. This challenge asks us to take a look at the way we shop, the way we dine, and the way we tote the stuff of our everyday lives from here to there. The American way has led us down a path where we find ourselves carrying our purchases around in plastic bags and carrying our leftover dinners out in Styrofoam boxes. This is, aside from being totally uncool (no one looks hip carrying around a plastic bag, no one), a miserable way to treat our planet. What are plastic bags made from? Oil! Which, last time I checked, is sort of a big deal, the whole oil issue. Consider for a moment a few facts from the website:

  • According to The Wall Street Journal, the U.S. goes through 100 billion plastic shopping bags annually. An estimated 12 million barrels of oil is required to make that many plastic bags.
  • Hundreds of thousands of sea turtles, whales and other marine mammals die every year from eating discarded plastic bags mistaken for food.
  • Each high quality reusable bag you use has the potential to eliminate an average of 1,000 plastic bags over its lifetime. The bag will pay for itself if your grocery store offers a $.05 or $.10 credit per bag for bringing your own bags.
For the month of March we ask you to challenge yourself to take a look at the bags and containers you use to tote around your purchases and see if there is a way to make a change. Can you start bringing your own reusable bags to the grocery store? Can you remember to bring your own reusable containers to the restaurant to bring home your leftovers? Can you start packing your lunch in a reusable lunch box? Can you start buying items in bulk in containers you brought with you to the store to prevent the tide of plastic packaging coming into your house? What step are you ready to commit to this month?

Over the course of the month we will share local resources to help with the challenge (as well as tips that are universal). But we also want to hear from you fellow Lake Country residents!! In order to encourage participation on our little green blog we are doing our very first contest. So exciting! One lucky Lake Country commenter will win the two reusable bags in the photo above, just by leaving a tip or a question or a comment in our comment section anytime this month. While we love to receive comments from anyone, in order to be eligible to win you must live in Waukesha County, Wisconsin. The winner will be drawn from all the eligible commenters at the end of the month.

A bit more info on the bags: they are made from old curtains, upholstery and clothing scraps and were sewn in a solar-powered studio right here in Hartland, WI. So, not only will they help you live a more eco-friendly life, they were also made with the earth in mind.

1 comment:

Earthbound Spirit said...

I committed myself to using reusable bags more often for shopping. Toward that end I ordered a set of 5 reusable grocery bags for myself - and another set for my daughter who lives in an apartment in Chicago. The bags work great - they have a sturdy insert that helps stabilize the bottom (always a problem with cloth bags and groceries), as well as a loop to hook the bag on the plastic bag rack which made the utility clerk's job easier. They're pretty sturdy, though they seem flimsy. My daughter likes them - she & her roommates were awash in plastic bags from the grocery store! AND - the seller throws in an extra item or two with the order. Our extras were a pen on a lanyard (youngest daughter grabbed it), and an insulated shopping bag - big enough for a few smaller items that need to be kept cold.

Here's the link: