Why You Should NOT Do a Plastic Purge

August 15, 2020

Plastic gets a lot of hate (mostly deserved, in our opinion). Once plastic is created, we’re stuck with it for a REALLY long time. If we create a disposable product out of plastic, we’re getting a short-term use for hundreds (or thousands) of years of trash. Such a bad idea.

That said, the current craze for plastic purges is sometimes shortsighted. In many cases, people eliminate household and personal items made of plastic or synthetics and replace them with materials like glass, bamboo, wood, etc. The problem isn’t what you’re replacing the plastic with—it’s the throwing away of perfectly usable items.

Manufacturing creates pollution. And transportation of goods causes pollution. And disposing of waste causes pollution. So don’t go and get rid of things you could have used for years. The new things have to be manufactured (pollution) and transported (pollution) and your old plastic has to be disposed of (more pollution).

It would be far better to use everything you own for as long as you can. And by all means, reduce your intake of plastic if you want to! The three “R’s” of conscious consumption are not all created equal—“reducing” is good, “recycling” is problematic (but hopefully it will get better, so please continue!), and “reusing” is golden. If you reuse something, you (indirectly) prevent a new one from being needed and manufactured. Less trash, less pollution from manufacturing, less pollution from transportation.

In general, the products that are “greenest” are the ones that last the longest. An organic hemp item that lasts one month is not as green as a plastic item that lasts for years (sounds crazy, but there’s a lot of science to back this up). Don’t get us wrong—we’re not cheerleading for plastic. But creating any new item is hard on the planet, so let’s not do it unless we have to.

What we’re advocating for is choosing items that last a long time. We’re against buying single-use items at all, ESPECIALLY plastics. If you have to choose between a plastic fork and a bamboo fork, choose the bamboo. But it would be even better to bring your own fork and skip the disposable altogether.

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