Local group resolves on No New Plastic

Seven families choose not to incur, utilize anything plastic for one week

Posted: Sunday, July 05, 2009

For one week, seven Juneau families decided to not bring any new plastic into their homes.

The idea, called No New Plastic, was sparked by Anji Gallanos, who started the group with friends and by advertising on Juneau Parents Yahoo board and at her son's kindergarten class. It was intended as an experiment to raise personal awareness.

Seven families eventually joined and decided on the week of June 22 to 28.

"No new plastic means that we choose to not incur or utilize anything plastic," Gallanos said.

"What we were trying to do was become aware of the amount of new consumable plastic that is in our lives and determine what barriers we would face in reducing plastic usage."

Those barriers often came from familiar sources.

"It was apparent the first day that when the Empire showed up in those orange bags that we had already broken our own rules," Gallanos said.

For Gallanos, the week raised her awareness of how more conventional means of decreasing plastic use weren't enough.

"Even though you felt like you're doing a great thing carrying reusable bags to the grocery store," Gallanos said, "(I realized) the inside of what I was carrying out was 80 percent plastic packaging."

The group made a facebook page where they documented their experiences as well as ideas to creatively reuse plastic, like one link to a YouTube video about crocheting plastic bags.

Here are some of the posts:

Day 1, from Elizabeth: "Led a retreat yesterday and when the food arrived I gasped. all in plastic. Piles of it. Not at my house, but I still felt responsible."

Day 5, from Gallanos: "Went to Costco yesterday and without thinking managed to use no less than four plastic spoons within what probably amounted to less than 5 minutes. Really made me think about how conscious I need to be all the time. Costco was impossible."

Day 7, from Vita: "It is discouraging when conserving plastic costs more (at least up front) than buying new plastic. Example: I purposely saved my empty liquid dish washing container to refill at Rainbow Foods. It was $2.39 pound, I think, to fill with their dish washing liquid. Or, I could spend almost a dollar less and buy a new bottle at Wal-Mart."

Gallanos presented the information from No New Plastic to a meeting of Turning the Tides, and they have plans of doing another week sometime in September. They wil have a table at the Farmer's Market for families who want more information.

For more about No New Plastic and what they discovered during their week, visit www.facebook.com/pages/No-New-Plastic-Juneau/214564295079.

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