Over the past six months of preparing for our environmental campaign, I’ve received quite an education about plastics, recycling, and the future of the planet. I’ve been appalled by my own dependence on what’s easy and convenient in spite of my self-proclaimed identity as “environmentally conscientious”. I’m reminded of the old adage about ignorance being bliss.

In an attempt to assuage my feelings of guilt and purge plastics from my kitchen, I recycled all the plastic containers in my cabinets. Then I thought about the plastic sandwich and storage bags we use, and there’s the huge roll of plastic wrap! What about all the plastic packaging we throw away from the things we buy? How much of it is recyclable and how much goes to a landfill? I began to realize it’s not so easy being green!

I started inspecting everything I buy in the grocery store and elsewhere for excessive and unnecessary plastic packaging. I now read labels, not for the content of the product, but for the recyclability of the package. Strangers eye me suspiciously as I stand in the International aisle muttering to myself – debating whether the cellophane window in the box of fettucine makes the cardboard box un-recyclable.

The more I try to behave responsibly, the more questions I have. Can you put foil in the recycle? What about styrofoam? Do you have to wash everything before you recycle it, or is just rinsing it off good enough? Can all plastic go in the recycling bin? If you put the wrong thing in your recycling will they sort it out and fix your mistakes? 

I envision my future great-grandchildren weeping for my ignorance. “But I have reusable shopping bags in the trunk of my car,” I protest! “I actually washed cloth diapers when my children were babies! I’ve paid extra for recycling pickup for years,” (although I’ve probably been doing it all wrong). Oh the guilt – the humanity.

Plastic is not only ruining the planet, it’s ruining my inner peace! I refuse to be controlled by some petroleum-based man-made upstart. So, come Monday I am declaring my independence from the tyranny of plastic. I have an inalienable right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of sustainable food storage. This is war!

Jinny Sauer Bastianelli – BRFM Newsletter Coordinator