I am easily swayed. Some may call it gullible, I prefer “easily motivated”.
When I was thirteen I stopped eating meat because of a letter-writing assignment I was given in school. The assignment was to write ten letters to politicians or heads of companies to express our opinion against their business practices. I chose animal testing and animal rights and after writing my ten letters to Proctor and Gamble and Maybelline, I decided that if testing products on animals was bad, eating them was worse, and I was going to stop eating meat. I continued to be a vegetarian for about ten years. All because of a seventh grade writing assignment. Well, that and the fact Bop! magazine said that Cory Feldman was a vegetarian, and I looOooOved Cory Feldman. (Shut up, I was thirteen!)
When I got married and moved into my first house, I vowed to be environmentally friendly and use only non-toxic cleaning products. I loved Real Goods catalog and dreamed if having my own solar panels. I reused plastic bags and bought canvas bags to bring my groceries home in. I went out of my way to buy Doc Bronner’s soap to use for laundry detergent and I never bought paper towels or napkins. Then life got busy, and that wonderful Doc Bronner’s soap is expensive, and I fell in love with soft, cottony Marcal paper towels. Sometimes I’d wash my plastic bags to reuse them, sometimes the bag dryer would sit on my counter for months without being used. I still brought my bags to the grocery store and separated my recycling, but the other stuff sort of fell to the wayside.
Then last week I listened to a presentation about sustainable design. The speaker talked about how much of the stuff we buy (especially packaging) is designed to be thrown away, and how plastic is here forever, and how so much of it ends up in the ocean where it breaks down and is eaten by the fish which are in turn eaten by us. Something in that presentation flipped the “Save the Earth” switch in my head and I now have a renewed fire to do all those things I used to do to use less and reuse more. I’m also constantly aware of how much plastic is around me and how I can’t get away from it.
Like I said, I bring my bags to the grocery store, I’ve replaced my old canvas bags with all of the long-handled green bags the grocery stores sell now. They’re great, but there was still one thing that was bothering me. It was the plastic produce bags I was brining home. It seemed backwards to fill my reusable shopping bags with plastic that I was taking home to throw away. I saw some great reusable produce bags on Etsy but they were sold out. Being the impatient one that I am, I couldn’t wait for her to make more so I made my own out of some scrap fabric and an old laundry bag. Neat, huh?
I’m very excited about them. Last night I made a small one, about 11 x 10″ and a larger one, about 11 x 14″. I used my favorite bias tape maker to bind them, and I think they’re perfect! Tonight I want to make a couple more and hopefully this weekend I’ll test them out at the local farmer’s market (the link says they don’t open until June but they had signs up saying they were open last weekend). Maybe it’s time to dust off those old Birkenstock’s and look into that solar panel again.