Could You Live ‘Plastic Free’?

Could You Live ‘Plastic Free’?

Look at the photo above. What do you think about the statements printed on the totebags? To what degree, if at all, do you agree?

Do you ever “refuse plastic,” perhaps by bringing your own bags to stores, avoiding takeout containers, drinking from a cup rather than using a plastic straw (or bringing your own metal one) or employing other tactics?

In “Life Without Plastic Is Possible. It’s Just Very Hard,” Steven Kurutz writes:

Plastic purgers need to rearrange their lives to avoid the offending material. If a restaurant serves food only on plastic plates, they won’t eat there. Fast food? Most wrappers contain plastic. Smoothies from a juice bar? Unless they put the smoothie in a stainless-steel to-go cup, move on, or make your own at home. Bread? Buy it from a local bakery to avoid fresh-seal bags.

But there are certain situations where plastics are unavoidable. Try having a medical procedure without using a plastic syringe or an intravenous drip bag. Plastic water bottles can be indispensable after natural disasters.

Despite their best efforts, the purgers all say they can’t totally banish plastic from their lives. For Ms. Cohen, it’s a favorite hairbrush she has had for decades. And Ms. Terry confronts the limits of her plastic ban each time she visits the pharmacy, where no pharmacist would put medicine in a Mason jar.

Students, read the entire article, then tell us:

— What, if anything, in the details about how people are avoiding plastic do you find appealing? Do any of these approaches seem prohibitively inconvenient or expensive to incorporate into your routines? If so, what?

— Do you think the goal of using no plastic products is attainable? What about simply cutting down?

— If you tried to live totally plastic free, what would be the biggest challenge for you? Why do you say that?

— Do you try to use fewer plastic products these days? Do you try to recycle when possible? How about your family?

— Where in your life do you see the most unnecessary waste, whether it’s plastic or anything else? What, if anything, do you think can done to address the issue?

— Check out the related article “9 Ways to Cut Down on Plastic.” Do you employ any of the tactics? If so, how difficult has it been? How worthwhile? Are there other methods for decreasing the amount of plastic you use, either named in the article or not, that you’d like to try?

Students 13 and older are invited to comment. All comments are moderated by the Learning Network staff, but please keep in mind that once your comment is accepted, it will be made public.