Could you give up plastic for an entire month? Rodale.com has challenged green bloggers and readers to embrace a Plastic-Free February... are you up for it?
The ground rules include no buying or cooking with plastic, and Rodale.com encourages minimizing all other plastic use as well.
But why should people go plastic free? Rodale.com explains that plastic is made from nonrenewable resources, petroleum or natural gas. Highly toxic chemicals, such as bisphenol A and phthalates are often added to plastics. According to Huffington Post contributor Wallace J. Nichols, BPA exposure increases a child's risk of cancer and reproductive disorders.
And there are very few widely recycled plastics. The EPA reports that in 2009, only seven percent of total plastic waste was recycled. Seven percent, out of the 30 million tons of plastic waste generated in one year.
The challenge has already proven to be... a challenge, according to Rodale.com's Dana Blinder who has offered updates. Recently, she faced a problem when purchasing new furniture, and ultimately gave in to the plastic, but remarked, "Join the challenge, Ikea!" Blinder also took a good look at her office, specifically the items on her desk. From plastic dividers, to headphones, to a tape dispenser, plastic surrounds her world. In an earlier post, she stated, "Now that I'm on this mission, I'm noticing even more how plastic is coating every inch of our lives."
Nichols offers some simple ways to cut down on plastic. Use containers that are reusable, and refuse plastic bottles. Carry real flatware with you in your car or bag. Say no to straws. You can also cook more and buy less takeout, go vintage, and carry reusable bags. By making just a few simple alterations, people can cut down hugely on their plastic consumption.
To take part in Rodale.com's Plastic-Free February, visit http://www.rodale.com/plastic-free, and contribute to the ups and downs of a plastic-free lifestyle on Rodale.com's twitter feed: Twitter.com/rodalenews. Use the Twitter hash tag #noplastic to share your experiences with the month-long challenge.