The big news headline to shock and disappoint me this week, is without a doubt the 87,000 tons of ocean plastic that are floating inside ‘The Great Pacific Garbage Patch’, a figure up to 16 times higher than previously estimated. Apparently, there’s 1.8 trillion pieces of trash, and plastic that make up 99.9% of this debris and cover an area twice the size of Texas. The question, I found myself asking, is what can I do? And my own response to this catastrophic news has to be, stop buying plastic in any form!
One of my first moves towards living a lighter existence was converting completely (well, 95%) to buying organic food, something I have been moving towards for several years and finally put into action in January this year. In my mind, something grown without the use of chemicals has to be better for us and the planet, than something that has been grown using chemicals, however much governments and businesses try to persuade us otherwise. Anyone buying organic produce knows that it is costly, I reckon that by buying all organic produce, my weekly shopping bill has increased by 30 to 40%. I am very happy to accept this on an ethical basis, as I believe, the more organic produce that is bought the less costly it will eventually become and thereby affordable for everyone; if I want this to happen I have to put my money where my mouth is!
My biggest gripe with changing over to organic products, particular in the USA, where I am currently living, is discovering that organic products in supermarkets are heavily packaged in plastic. I stood in Whole Foods Market, this week in disbelief, looking at the organic spinach, sitting in large plastic containers and the non-organic products with less plastic wrapping and packaging. For the first time this year I decided not to buy organic spinach, and I went for less packaged, yet chemically sprayed option. I had the same problem yesterday as I shopped at Trader Joe’s, as I stood looking at the variety of organic peanut butters all packed in plastic containers, finally way down at the bottom of the shelf stood the only glass jar that I could find and again not only was the product non-organic, it was low sodium too! I am pleased to say subsequently in Smith’s I tracked down St Cruz, one brand of organic peanut butter that tastes great and is in a glass jar. Well done St Cruz, hopefully your competitors will follow soon!
So where do I go? Do I buy organic food that is packaged heavily in plastic or the non-organic products that seem to carry less packaging yet have been sprayed using all sorts of chemicals, that I know nothing about. One thing is for sure, it is a dilemma that I am going to continue to face until organic farmers and food produces stop and really think about the impact, of not only the chemicals used in production, but also the chemicals that are being put back into our oceans from the packaging they produce.