Thursday, July 24, 2008

From Plastic Bags to the Cradle

After listening to this story from the archives of NPR's Talk of the Nation, I've learned some important information about banning plastic bags, which was something I was a little obsessed about a little while back.

In short, Ireland's ban of plastic shopping bags has not been a success as they have measured a total increase in plastic consumption since it was instated. It has now been recognized that plastic shopping bags are actually one of the few packaging products that is often re-used. Besides, as one of the speakers gentles chides, it is somewhat absurd for a consumer to drive miles in their SUV to a massive supermarket and only stop to decide the the environmental consequences of the thin plastic bags used to take the heavily-packaged groceries home. So now I'm a little embarrassed about my previous rant about plastic bags.

So now what? I hate when analysis leads to paralysis. What is to be done to move forward?

Well, we need to re-think the entire system and create an understanding and framework that makes the next step clear. And I think I've found it. It is encapsulated in William McDonough's TED Presentation (which is both stark and poetic in its simple encapsulation of complex ideas) and his book, Cradle to Cradle.

And so, I'm taking steps to make the detrius of my life reuseable, recycleable, and compostable.

from cradle to cradle

From cradle to cradle.

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