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Cecile Corral

A week without plastic? Not even a dinner!

May 27, 2009

My eco-obsessed husband and brother were hoping to take on a challenge that  several others have attempted but few have achieved - a week without plastic.

"It can be done! We can do it," Oscar, my husband, optimistically said to me over dinner the other night.

"Well," I said, pensively, "I don’t know. I’m not so sure it is as easy as it seems."

Not one bit.

Consider the food we — and our pets — eat. Much of it comes in plastic or has plastic components on the packaging. Our yogurt, the cold cuts, the bread, milk jugs, dog food, cookies, even the veggies, are boxed, or sealed in or with plastic. Don’t forget Ziplocks, which I use for my girls’ school sandwiches. They, too, are PLASTIC.

"We’d have to leave the kids out of this," I told Oscar. "Practically everything they eat involves plastic."

He disappointedly agreed, but that didn’t make him give up the challenge altogether - not yet.

"OK, you’re right. You’re right," he said, after a few seconds of pondering the realities. "But WE can try it," he insisted, maintaining a wide and hopeful smile.

"Well," I said again, in my little rain-cloud voice, "let’s dig a little deeper here before you get all gung-ho on me."
Our house has plastic - the PVC plumbing, for example. Our cars have plastic parts. Our bikes, computers, personal care items (shampoo, deodorant, toothpaste, etc.) - all include plastic.

As I went on and on, I could see I had dashed his hopes - might I add over a grilled chicken dinner with a side of broccoli and asparagus (all of which were packaged by our grocery store on Styrofoam platters and wrapped in plastic shrink wrap).

Needless to say, the Corral Plastic-less Challenge remains on the shelf (made of particle board and covered in plastic laminate).

But yesterday I heard my brother and Oscar discussing the possibility of a new challenge - use and buy only Made-in-the-U.S.A. products.

Oh, say, can you see that happening any time soon?

Stay tuned. I’m sure I’ll have an update after dinner tonight.