The last straw


This spring, Julie and I dined at a restaurant which had joined the as-yet-unknown-to-us movement to get rid of plastic straws.  A sign announced that they would not bring a straw with your drink, but they were available for the asking.

We found it a great idea. I wondered why, for those who prefer a straw, we couldn’t go back to paper ones.  (Remember those?  I had forgotten that for years we used paper straws.)

But do we need a straw, at all?  The next time we dined out, the young lady brought straws.  We mentioned the new movement, indicating that she could take those two straws back with her.

I always used a straw to keep the ice at bay. The couple of times we’ve dined out, since learning of the push to get rid of plastic straws and the bane they are, along with all the other single-use plastic which clogs our landfills and pollutes our water, I’ve sipped my restaurant water directly from the cup. Somehow, I’ve survived.

We own these metal straws, Julie’s choice for using with her metal (not plastic!) water bottle.

Regarding plastic bags, some cities have enacted ordinances banning those. Debate amongst yourselves the merits of this ban as I tell you that when Julie and I married in 2001 she already was taking cloth bags to stores. I had not been doing that, and immediately—and easily!—made the switch.

The key, of course, is to remember to take them. A decade ago, we switched to the ChicoBag, as pictured here. Julie found these bags and our church school sold them as a fundraiser. We bought the leftover bags. When folks have admired them, we’ve given them a bag, hoping to get them hooked.


Here’s why you want to invest in ChicoBag. They are super-durable. We’ve yet to cause a tear in one. We cram them full, weigh them down, and try to stress them out. They’ve handled everything.

They take up little room. We stuff five bags into one, and they still take up little room. And, to be sure we always have them with us, we stuff the stuffed bag into the pocket of the passenger-side front seat—the pocket that is attached to the back of the seat. It didn’t take long for it to become routine, when heading to a store, to reach over and pull those out, put them on the front seat, and remember to take them into the store.

Of course, on occasion, we wind up with plastic bags. We use them in many ways, as most folks do. At times, they go into the recycle bin. In Indianapolis, one has to pay for recycling. We gladly do, finding it an important thing to do.

I empty the blue recycling basket several times a week, while the garbage can takes two weeks to fill.
It only seems right that a two car family would also be a two bin family!  I like that the recycling bin is pretty close to my home state University of Michigan’s maize and blue.

We separate so much garbage that we only put out the regular trash bin every-other week. The recycle bin fills up much more quickly. Besides plastic, paper, cardboard, and glass going in there, our kitchen scraps—veggies and coffee grounds and eggshells—go into the bucket, below, then onto our compost heap. At least twice a year, I empty our compost bin. The compost goes into the garden, strengthening and refreshing the soil.

The bucket is stored under our kitchen sink.  You might be wondering: doesn’t it stink?  Because it contains no meat, it rarely stinks.  I wash the bucket every few loads, to stave off a foul odor.
The compost is tossed onto the heap, where it mingles with some of last autumn’s leaves.  When I empty the bin, at right, where the compost is doing what Beethoven did with music he didn’t like—decomposing—I refill it from the heap.  Last autumn, the heap was at the top of the fence.

If you are thinking that plastic straws don’t take up much room, I hope you will ponder their cumulative effect.  Then add bags.  And containers.  And the many and various one-use plastic things that go from store, to home, to landfill.

I never considered myself a super-environmentally-friendly person, but, perhaps, I am.  While I am not in the camp which thinks that global warming is destined to kill us off, neither am I with those who insist that it’s not a thing.  My attitude toward the world is biblical; we are to be good stewards of it.  Julie and I are purposeful in these matters.  I hope that you are, too.

We, the average consumer, have more power than we might think in the pursuit of a healthy world.  Now, if you will excuse me, I have potatoes to dig—potatoes which grew larger than last year, as, when planting, I filled each hole with fresh compost, which I made myself.

I spaced my rows the usual 2 1/2 feet.  The potatoes grew so large that they fell over into the row.  Oh, baby, I can’t wait to dig me some spuds!

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