There are a lot of ways that we already go green in our house, like composting our food waste, recycling our recyclables, and using the laundry water to water the garden but, I’m almost embarrassed to say that remembering to bring my bags in the grocery store has been one of the hardest green habits for me to develop. I always remember them when I am at the checkout when its already too late. Moving back to the islands after living in Georgia and South Carolina for nearly a decade reminded me how Hawaii as a state is much farther along than other parts of the country in making it a plastic free state. In the south most grocery stores still default to using a plastic bag if you don’t tell them differently. It’s exciting to live in a state where plastic free is becoming the norm and legislature is there to support it. Now that we at HOK are doing this plastic free challenge I am going to fully commit to bringing my own bag and say no thank you even if it’s a paper bag. How am I going to stay fully committed? I’ve decided that if I forget my bags in my car again, then I have to carry everything out and bag it in the car. I’m sure this will get old quickly and I’ll have my BYOB habit down in no time!
Did you know:
. Americans use about 100 billion plastic bags per year
. You can drive one mile with the oil required to make just 14 plastic bags
. It’s estimated to take 500+ years for a plastic bag to break down in a landfill.
So, stock up on some truly reusable shopping bags. Keep some in your car or purse so you will always have them on hand. Post your challenge wins and fails with #HOKplasticfreechallenge for a chance to win each week.
HOK Staff Story...
Sunday is grocery day at my house, and it’s kind of a family affair. Not only do we like to do the grocery shopping together, but we also take time to plan our menu (so we know exactly what to buy) and prep lunches and snacks for the week. We have been in this routine for quite a few years now and it definitely helps keep us on track with healthy meals and snacks but it took time make it an easy routine.
It also took time to make bringing our own bags part of the routine. In the beginning, even if I remembered to bring bags sometimes I’d forget them in the car. Countless times I’ve stepped up to the register, reusable bag on my arm (or in my purse), watched my groceries be bagged and THEN remembered that I had my own bag. Then along came my husband, I had to buy some ‘manly’ reusable bags to get him onboard and now he even uses the bags to pack his daily lunch. WIN!
So yesterday, as we were in the checkout line, I ran outside to grab a box of cookies from the hypnotizingly cute little Girl Scouts, and then met my husband at the car. As we were loading the groceries I noticed it...a plastic bag, GASP! There it was mixed in with 4 of our 5 reusable bags, and all it had in it was the 2 packs of ground turkey. I held up the bag towards my husband with a questioning look (he knows about the month of mini challenges) and he said it was for the meat with an apologetic look. I’ll blame the bagger ;) because I would have chose to use our own bag to separate meat rather than use a plastic bag. So there we have it, challenge FAIL.
Next time I’ll try not to get distracted by the Girl Scout cookies!
As April approaches, and everyone kicks in to Earth Month mode, we are sure to see an onslaught of events, tips, and tricks to help us be more eco-conscious consumers, reduce our carbon impact or even totally eliminate waste from our lives. But for some people, these life changes can seem like that New Year's resolution that we are still planning to start; a great idea, something we desire, but we just haven't equipped ourselves with the tools to succeed.
We want to give you the tools to be able to make bigger and more permanent changes in your life. So, for the month of March, Hui o Ko`olaupoko is encouraging our supporters to join our weekly plastic-free mini challenges.
Whether you are an old pro at living plastic free or you want to learn why plastic consumption is such an issue, you can join our staff each week as we pose a new challenge and give you the tips to succeed.
Every Saturday evening we will post the week's challenge to our Facebook & Instagram page. We want you to post pictures of your challenge successes (and fails) with the hashtag #HOKplasticfreechallenge for a chance to will HOK logo gear each week.
The first challenge will be posted the evening of Saturday March 3rd, so stay tuned!
Great websites for plastic free living resources...
Local Organizations... Sustainable Coastlines, Plastic Free Hawaii, Kokua Hawaii Foundation, 808 Cleanups.
For the beginner... One whole week seem too tough? Start small with plasticfreetuesday, One day a week no plastic consumption and no plastic waste.
The next step...zerowastechef poses challenges that may take you a few days or multiple weeks to get the hang of.
Step up your game... Think you are ready to go totally waste free? Check out this woman's journey to being able to live virtually wast free for 2 years.
And of course, the universal hashtag plasticfreechallenge, A social media event to focus on solutions to the plastic pollution problem fueled by your creative contributions, Take the Challenge Share Your Experiences.
The mission of Hui o Ko`olaupoko is to protect ocean health by restoring the `aina: mauka to makai. This is done in partnership with stakeholders including interested citizens, non-governmental organizations, government, educational institutions and businesses while using and focusing on sound ecological principles, community input, and cultural heritage.