Can you live a day without plastics? That's the premise of a story in the Big Bear Lake, Calif., Grizzly, which I'm sure many Plastics News readers will appreciate. Here's an excerpt_
Ellen likes to think she's doing her part to lessen America's dependence on foreign oil. She owns a hybrid car, takes her plastic bottles and cans to Big Bear Disposal and combines errands in one trip so she uses less gasoline. But she thinks she can do more. She comes up with an idea to go without oil for 24 hours. She's excited about her oil-free experiment, at least until she realizes there's a foot of snow on the ground and it's 12 degrees outside. But Ellen figures her hybrid car can be an exception to the experiment. After all she has errands to run for the family. The night before her project, Ellen goes through her closet to decide what to wear on the big day. A frown forms as she examines the labels -- acrylic, faux fur, micro fibers, nylon, nytril, olefin, polyester, polypropylene, spandex. She's not even sure about clothing made from natural fibers. The dyes may be petroleum based. The zippers and buttons certainly are. This is going to be harder than she first thought. Ellen decides she has to be able to wear clothes. It won't do to run errands in her birthday suit. After a restless night, Ellen finally gets to sleep. But Ellen, who unplugged her clock because most appliances including clocks are plastic, oversleeps. Usually, when someone sleeps late, a cup of coffee is in order. Ellen starts the coffee maker then suddenly remembers that thing about plastic. She hears Homer Simpson's signature "d'oh" ringing in her head. No coffee for Ellen. She also decides to skip breakfast. The orange juice is in a plastic jug. The stove, while natural gas, has plastic components, and the spatula Ellen uses to scramble eggs is, well, plastic. There's another dilemma in the bathroom. The shampoo may include petroleum-based detergent, but even if it doesn't, the bottle is plastic. The soap Ellen wants to use is pure, but the packaging includes plastic. She groans in frustration as she has a soapless shower then almost slips on the wet tile because she didn't close the plastic shower curtain. Ellen uses her finger to brush her teeth because the toothbrush is made from synthetic materials. She hopes her morning breath isn't too bad and vows to cover her mouth with her hand when she talking during the day.There's more, of course. Ellen discovers she can't wear cosmetics, can't buy many products at the grocery store, can't use a credit card or write a check with a pen, can't read her mail, can't do chores, can't relax in front of the TV ... well, you get the picture. It's an interesting idea for a column, and it helps to put all the talk about banning plastics into perspective. There's a lot more to the plastics industry than grocery bags and carry-out food containers, and most people aren't willing to give them all up.