We're a week into "Plastics-Free February," and as expected the project is generating some attention -- including from some Plastics Blog readers, who are pointing out some chinks in the effort. As a reminder, the project is sponsored by Rodale Inc., the publisher of magazines including Runner's World, Men's Health and Prevention. Rodale's staffers are taking a stab at minimizing their use of plastics this month -- primarily in single-use disposables, packaging and food preparation/storage. They've also recruited a significant number of bloggers to participate. The rules are: 1. No buying or acquiring new plastic. 2. No cooking with plastic or storing food in plastic. 3: Minimize all other plastic use. Judging from the number of Twitter posts with the #noplastic hashtag, "Plastics-Free February" is generating a fair amount of attention in the world of social media. I see a few trends. First, no one is questioning whether trying to live without plastics is a worthy goal. The universal assumption is that plastics are something that consumers should avoid. There are plenty of stories about bloggers substituting a product made of paper or some other material for plastic. But I haven't seen any serious thought about the pros and cons of different materials. Second, they're discovering that living without plastic these days is just about impossible. Even minimizing it is very inconvenient. Bloggers are finding that they can find food without plastic packaging. But that often means lifestyle changes -- like buying different products or shopping at specialty stores. And that doesn't even scratch the surface. Packaging and single-use disposables are the main target of "Plastics-Free February," but really living up to all the goals -- including no buying or acquiring new plastic and minimizing all other plastic use -- requires lifestyle changes that few are willing or able to accept. Some Plastics Blog readers pointed out that readers of Rodale's magazines would have a tough time even making adjustments to their hobbies and leisure activities. "I'd just love to see the subscribers to Runners World attempt to do their aerobic thing sans plastics," one wrote. "I was in a running shoe store on Saturday and there were polyesters, polypropylenes, polyethylenes, polyurethanes, polyamides and poly- this that and everything else on display throughout the store!" Another pointed out that the latest Men's Health magazine has an article about the best way to cook a steak -- which includes putting the meat in a Ziploc bag and cooking it slowly in hot water first. "I bet that [article] gets more readers than their blog does," the reader wrote to me. I agree, the average Men's Health reader probably is more interested in cooking a delicious steak than in finding an alternative to his plastic toothbrush. I'll keep watching the "Plastics-Free February" blogs for more insight, and I encourage more feedback from readers.
Hypocrisy in 'Plastics-Free February'
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