Apparently Beth Terry is having more of an influence on me than I thought.
Last week I had a freelance editing gig downtown, and I did not manage to pack a lunch at home (I blame Mini-Mouth, who did not want me to abandon her). When I left the office to forage for food on that first day, I discovered something interesting: that I couldn't bring myself to buy certain edibles that I normally would have... because of their packaging. I had gone to a market with a deli counter offering all manner of delicious-looking salads, pastas, and the like, but I had no way of getting them without also getting their plastic tubs, and that bothered me.
It bothered me enough to make me keep looking for other options until I found something plastic-free. I ended up with a Greek wrap (encased in paper) and some tomato soup (in a compostable bowl, sans plastic lid, which got me a weird look at the cash register).
The next day I passed over a tiny Japanese place with yummy-looking noodles (they had no ceramic bowls or plates, even if you ate there) and went with a burrito from a stand across the street.
I find this fascinating because I hadn't purposefully set out to "be like Beth" and radically cut my plastic consumption. It was much more subtle than that. It was as if some new wind current had entered the atmosphere of my subconscious, without my even realizing it completely, and yet... there I was, changing my purchasing behavior.
The tipping point was probably when Terry commented (in Facebook, not here) on my recent post about envelopes, informing me that the West Coast ships most of its plastic "recycling" to China, where it is either processed by workers laboring under often-toxic conditions or burned for energy. Not, as she said, what most of us have in mind when we think of recycling.
Now, I know that my individual lunch choices amount to zilch in the face of, say, the huge issues associated with climate change that world leaders recently met to discuss. And I'm not saying I'll never again buy any food item that's packaged in plastic (in fact, a quick glance at our grocery bags from this weekend shows that I already have).
But it's safe to say that a new level of awareness has undeniably crept into my psyche, and it will be interesting to see how it manifests in the future.