By Laura Keil

Spring is a welcome time for most — gardeners begin planning their growing season, mountain bikers tune up their bikes, and everyone is just a little happier from the extra sunshine.

But with the snowmelt comes an unfortunate reminder of humanity’s pollution problem. All along our roads and highways are bottles, cans, bags and wrappers. It prompts many to call for community clean-ups, and this is great, of course. What I wish, though, is that more people would rally for a change to the source of our garbage problem – our throw-away culture that produces this trash in the first place.

It’s almost counter-productive to clean up our streets, when it is a key reminder that we should actually be reducing our consumption of plastic packaging. Over my lifetime, change has been achingly slow, and in many cases things have gotten worse. Grocery stores have dropped plastic bags, but I’m dismayed to see how often produce is already packaged in plastic, twine or other one-time non-biodegradable materials.

One of the big line items on the Regional District budget is servicing the regional landfill. There is a real cost to all of us to service our garbage habit.

I don’t want this editorial to be just a complaint fest. So I’m going to “throw out” a few easy ways to reduce consumption of plastic waste. 

  1. Re-fill your soap and laundry detergent containers, rather than buying new ones. In Valemount, you can do so at Infinity Office and Health. 
  2. Avoid buying fruit and vegetables that are already plasticized. Bring reusable mesh bags or simply put them in your basket without!
  3. Voice your support for reusable packaging (and purchase items that have less)
  4. Ask for no lid on your take-out coffee.
  5. Purchase reusable items for your workplace or event
  6. Purchase or grow locally-grown foods that aren’t prepackaged

What do you do to reduce your plastic consumption? Share your ideas with us at [email protected] or comment on this story online.