Guest Blog Post: “Ben Schiendelman: Bagless in Seattle”*

Ben is quick on the draw. I (Celine) wrote about meeting him and his subsequent plastic challenge conversion about week ago. We met during my last trip to Portland. The gin was his fault. Here is his first guest blog about how one goes disposable free in the Emerald City.

He doesn’t mention it in his post but Ben is working on launching (just sign up for the updates for now… expect awesomness later). He also has his own super rad blog here.

*my title, not his. haha

Hi everyone!

As you read in Celine’s post, trying to avoid plastic isn’t new to me – but it’s not something I’ve focused on in recent years. I live in Seattle, where like BC, we have mostly hydro power, and we also have a large central city with a strong downtown that’s ripe for transit investment. Our largest consumption of fossil fuels is in the ridiculous amount of driving people do in our city – so my advocacy here has been in pushing for fast, reliable, electric mass transit to give people a better way to get around.

But as you all know, that’s only part of the equation! We do a lot on the legislative level – this month, our city banned plastic grocery bags (mostly), and we’re working on passing the same law for the entire state. But in order to pass legislation like this, we need to show people first that there are better solutions. That’s why I’m so excited about Passing Up Plastic – it makes people consider the alternatives they have already and become open to making these changes permanently.

I’m actually doing something a little different than Celine and Carol-Lynne. I’m trying to eliminate my use of any disposable goods, if I can, not just plastic. My employer’s cafeteria provides disposable plastic cutlery – ‘compostable’ to make you feel better – and paper plates and bowls. After getting back from Portland, one of the first things I did was bring a pair of chopsticks, a spoon and a bowl to work, to not only eliminate the cutlery, but also the trash! Producing a paper plate takes as much fossil fuel to create and ship as any plastic wrapper. Of course, so does a ceramic bowl and a pair of wooden chopsticks – but only once, rather than adding more fossil fuel every use!

I’ll write more soon about the mistakes I’ve already made, and what I’ve done about them.



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