Helping Oil Go the way of the Dinosaurs

The nation’s detrimental dependency on oil has led me to ask, what can I do as an individual to help with the country’s push toward renewables?

My boyfriend and I live in the city and don’t own a car, and we do a lot of walking, as well as use public transportation and car-share services like Car2Go, ReachNow, and Zipcar. I don’t know what to do about air travel yet since we have lots of family all over the country that we need to see every year. That’s going to be a tough nut to crack.

One major way I know how to help move away from oil and towards renewables is by using less plastic. I only learned a couple of years ago that plastic is made from oil. I knew that it was bad for the environment because of garbage choking baby animals etc., but I didn’t know that plastic was a two-fold problem.

My boyfriend and I have already greatly reduced the amount of plastic we use, but we can definitely do better. We haven’t had cellophane and Ziplock bags in the house in years, and really, it’s only once in a while when we’re like, “Damn it! I wish I had a Ziplock bag!” Whenever my mother sends me knitted things she usually puts them in a Ziplock bag, which then becomes an exciting event because we now have one that we can use over and over until it turns to shreds. A great alternative to cellophane that we recently discovered is Beeswrap. It’s cotton cloth and wax that you can cover open containers with; it sticks and seals really well.

We save and reuse takeout containers too, but takeout is where we can do better. Luckily, a lot of places in town use Fabri-Kal’s Greenware, which is plastic containers made from vegetable matter instead of oil. However, a couple of our favorite places use standard plastic that can be recycled, but it would better if it were compostable containers since our area does industrial composting.

Other random items we use are compostable garbage bags for both the compost and the regular garbage, reusable cloth produce and grocery bags, and razors and toothbrushes made from recycled yogurt cups (Preserve Products). Like I said, we can always do better, and every time we make a household purchase decision we research better products or alternatives. Packaging has improved some in stores, but it can definitely be better as well.

So as an individual, I can support renewable energy efforts by reducing my dependency on oil and letting people know about the tricks and products that have worked for me.