How it all got started
This effort was born out of my frustration and anxiety with plastic waste. Sure, I’ve always known that plastic bags and straws are bad for the environment and I’ve stopped using them, but when you start looking around you notice that your life is full of plastic. Our food is wrapped in plastic, our cleaning products and cosmetics are in plastic bottles, there’s plastic in our clothes, and don’t even get me started with kids toys.
None of this should be a huge revelation. We’ve been told about the massive plastic swirls in the ocean, about the turtles and whales that die because they eat plastic waste, about microplastics, and about our broken recycling system that is not able to handle all the plastic waste that we produce. I remember watching the Plastic China documentary and feeling sick to my stomach. And yet, I’ve kept on buying plastic products.
For years, I have dutifully carried my tote bags to the store and cleaned, dried, and recycled all plastic containers that I can. I stopped using plastic bags for my fruits and veggies over ten years ago. But these actions seem so miniscule compared to all the plastic that has crept into my life.
My daughter just turned one and I’m raising her in a world that is burning. The West Coast is suffering from a mega drought and massive wildfires have become so common that the number of acres that are burning barely registers. I keep on envisioning the day when she asks me “mom, how did you let this happen?” And how will I answer that question? Using plastic was easy and convenient. We liked to travel. Factory farming made food cheap. Our personal choices didn’t really matter if you compare them to big polluters. Did I mention China and all the coal they burned?
Our personal choices are important, but they are not enough to tackle an issue that is this big. We want to encourage companies to use more ecological packaging, push legislators to enact meaningful changes, and demand better recycling options.
What’s up with the name?
Plastiikki is an old-fashioned term for plastic in Finnish. It takes us back to the 1950’s and the era when we fell in love with plastic and its endless possibilities.
As author Susan Freinkel wrote in her book Plastics: A Toxic Love Story, “In product after product, market after market, plastics challenged traditional materials and won, taking the place of steel in cars, paper and glass in packaging, and wood in furniture.”