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Living plastic-free in February: Online group attempts the impossible

February 1, 2011 |  1:48 pm


February is traditionally noteworthy for one thing: Valentine's Day. But the website may change that with its Plastic-Free Challenge, kicking off today and running throughout the month.

For each of the month's four weeks, a different blogger will attempt to live entirely plastic free and write about the experience. The three main rules of the challenge: No buying or acquiring new plastic; no cooking with plastic or storing food in plastic; and minimizing all other plastic use as much as possible.

"It seemed like at every editorial meeting we have, we look at these big environmental problems, like plastic in the ocean," said Leah Zerbe, online editor of Rodale, publisher of the healthful lifestyle magazine Prevention. "We always try to bring it down to how it's affecting you or your family’s health and what you can do about it. At least every week we’re talking about something plastic related."

Zerbe, 29, will be tackling Week 3 of the challenge. Topping her list of strategies will be eating more whole foods (so she doesn't purchase items in plastic wrapping) and buying bulk foods from co-ops that she will tote in cloth bags. Instead of bottled shampoo, she plans to use Dr. Bronner's bar soap.

"I’m going to have to look at being vegan if I’m going to stay true to this," Zerbe said. "It’ll be tough, and I don’t know if I can do it. It’s kind of eye-opening."

-- Susan Carpenter

Photo: Plastic bag costume representing an average American's annual plastic bag use. Credit: Silver Lake Chamber of Commerce