Plastic-Free February, Day 16

Today I went to lunch with my husband and we ate at a Chinese buffet. This time I remembered to skip the plastic straw.

Conveniently, the buffet offered both wooden chopsticks and plastic forks. I chose the chopsticks and entertained everyone else in the restaurant by chasing my food around the plate. It could be an effective dieting method until I become more proficient with chopsticks.

Plastic Bags

When I went shopping several days ago, I brought my reusable bag. Two items refused to fit in the bag, so the checker pulled out the plastic bags. The two items were shaped such that I couldn’t just tuck them under my arm or anything like that, so I accepted the plastic bag. Next time, I’ll bring more reusable bags than I think I’ll need.

The checker put each item in a separate plastic bag. They weren’t that big. I put them both in one plastic bag and handed her back the other one. She was fine with that (I always worry I’ll hurt someone’s feelings when refusing plastic bags).Β  Still, I broke the rule about acquiring new plastic because of a lack of adequate planning.

Plastic Food

The strangest thing I’ve learned so far in plastic-free February is that we eat plastic. Not in all our foods, but anything that has β€œgum base” in the list of ingredients has plastic in it. I was surprised by that and I didn’t believe it at first.

In the U.S., there are no chewing gums that don’t have plastic in them. Originally, chewing gum was made from tree sap. When I was a kid, Chiclets were my favorite, but even they have gone over to the plastic side. Glee gum is the only U.S. gum that uses any chicle at all (in their plastic gum base).

Wikipedia calls gum base a β€œnon-nutritive, non-digestible, water-insoluble masticatory delivery system”. According to the same article, sugar-free chewing gum has the most gum base at 25-30%.

Apparently, some researchers are trying to come up with a non-plastic gum base made of corn. Biodegradable food – whatever will they think up next?

Image by Thiago Avencini, used with Creative Commons license.

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