Practical Beauty

 In The Artist Date, Weekly Forum Discussion

When I first read this week’s topic, I felt like a failure, like I was going to have to make something up because I do not consciously use alternatives to plastics. I buy fast food drinks with straws. I give my kids pre-packaged snacks in their lunches. I started feeling guilt for my laziness, since when my eldest son started kindergarten almost 6 years ago, I sent him garbage-less lunches. And now, it’s whatever is fast and easy. I wasn’t instantly aware of anything I do regularly, even occasionally, that limits my plastic use. And I felt really bad for neglecting Mother Earth.

And then… I took a drink from my stainless-steel water bottle. The water bottle I have with me ALL THE TIME. I have been drinking from various reusable water bottles for years and years, just changing up the bottle after it’s been dropped too many times and the seal lets go, or all the beautiful colour starts to peel off. I LOVE my water bottle…and this is a way that I reduce my plastic footprint every single day. Because let’s face it, with the schedule of a busy, on-the-go mom, there is hardly time to get a drink from a cup. And having the bottle allows me to measure and gauge how much I have had to drink, if I am on target for the day or if I am feeling tired because I’m dehydrated. It also prevents me often from buying drinks in plastic bottles or drive-thru throw away cups. This one action actually is a quite effective way of decreasing my plastic footprint.

Ok, so maybe I am not as “bad” as I thought. Maybe there is more that I do that I don’t even notice! And that’s when I saw a reusable fabric bag out of the corner of my eye. THIS particular bag showcases art from a fellow art student, that I absolutely ADORE! It would be a dream come true for me to have MY art on reusable tote bags. I even found a place to print them…but they are not cheap, and I struggle with the cost in fear of not being able to sell them. But that’s not the point, the point is…I use reusable grocery bags every time I go to the grocery store. Most of them aren’t pretty, but they are strong. And this beautiful bag to carry my notebooks and planner. It was something I over looked at first, because it has become such a regular part of my daily routine. Another eye-opening moment, and another feel good moment for helping Mother Earth.

I feel like it is time for me to up the ante. For my challenge this week, I am going to find uses for a product that I bought in September and have only used a couple of times thus far. That is the beeswax food wraps. Now, there seem to be a lot of local makers creating these. Mine are by Mind Your Bees. I saw the demo, and can not only cover a plate or bowl, but I can also make a snack bag out of the large one! I have used it a couple of times, but as you can see, two are still in the package (I have 4). These are a natural, biodegradable, and fun alternative to plastic wrap and snack bags. I mean, just look at the coloured fabrics! I have seen many versions of these pop up recently in makers shops and craft/art markets. This seems like the next step for me to take, to fit into my daily routine and show the Earth that she really is loved and I want to take care of her the best way that I can.

So I AM contributing to reducing the plastic use in the world, and I AM helping to make the world beautiful, while also supporting independent makers, artists, and entrepreneurs. It’s a total win win! So look closely, and then look back up at the big picture. What are YOU doing to help protect the earth by reducing plastic? I know there is something.

Written by: Liz Chamberlain; Lizzielou Mixed Media

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