The 2004 movie Mean Girls has a special place in my heart. It came out while I was still in high school, and while the heightened teenage world depicted in the movie didn’t reflect my own experiences at all, I still enjoyed the jokey, dramatic, back-stabby story of nice girl Cady taking on and eventually getting sucked into the world of the mean, popular girls in her school known as “The Plastics.”
Why am I talking about a teen comedy about bullying in a water-conservation themed blog post? Well, the theme of the movie is surprisingly relevant to our own message. Not all the points about friendship and being yourself, per say, but the most simplistic, boiled down message of the movie is very true: don’t be plastic.
Every pound of plastic has a virtual water footprint of 34 gallons (128.7 liters). That may not sound like much, but to put it in perspective, if you buy a one-liter bottle of water, there is more water in the plastic than there is in the water.
And it’s not just the manufacturing process that makes plastic not-water safe. In 2008, nearly 28 million tons of plastic ended up in landfills, where it was left to degrade and potentially leach into groundwater as a pollutant.
So naturally, plastic isn’t environmentally-friendly. But it’s all around us, isn’t it? Our dinner wear is plastic, our electronics and everyday products are made of plastic, and almost everything you could buy comes in a plastic container of some sort. How do we avoid it?
The upside is that avoiding plastic can be fairly easy with just a bit of advance planning. Things like “re-use grocery bags” or “bring your own mug to the coffee shop” cost you nothing but help reduce waste. Some tips, like buying in bulk, repurposing plastic containers, and making your own toiletries will save you money in the long run.
So while fetch is never going to happen, you might be part of a movement that reduces a lot of waste and saves a lot of water. In the end, isn’t that the best outcome for Mother Earth?