This past weekend my roommates and I made an unfortunate discovery.
Scattered on the corners of our high, white kitchen ceilings were little. ugly. MOTHS. How they found their way into what I thought was our clean and beautiful kitchen, I can’t be too sure, but one of my roommates consulted the wise and all-knowing home experts – her parents. According to our source, the best first step to getting rid of moths is to properly store all food in cabinets and pantries. We were told this meant putting everything in plastic zip bags – tubber ware containers were not secure enough to keep out the moths.
So despite our better judgments and for the sake of returning to our happy moth-less way of life, we started bagging. One hour and possibly more than 50 gallon and sandwich sized bags later, we had a cabinet of plastics and protected food. Or so we thought. Feeling a little curious (a little late) about our tactic, I did some research online. Low and behold, the ancient tradition of parents always being right had failed us. Plastic bags would in fact NOT keep out moths who would be able to eat through the bag. Tubber ware and glass ware – but of course – would be the best option for food storage.
Most of us now intuitively know or have heard rumor about plastic bags not being very sustainable products. Staring at the sea of plastic bags that now covered my crackers and pastas, I decided to look a little more closely at the unnecessary damage we’d done.
According to an article in Scientific American, a recent study shows that the chemicals now applied to plastics can easily be absorbed by the human body and can alter hormones, in addition to creating other health hazards. Those same chemicals can also cause damage to wildlife and the environment when it’s time for us to dispose of them. Additionally, around four percent of world oil production is used as feedstock to make plastics, and a similar amount is consumed as energy in the process. And we’ve been told about the immense amount of time it takes plastics to biodegrade…
Now, I realize plastics come in all shapes and sizes, so these facts may differ slightly depending on the type of plastic we’re talking about and the way it was made. But after just a little bit of researching and using some intuition, it’s obvious that there are more sustainable and healthier alternatives to using plastic bags.
However, we are making an effort to rectify our moth mismangement. We’ve agreed to wash and reuse the plastic bags as many times as possible. After all, what CAN’T you do with 50+ plastic bags of various sizes?
Well, no one said living more sustainably doesn’t require a bit of creativity.
For the record, we are proud to say we have gone back to living moth free.