Avocado pits, who knew?
January 8, 2022
Last summer, I was enjoying time with my family over an informal meal at my parents' house in West Golden Hills. We were using plastic cutlery to save us from having to wash dishes afterwards. I noticed that my plastic fork wasn't white, but a beige color with a greenish-brown tinge. I picked up the container and was impressed to discover that the plastic was completely biodegradable since it had been made using avocado pits. Aside from the color, it looked and felt like any other sturdy plastic fork I've ever used in my life. After a short but fervent interrogation, I learned that my mom had bought the cutlery right here in Tehachapi.
The experience made me wonder about avocados. I mean, I love avocados, especially in guacamole or sliced and salted on a bit of fresh bread. But I had never considered the pit before. Aside from a time or two when I attempted to sprout one by my kitchen sink using a mason jar full of water and some toothpicks, I've always just tossed them when done.
Any reasonably informed person knows about the issue of plastic waste in our oceans. In fact, The Loop newspaper published an interview of local innovator Pat Marshall of Our Cleaner Planet in which he discussed the overwhelming problem. Marshall has come up with a pretty impressive solution for removing even tiny particles of plastic from the ocean. (The Loop, Dec. 4, 2021 issue, page 23, "Our Cleaner Planet: cleaning up the mess." You can also read it online at http://www.theloopnewspaper.com/story/2021/12/04/community/our-cleaner-planet-cleaning-up-the-mess/8900.html.)
However, as the old saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Wouldn't it be better, now that we understand how much damage plastics can do (and have done) to our planet, not to use them anymore? I mean, we do what we can to properly dispose of our plastic waste, including recycling it. But to simply make less plastic seems like a pretty good idea to me, although admittedly, it might be easier said than done.
The eco-friendly plastic cutlery I stumbled upon at my mom's house is a good place to start. A quick online search showed me that the same manufacturer also makes biodegradable plastic straws. If you can't find these at a local supermarket, asking the store manager to stock these items might be a good idea. Vote with your wallet and change will follow. When we as consumers make our preference for environmentally sound products known, manufacturers and retailers will make those products more readily available for purchase, eliminating the need for plastics.