I am leveled by the ocean’s grandeur.
When I leave and come back to town, it’s that first glimpse of Pacific blue that tells me I’m home. Whether it’s stormy or bright, the ocean is the first and last thing I see each day.
There is nothing so beautiful as the ocean at rest and nothing more magnificent than an ocean storm. I envy and admire the creatures that live in it, by it and around it. The ocean sustains an ecosystem that is both beautiful and fragile.
So you’ll understand my dismay when I see this on the beach. Little pieces of plastic washed up by the tides. Plastic broken down by the waves, on their way to become microplastics consumed and ingested by marine life.
There are many articles describing the impact of discarded plastics. When I’m in Toronto surrounded by glass and concrete conveniences, it’s easy to become inured to their message. Out here, it’s hard to ignore what lies in balance.
Ucluelet has a voluntary ban on single use plastics. Local businesses have complied and except for the liquor store, there are no plastic shopping bags available. Plastic straws? None. Not even in the liquor store.
In my home I avoid single use plastics and recycle or re-use it where I can. In Toronto I have a XL Blue bin for pickup and recycling. In Ucluelet I don’t have curbside pickup. I’ve become creative in reusing milk jugs and dairy containers.
Dairy containers, particularly the 1L size tubs are great for food prep. I’m a stickler for mise en place when cooking and lining up my tubs of diced onions, carrots and celery emote a satisfaction that die-hard cooks will understand. Yogurt containers are good, not great containers for storing left overs. Good because they fit neatly in my fridge. Not great because it’s hard to tell the left-overs from the real thing.
Milk jugs make useful pails and carry-alls. I have one in my kitchen to soak vegetables before chopping and another to hold peelings after chopping. When I’m in the mood, I use one as a carry-all for house-cleaning blitzes. Since I’m hardly in the mood, it’s a great store-all for my house-cleaning stuff.
I keep a milk jug pail in my car at all times. I use it for trips to the beach. It’s a holder for a shoe brush, essential for cleaning sand off of my shoes. It’s also a collection pail, essential for cleaning plastics off the the sand.
Ucluelet. April 2019