The Unitarian Universalist Society of Oneonta will host a free, public talk on plastic reduction from noon to 3 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 10.

The event is co-sponsored by the Unitarian Universalist Society of Oneonta’s Green Sanctuary Task Force and Social Action Team. Volunteers will provide a variety of soups for a complimentary lunch, said Carol Malz, chair of the Social Action Team. 

Otsego County Conservation Association Program Director Jeff O’Handley will speak about the history of plastics and how they came to be such a big part of peoples’ lives. He’ll also explain some of the chemistry behind why plastics take so long to decompose — up to 1,000 years for some — and why this is a problem. O’Handley will speak around 12:30 or 1 p.m., Malz said.

The talk is part of the Food for Thought program held each year, she said. Last year’s talk was on an environmental topic because of concern over climate change, and narrowed down this year to focus on plastics. Ninety-nine percent of plastics are made from fossil fuels, a fact Malz said a lot of people may not know.

“We wanted to start addressing climate change by addressing how we could change our habits and households by reducing the amount of plastics in our households,” Malz said.

Members from Days for Girls, a nonprofit that increases access to menstrual care and education worldwide, will show people how to make their own menstrual pads, Malz said. Martha Clarvoe, OCCA special projects manager, will demonstrate how to make totes out of seed bags.

There will be free samples of soap nuts, a sustainable alternative to laundry detergent and soap, and canning jars, while supplies last. No registration is required for the event and people can come whenever they please, Malz said.

O’Handley said he hopes the event will inspire people to take a look at how much plastic impacts their lives on a day-to-day basis.

“The plastic we’re making isn’t going away, it’s kind of piling up,” O’Handley said. “There’s certainly a lot of attention given to the garbage patches and plastics piling up in the ocean, but it’s really everywhere at this point. I think it’s important for us to look at ways to reduce our reliance on plastics and try to find alternatives.”

Child care is available at the event. Contact the Unitarian Universalist Society of Oneonta’s office by Thursday, Nov. 7, with the children’s ages and how many at or 607-432-3491.

Shweta Karikehalli, staff writer, can be reached at or 607-441-7221. Follow her @DS_ShwetaK on Twitter.

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