Like most people I am shocked, alarmed, worried about our dependence on plastic. Most of us have seen the horrifying images of rafts of rubbish and plastic – one particular almost unimaginable pile of the stuff is floating in the Pacific and covers an area more than twice the size of France – twice the size of France!! That’s nearly a million and a quarter square kilometres!!
So I am trying in my small, very small way to do my bit. However it isn’t necessarily cheap… buying milk in bottles is lovely and I’m sure it tastes better and it keeps the milkman in a job, but it is actually expensive. Buying food is difficult too – not many places wrap cheese and meat in anything other than plastic, and again there is a cost factor. I have bought my own paper bags so shopping for fruit and vegetables I can put them in something other than plastic. We buy tinned goods – but sometimes tinned have a plastic liner, apparently. Most frozen goods are in plastic bags and buying glass bottles and jars of fruit and vegetables is expensive, and to be honest, we don’t like the taste as much as frozen. It’s not practical to buy all vegetables fresh – we do try!
I use actual soap rather than goo from a bottle – but the rest of the family don’t. I have tried solid shampoo bars (expensive) and I don’t like them as much as regular plastic enclosed shampoo.
I came across a site with 100 tips for living plastic free – a lot of them involve not just an initial expense, but an ongoing expense, even though they are good ideas (most of them) and I would follow most of them if I was wealthy.
Here is the top fifteen and my thoughts on how possible/practical /practicable/sensible they are:
- Carry reusable shopping bags – yes we always do
- Give up bottled water. – we don’t use bottled water
- Carry your own containers for take out food and leftovers – we don’t often have take-aways, and we don’t take home left-overs from meals out... would I take a box to my local chippie for the occasional take away we do have? No I would not
- Carry a stainless steel travel mug – once in a blue moon on long journeys I might have a take away coffee… I will try to remember to bring my travel mug…
- Carry reusable utensils and glass drinking straws – no, just no – and i don’t use straws; my daughter has metal ones
- When ordering pizza, say no to the little plastic “table” in the middle of the pizza box – don’t have take-away pizzas, my son does – I’ll ask him what he thinks!
- Treat yourself to an ice cream cone – yes please… is there any other way to eat ice cream?
- Cut out sodas, juices, and all other plastic-bottled beverages – we only have squash and we have that in glass bottles even though it’s about three times the price.
- Buy fresh bread that comes in either paper bags or no bags – I can smugly saw we make our own
- Return containers for berries, cherry tomatoes, etc. to the farmer’s market to be reused – we don’t have these sorts of farmers markets.
- Bring your own container for meat and prepared foods – I see it makes sense, but I would have to buy containers… more expense.
- Choose milk in returnable glass bottles – yes we do already, very expensive though
- Buy large wheels of unwrapped cheese – wasteful and impractical even if there is such a place I could get such cheese… we would never eat it quickly enough
- Try to choose only wine bottled in glass with natural cork stoppers – most bottles these days have metal lids… For those which don’t, how would you know whether it was a cork or synthetic stopper under the foil?
- Let go of frozen convenience foods – we don’t have that many convenience foods, just fish fingers, we do have frozen vegetables and we don’t liked tinned so we’re stuck… sorry
- Choose plastic-free chewing gum – we don’t use gum
Here is a link to Beth Terry’s page. There are loads of great ideas but for normal people on a normal income with busy lives, many of them are just impossible, however willing and desirous people are to be plastic-free.