One of my aims for this year is to reduce our plastic usage as a family. I have been thinking on it for some time and just watching the final episode of Blue Planet 2 clinched it for me. As a race we humans use too much plastic and we have become so used to it that we don’t even think of it anymore.
Plastic is everywhere! From toothbrushes to food packages. From DVD cases to picture frames. From plant pots to toilet seats. From baby bottles to toys. It’s even making crochet hooks. I understand why: it’s versatile. It can be any colour, it lasts for ages and is waterproof. It can be different thicknesses and have different flexibility depending on what you need. It can be big or small. I can understand why we’ve become so dependent on plastic as a material. But you know all this. You can see it for yourself. Hell, let’s be honest, you’re probably reading this on a smart phone or tablet and there’s a high probability that that device has a plastic cover on it. Below is a picture I took of some packaging I recently was left to discard after ordering some reusable training pants for my youngest. Terrible for 12 pairs of tiny pants!
So what am I doing to single-handedly save the world from being swallowed by a plastic sea? Well, for a start, I’m recruiting! I’ve already got my husband on board and my environmentally savvy kids are up for it too. I’m starting by talking about it and getting people to notice what they use and if it can change. When you start talking about it you find many people are on the same crusade.
The above picture is from Less Plastic.co.uk The whole website is crammed with great ideas for ditching plastic altogether. However, for now, I’m on the ditching of single-use plastic crusade.
My first port of call is our fruit and veg. It’s actually quite easy to buy fruit and veg without plastic. In France there are some great produce markets and I’m trying to get into the habit of frequenting them. Also, I’m experimenting with our local grocers and I’m taking my handy canvas bags (cue Tim Minchin) with me wherever I go (see above picture for my one from the donkey sanctuary). It’s easy at the market and grocers where they weigh the produce for you. They don’t even seem to mind picking very single green bean out of the basket to weigh it before I stuff them in my eco and veg friendly canvas bags. It’s the supermarkets that can be the problem. Here in France the majority of supermarkets use the eco-friendly plastic bags (the kind that bio-degrade) when you’re selecting your own produce off the shelf. We reuse these bags either for produce next time or for our food waste and they go in our compost to become our future soil. Now I’d love to use my canvas bags here but you have to weigh your own fruit and veg when not selecting the pre-packed stuff and I’m concerned the weight of the bags would add too much. Obviously some lightweight crochet mesh bags are in order. Now there’s a thought….
So I know that side of things is doable. Also, we like sparkling water so I’ve ordered an old-fashioned soda siphon. I thought about soda stream but it’s only guaranteed two years and is made of plastic. The siphon I’ve ordered is metal and guaranteed for twenty-five years!! Here’s hoping. Maybe it means our recycling (which fills our recycling wheelie-bin each week) will reduce greatly. Another thing we’ve looked at is our mobile phone covers. I came across a brand called Pela Case. It’s made form plant-based and recycled materials. I liked the look so I ordered a couple. And I love them. Look:
They feel nice and are comfortable to hold. The only downside is the hole for the headphone jack is a little small and not all jacks fit it. Other than that I am really chuffed with our cases. Now I confess I was a little bit put off by the price but then I thought “every plastic case I’ve bought for a fiver has lasted less than a year. That’s a lot of waste. This will last.” Let’s hope I’m right.
That’s one thing that gets me about this ditching plastic business- it’s expensive! I hate to say it but it is. I know I’m helping the environment and I’m not going to give up my crusade because of price. But it becomes a factor in my research and is probably a factor in other people’s too. So there I’ve said it. Yes, these non-plastic items should last longer and are reusable but I hate that price makes me think twice.
Anyway that’s it for now. Have a look at the ideas of ditching plastic that are out there, sign the petitions to persuade the supermarkets to ditch the plastic and let me know how you get on. My crusade continues. What are you doing, or thinking of doing, to reduce your use of plastic? Any ideas I’ve not thought of or mentioned here? What’s your greatest find?
I’m off to look at my bathrooms plastics now. Oh boy is that tricky. I’m currently researching wooden toothbrushes! I’ll let you know how I get on.