Ditching the plastic

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.

Cheerio,

Josie. Xxx

Comments

  1. It is true that polythene shoppers are severely detorating our environment including agricultural soil and water quality. I completely agree that it should be prohibited when shopping or using for other purposes. Nowadays the use of plastic bags has been increased in some countries for shopping and as well as for different kind of packaging of various products. This is because of plastic bags are easily and cheaply available in markets. Ultimately, this kind of practice degrading our environment because the plastic bags are not recyclable materials. Moreover, it has been thrown directly to outside for incineration with other waste materials and resulting the pollution. It is also the main source for contributing chlorofluorocarbons gasess when burnt with other waste materials and this may cause the air pollution. On an other hand, the accumulation of plastic bags after using people are not treating it properly. Owing to this reason, the waste is being generated and casusing the soil erosion. Due to soil erosion the agricultural land become unproductive for cultivation. In addition, the plastic bags are spoiling our surface water quality which may lead to some major disease for human health as well as other living organisms. In conclusion, to overcome the dilemma, using plastic bags waste should be stopped immediately because it is polluting our environment for land as well as for water resources. coupon

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  2. I live in Helensburgh where the beach is one of the main attractions to bring visitors to the town. I am part of a beach cleaning team that tries to keep on top of what both washes up and what is thrown away locally. We will clean up all of the plastic and other non-degradable waste from a short stretch of beach in a morning but within a week it is as bad as ever. Clearly our efforts are aimed at maintaining the attractiveness of the town but we do little or nothing along the rest of the shoreline where the amount of litter is appalling. It is an obvious statement that we need to change from the throwaway culture made clear in the story above. The charge on plastic bags has made a big impact for the better; a deposit scheme on bottles and cans may be difficult but we must try to get it brought in. The campaign to ban plastic straws and, even worse, plastic cotton bud stems are worthwhile but that is not enough. All too many products are wrapped in non- recyclable plastic packaging and that is something we should be trying to change. Let us follow through on the proposals above and raise the pressure to bring back paper and card packaging without the attendant plastic wrapping.

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