Living a Low Plastic Life
If living without plastic was easy, we’d all be doing it!
Most of us are aware at a rational level that plastic has significant negative impacts on the environment. But plastic is so widespread in our lives today it seems impossible to imagine life without it!
And that is one of the reasons that deter people from trying to living without plastic.
So, in the spirit of Plastic Free July, I thought I would start with some of the reasons you might have heard, or given yourself, for not trying to reduce our plastic consumption.
Plastics are everywhere and, while I see that there is a problem, nothing I do will make any impact.
Sadly, this is the most common comment that has been made to me since I first started talking about trying to reduce my plastic consumption! But we can make a difference! It was consumer demand that led to the banning of single-use plastic carrybags in supermarkets! And it was consumer demand that led to the re-introduction of 10 cent recycling for plastic bottles and glass bottles in most Australian States and Territories, despite very heavy lobbying by companies such as Coca Cola for over a decade.
Not all plastics are bad.
This is true. Without plastic we would not have motor cars, lots of household appliances, clothes and shoes and many of the newer medical breakthroughs. Not all plastic is bad. It’s just the single-use plastic, like the plastic bags we use to separate our veggies when we take them from the supermarket to our homes. I mean do we really think the bananas, already perfectly wrapped by nature, need another bag just to be transported home to the fruitbowl?
I’m not ready to go cold-turkey and stop using plastic.
While a few people do manage to go cold turkey and eliminate plastic from their lives, its not always easy or practical to do this. It’s great if you think you can achieve this, but to me it seems a little bit like diving headfirst into all those new years resolutions. You start with a bang, but don’t manage to keep it going past the 3rd of January! It’s better to start slowly, try taking you own reusable bags to the supermarket when doing your shopping, or refusing single-use plastic bags for some or all of your fruit and vegetables. Every little bit helps ?
You are not going to throw out all your current house-hold plastic. It would be costly, time consuming and inconvenient to find replacements.
The thing is, you don’t have to throw out all your plastic bottles and containers. You just need to make sure that you don’t buy any new stuff ? In fact if the plastic currently in your home is useful, and serving a purpose, then it is far better staying in your home and being used, than it is clogging up landfill.
I’m already doing everything possible to minimise my use of plastics.
This was my personal favourite and the reason I was most aligned with! I thought that because I didn’t drink take-out coffee, I take my own cloth bags to the supermarket, recycle all my soft plastic in bins at the supermarket etc that I was doing okay with plastic free living. Then I looked around my home. What about the shampoo bottles, all those tubes of makeup and moisturisers, the toilet paper wrappings and so on! And this didn’t go near the fridge and the pantry, with all the butter, milk bottles, sauces etc ?? And even outside, what about those seedling punnets from the Big Green Shed!
Alternatives cost a lot more and are less convenient.
I’m sure that there is some truth to this. However, people survived before plastic came along and, while there will be some inconvenience, I’m looking forward to finding solutions and alternatives for plastic free living and sharing these with you.
I forget/forgot my recycle bags when I went shopping, therefore I have failed, so there is really no point in trying again.
Going plastic-free is like any new practice that we try and take on. We are not going to get it right first time, every time. However, like that diet you adopt to try to lose weight or like trying to give up alcohol, there will be lapses and mistakes. It is important not to give up at the first hurdle but to keep on trying!
But I put everything in my recycle bin!!
Another reason that I was partially aligned to! Recycling still means that a lot of the plastic will end up in landfill or in the ocean ?? Less than one-third of plastic in Australia actually gets recycled!! Recycling really should be seen as a last resort, not the start of the journey!
Let me know which reason you have for not living without single use plastics, or if you have another reason that I haven’t thought of for not trying to reduce your plastic use.
I hope you will join me in signing up to Plastic Free July. For further information visit www.plasticfreejuly.org
Here’s to living more sustainably
Your Edible Garden Guru