With regular stories in the news referring to plastic in our oceans, it does feel that there is more talk than ever on wanting to address these issues. As part of this, recycling comes up a lot, but even more so there is a need to have more of a reusable (circular) idea about the product that we use. However, as an individual how easy is it to reduce our consumption?
With this in mind, if you had to go plastic free, or look to reduce the amount of plastic you throw away, do you think you would be able to do this? Perhaps you are doing this at the moment?
It would be great to discuss and hear your thoughts on this.
@Kimberly54 A friend of mine was working at the check-out of a bakery. She found that if she asked people "Do you want a bag?" they would almost always say yes. If she asked "Do you need a bag?" they would pause and consider for a moment, then usually say "No, I don't need one." All the individual items, loaves of bread, bags of buns, etc. were already bagged, so putting all of it into yet another bag wasn't necessary at all. But people do things without thinking. "Do you need a bag?" caused them to think.
@Sarah977, I have a gallery and I only ever use a big roll of brown paper to wrap things in, no bags whatsoever. Have always done this, people find it quaint with the paper and string. But I find I use less and less, because I now ask ''Is your car nearby? Do you need me to wrap it?'' if it's a large item. If it's a small thing, I ask if they want it wrapped and the amazing response is that many people say ''No thank you'' and put it in their bag, as it is. Just like that. The world is changing!
A word about the green bags Australian supermarkets sell: Cannot be recycled unless the thread is unpicked. And since we amass mountains of these bags, it is not a good option.
About baskets: Not necessarily rainforest at all. Any pliable material is made into baskets surely? Creek clogging willow, for one. Plus a basket will last a very long time, I use some which are turn of the century. 1900, not 2000 :)
About bees: If we use the bee products, we will have more bees as beekeepers will not be able to make and sell their wares otherwise. Go bees!
I found the best alternative to plastic wrap is container covers that look like shower caps. They come in different sizes. Vermont Country Store online (am not employee or owner) has them. Love them, can wash out and re-use for many years. Although they are plastic, at least last for years.
It is great to hear you have also using these type of 'shower cap' covers. I find them really useful too. When I used cling film before, I often found it wouldn't grip to all the bowls/plats I wanted to cover and these work really well.
The only thing about them is that you are still using plastic, so they are a full fix, but they definitely last for a long time, so they are better than one-use alternatives.
I realize the caps are still plastic, but it is my only alternative to avoid 1 time use, which as good as beeswax may be, it can't last the years that the caps can. I want to cut down on all waste. It is amazing how much we generate, even when I buy organic food.
Unfortuantely, being in the States, this is an impossibility. Most towns don't have butchers, so we're always going to get meats wrapped in plastic. Most towns don't have a dedicated cheese shop, so cheeses always come wrapped in plastic. Breads come in plastic bags for freshness. Drink cartons are either plastic, plastic lined cardboard, or aluminum. Paper towels even come wrapped in plastic to keep them from getting wet. It's a sad state of affairs.
Daniel, it is a sad state of affairs and it isn't easy anywhere but there is still so much you can do as an individual. Start carrying your own shopping bags, shop at bulk food stores, buy a keep cup and stainless steel refillable water bottle, say no to straws, don't use bin liners, store your food in resusable containers and recycle everything. It does make a difference.
Oh, believe me, Kath, I try.
- I have my own shopping bag, but I use the shopping bags to clean up after my dog.
- I don't shop at bulk stores for 2 reasons: I'm by myself so most of what I buy will go to waste (food), or I don't have the room for storage (non-perishables). Both of those make it very difficult.
- I have a Contigo coffee mug that I use, and if I drink from single use containers, it's from an aluminum can.
- I can't remember the last time I had a straw.
- Due to my dog's messes and diet, I need the bin liners so I don't get rotten stuff at the bottom of the can.
- I do use reusable containers.
- I do recycle everything I can.
I understand you pain @Daniel1992, I am luck that where I live in London there are a couple of zero waste shops on my way to the office (but I can't get everything there). @Kath9 is complete correct and I actually see her as a wonderful inspiration and green guru. :)
One thing I find useful (many wouldn't) but I have some travel cutlery that I have in my bag at all times, made from bamboo and it is surprising the amount of times I've needed it. If you go to an event, nearly all the cutler (even for making a cup of tea) is plastic. I wash it after or when I get home if I'm out and about. I can recommend.
@Lizzie I don't carry cutlery with me when I go on a journey without my car, because I normally am going to stay with friends or family, but I do a similar thing in that I keep cutlery in my glove box in the car, as I'll often stop for something to to-go when I'm out on a shopping day. And if I do end up with any plastic cutlery, I wash it and keep it in zip-lock bag to use in the future for camping trips.
@Kath there's people who need straws to fed themselves for whatever reason which none of us must ever overlook, metal ones are not hygienic and paper ones are not always suitable
@Sandra126Agree about your comments about the supermarket bags and find it annoying they dump such short sighted options on us as they are not an envinmentally good option.
Bring bag school children learning how to make a jute bag out of old potato sacks or jute/ hessian!
@Helen427 The metal straws aren't non-hygenic- they are meant to be put in the dishwasher, where they will get clean and sterilized, or if you don't use a dishwasher, you just pour boiling water through them.