Could you live without buying plastic for a week?
This week’s “Change the World Wednesday” challenge is one I’m going to have to admit defeat on.
There were two challenges to choose from; the first reads: “This week refuse to use plastic produce bags. Instead, opt for reusable versions such as cotton mesh which are available at many stores, small canvas totes which you may have around … or no bag at all (not all produce needs to be bagged)“.
I already do that as much as possible which meant I had to step up to the second challenge: “If you routinely avoid plastic bags, please commit to a no-plastic week … yep, no plastic … nothing which is plastic, which comes in plastic packaging and, of course, no plastic bags.”
And that’s where I score a big, fat zero.
Only last night Mr Green was washing up and commented to Little Miss Green there was a lot of plastic packaging to be recycled. She found some rather enticing things in the shop this week which she couldn’t resists – fruit leathers, fruit ‘sweets’ (they’re actually dried fruit but are individually wrapped to look like sweets) and I’ve been enjoying seasonal fruits. The trouble is, we’ve been really busy recently so I’ve been purchasing more food from the supermarket rather than spending the time to visit my local farm shop.
Sadly our local orchard is not open – we’ve had torrential rain this year and because he’s a small, independent grower with little money he grows everything outdoors instead of polytunnels. He’s basically lost his entire crop of soft fruit this year which means I’m using a supermarket instead – where all soft fruit comes in hard plastic containers.
I’m also on a ‘Use it up!’ month freezer challenge so I’m emptying out all those packets of vegetables and I’m left with lots of packaging.
Fortunately a lot of our packaging can be recycled, but we are having to put a lot more in landfill too.
Little Miss Green is now eleven and we feel it’s right we allow her to exercise free will and choices in certain areas of her life. When she was younger it was simple – we didn’t buy certain things or have them in the house. Now she has pocket money and, once she has paid for the things she has responsibility for (rabbit food, bedding and friend’s Birthday presents) she is free to spend money on whatever she likes. More often than not this is a magazine with lots of plastic packaging, a packet of crisps or chocolate bar (non recyclable plastic packaging) or make up and clothes (plastic tags, plastic packaging)…
Am I prepared to give up fresh fruit for a week? I’m afraid I’m not. I’ve been making smoothies for breakfast every morning and am feeling the health benefits of that. There is one place I can buy lose organic cherries and I’ll make the effort to head there next week so that will save two plastic punnets but apart from that I feel unable to achieve much more.
Our landfill waste is minimal as it is, but I’m acutely aware that it is ALL plastic and to be honest it scares me to see as a society just how reliant we are on this material. I recycle all I can but I am still left with plastic films which cannot be recycled locally.
What about you – could you say no to plastic for a week?