Today I tried to have a Plastic Free Tuesday. It has been an interesting day as it is almost impossible to live life like most of us do without using plastic and therefore generating unnecessary waste. As the Plastic Free Tuesday website says:
On Plastic-Free Tuesday we skip plastic to reduce our plastic footprint. That means we don’t buy anything that is made of plastic or contains plastic. We also don’t use anything made of plastic that we have to throw away after using it. So no bananas wrapped in plastic, no plastic bags, no take-away coffee in plastic cups and so on.
Plastic can cause harm in many ways. It clogs our oceans, injures and kills birds and marine mammals, causes air pollution when burnt, poisons our food when entering the food chain through fish and endangers our health when we enjoy food and our plastic environment.
Disposable plastic products are a big chunk of our household waste stream. It costs a lot of money to manage and process the waste from our daily take away coffee or the plastic bags that we use for our veggies at the grocery store.
We really need to rethink our use of plastic.
Lots of people are struggling even to get round to having a reusable ‘bag for life’ to do their shopping. I did that years ago but the amount of plastic our food comes packaged in is quite astonishing.
First up was breakfast: my usual porridge, honey and banana was OK apart from noticing I have switched from a glass honey jar to a plastic squeezey bottle of honey. I need to switch back to a glass jar and use a spoon.
Down at the office, we needed milk but found that all the local stores only do milk in plastic bottles, so that was a #fail for morning coffee. Can I not buy milk in a glass bottle anymore?
The popular practice of having a bottle of water through the day generates huge waste and cost for absolutely no reason other than the profits of big companies. Buying water in plastic bottles is madness! Some time ago I bought a reusable metal bottle and carry tap water for free and with zero waste.
Lunch simply required a switch to a different sandwich shop.
Greggs, where I usually get a sandwich from, package their sandwiches in plastic. I switched to a local independent shop – CJ’s Sandwich Bar – who make them to order and put them in a paper bag. Result! And a nice bacon roll it was too!
Afternoon coffee – milk in a plastic bottle again. #fail
Dinner: As I was working late this evening, dinner was a meal I had prepared previously, from the freezer. In a ceramic dish and plastic free apart from a cover of cling film I’d wrapped round it.
My usual evening drink is lime and soda. Both the lime and the soda were in plastic bottles so another #fail. I think we can get the lime in a glass bottle but maybe we should explore ways of getting plastic free sparkling water. Or just have tap water with it.
What have I learned today?
It really is quite difficult to avoid using unnecessary plastic even when we are being intentional about it. But that doesn’t mean we should stop trying.
I would really like to stop being a source of plastic going into landfill. Although more plastic than ever before is being recycled, it is a fact that millions of tons of plastic is being exported to places like China, some of which may end up in landfill or polluting their environment.
Some plastic bottles can take up to 400 years to decompose. And when is eventually breaks down, all of those dangerous ingredients permanently plant themselves into our environment. Plastic buried deep in landfills can leach harmful chemicals that spread into groundwater.
It must be better to use less plastic in the first place rather than try and recycle the vast volumes of pointless plastic like water bottles that have only a few hours use between purchase and disposal.
I’m going to try another plastic free Tuesday…