General ramblings

Plastic, not so fantastic…

July 16, 2013

Plastic.

Where would we be without it?
How did we ever manage without it?
And will it EVER decompose…?

Mass production of plastic only really got going after the Second World War. It is now pretty hard to imagine life without it. But we must have coped.
And scarily,ย EVERY SINGLE BIT OF PLASTIC EVER MADE, EVER, IS STILL IN EXISTENCE.

This July is designated Plastic Free July-I didn’t know this until a lovely reader pointed this out to me, and I am a little late to the party (as ever)

plastic-free-july-logo-banner-lge

The Challenge is to consume no single use plastic during the month of July.
And at first I thought, “oh that’s quite easy”, but it really really isn’t it.

It’s not just a case of using your re-usable shopping bag.
Plastic, and single use plastic, is EVERYWHERE.
-shopping bags, drinks bottles, pretty much ALL food packaging, straws, plastic cutlery, milk bottles….
And you could even interpret ‘single use’ as things like shampoo bottles, cleaning products, even your toothbrush-all things made to be used, and then thrown away.

As I am sure you all know, plastic is made from petrochemicals. Oil.
It takes a huge amount of energy (Oil) to mine the oil, and then to turn it into plastic, and then make it into whatever it is going to be, and then to ship it to where it needs to be.
All for us to use it for minutes, and then throw it ‘away’.ย To landfill, to blow around the skies, to get into our rivers and our oceans.
Where it will then sit. FOREVER.

It even gets into, and kills, our wildlife.

Plastic in Turtles Mouth

An albatross chick with a stomach fill of plastic items

I saw this on Facebook a while back, and it kind of sums the whole thing up pretty well (I couldn’t find who the original image should be credited to-if anyone can let me know, that would be great)

It’s called “Just Wash the Damn Spoon”

wash-the-damn-spoon

So, as the oil starts to run out, will we start to prioritise it’s use for energy, and will single use plastics start to die out as we are forced to find alternatives?

I really don’t know.

I’m ashamed to say that I am not sure I could even attempt Plastic Free July-just the logistics of trying to get milk in a good old fashioned glass bottle, (I don’t even know if we have a local milkman anymore) and trying to buy pretty much ANY food without all the heaps of plastic packaging, starts to make my brain ache. A lot.
But, I am much more aware of how much mindless plastic consumption goes on, and how I need to do more than say “no” to yet another plastic bag.
Instead of feeling vaguely guilty everytime I use a single use plastic item, I am resolving to use them less, and to start to work towards eliminating them. But crikey, it will be hard.

If you want to know more about Plastic Free Living, then check out My Plastic Free Life for lots more (or less) plastic, and how to do without it.

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  • Reply Plasticification… | My Make Do and Mend Year September 23, 2013 at 8:01 am

    […] I think a plastic free life would be hugely hard, and maybe even impossible. But it is massively possible to use plastic more mindfully. To make small changes. To change one thing. And then one more thing. And then one more thing after that. (For some ideas, see my posts here on a plastic free shower, and Plastic Free July) […]

  • Reply heathercards July 18, 2013 at 7:26 am

    A few more thoughts on the subject

    I make my own yogurt using an easi yo kit, rather than buying individual pots, and then I just make a natural yogurt with 2-3 tbsp’s of natural yogurt as the starter, 3 tbsp’s of skimmed milk powder to thicken and top up with up to a litre of UHT skimmed milk http://www.lakeland.co.uk/7531/EasiYo-Yoghurt-Maker

    Use sandwich reusable wrapper for taking lunch to work http://www.wrapnmat.com/

    We have switched to cotton buds from natural collection that are compost able, no nasty plastic middle!!! http://www.naturalcollection.com/shop/simply-gentle-organic-cotton-buds-by-simply-gentle/

    Last comments on this, I promise!!

    • Reply Jen July 18, 2013 at 12:00 pm

      Crikey Heather-you are brilliant! Thankyou ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Reply Robyn July 17, 2013 at 11:33 am

    It annoys me beyond all reason that pretty much 95% of what we throw away in our household is plastic packaging. it annoys me more when I see people putting the supermarket loose bananas in a plastic bag to take to the checkout – they’re in a bunch for goodness sake, in their own little protectives cases!
    My compromise with the milk is to buy it in 4 pint bottles and decant it into smaller bottles and freeze. I’d like to buy from the milkman, but simply can’t justify the extra cost, or the fact that the milk delivery in our area arrives so late it is after we leave for work, and it would be cheese by the time we got home to it in this weather!

    • Reply Jen July 17, 2013 at 12:26 pm

      When did something so indisopable, become so disposable, and so indispensable? Scary stuff.

      • Reply heathercards July 17, 2013 at 12:30 pm

        http://www.keepcup.com/ is a cup I keep in my bag, rather than using a disposal cup when we are out and about, I also now use cotton hankies rather than paper tissues. When we are food shopping, I buy unwrapped food when possible and then just pop all the fruit and veg straight into my shopping bag, annoys the till assistants but makes it easier for me, as I then have very little waste to get rid of. Any plastic wrappings go back to ASDA to their recycling for carrier bags bin, which includes bread bags, frozen veg bags etc.
        I now buy shampoo and conditioner bars from lush and then there is just a paper bag to dispose of.

        I am sure I do more, I will keep adding, I could keep going for days!!!! Only joking ๐Ÿ˜‰

        Heather

        • Reply Jen July 17, 2013 at 12:44 pm

          Please do Heather-some brilliant ideas!

          • Heather July 17, 2013 at 5:21 pm

            And there’s more ๐Ÿ˜‰

            What about dishwasher powder, that can be bought in a paper bag and can be recycled easily from natural collection, works out cheaper and savers on plastic packaging http://www.naturalcollection.com/shop/bio-d-dishwasher-powder-refill—1kg-by-bio-d/

            Washing powder, a big box of fairy powder and only I only use a very small amount in the wash each time and no fabric conditioner

            Ecover, use none petroleum bottles, they are made from plant materials, click to find out more http://www.the-splash.co.uk/articles/fantastic-plantastic

            All these changes have taken time and we have made them slowly, as well as the usual, taking our own bags to the supermarket etc

          • Jen July 17, 2013 at 5:41 pm

            You are doing a brilliant job Heather! Big thumbs up here, and thankyou so much for all the tips ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Reply Jo July 17, 2013 at 10:25 am

    Hate plastic! Hate it! Have been trying hard for the last couple of months to get rid of it. It is a slow but interesting journey! Have been doing things like buying bread from the bakers and freezing it in calico bags (works just as well as plastic), swapped to the toothbrushes Sarah mentioned, taking my own containers to the butchers, and my latest is the attempt to make my own bathroom cleaners. Feel like I am going a bit mad, but i can’t stand the thought of the giant mountain of undegradable plastic I will be responsible for when I die…

    • Reply Jen July 17, 2013 at 12:46 pm

      More great tips!
      It is quite scary how committed you would have to be to eliminate plastic, even just single use plastic from your life-I am not sure if it is even possible.
      I agree with you completely, the thought of all that plastic lying there for years and years and years is pretty good motivation.

  • Reply Sarah July 17, 2013 at 9:35 am

    I hate plastic, it is evil! ๐Ÿ˜€ If it helps you can make a plastic like substance (meant to be even stronger) out of Milk and white vinegar, their are instructions on how to on You tube, and it of course decomposes better being natural. I managed to get rid of a lot of plastic but some items I find almost impossible although not as single use as spoons but things like sunglasses! And great Links Heather – post more!

    • Reply Jen July 17, 2013 at 9:56 am

      Thanks Sarah. What can you use the homemade plastic for? Do you know?
      It takes a LOT of conscious thought and effort to even start to make a reduction-it really is EVERYWHERE!

  • Reply Heather July 16, 2013 at 6:55 pm

    Hi Jen,
    I am an avid reader of your blogg and look forward to your daily postings, as a family we have made a real effort this year to reduce our waste, especially plastic waste and have found a couple of excellent links that may help, milk from our milkman comes via
    https://www.milkandmore.co.uk. Just check with your postcode to see if they deliver to your area.

    Toothbrushes we have swapped to bamboo brushes and bought from

    http://www.environmentaltoothbrush.com.au/. And had a box of 12 posted to us, it saved a little on ordering single ones in the uk

    I could go on with more ideas, but don’t want to bore the pants off everyone ๐Ÿ™‚

    Heather

    • Reply Jen July 16, 2013 at 6:59 pm

      Thankyou for your kind words Heather ๐Ÿ™‚
      Brilliant info, thankyou so much. I was wondering how to go about finding out if we had a milkman in our area.
      I had seen the bamboo toothbrushes and will definitely be checking them out.
      Please do go on with more ideas-not boring me, I think it’s FAB!

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