So, the last week of my “No Plastic for a Month” challenge and it’s been harder than I anticipated. I didn’t manage to get through the whole month without buying food that had been packaged in plastic: there were three exceptions. I had to make a rice dish for a wedding, and simply could not find rice that didn’t come in plastic packaging (where I live in Suffolk there are no big bulk food suppliers, sadly, not even at large food chain superstores. I shall be writing letters to them all about this.) I also had to buy some hazelnuts and sunflower seeds (vegan diet, my protein intake) and these too were unavailable without plastic.
All in all, I’ve looked at the waste that I produce, and it’s seriously overhauled. I thought I was pretty good at not having too much rubbish to collect every two weeks. I know that even the bag of rubbish that I was throwing out a week was too much, and since the challenge this has reduced to half, or even less than half a bag of rubbish a week. An eye-opener. The plastic that a lot of packaging comes in, the bendy but not stretchy plastic, is not recyclable in my area. I didn’t realise quite how much I was still using.
There is no such thing as “away”. We do not throw our rubbish “away” – it simply ends up in another place. With dwindling oil supplies and the rate that plastic biodegrades, we seriously need to re-evaluate our relationship with it. We do not live in a disposable society, no matter how much marketing in companies try to tell us otherwise. We only have one planet, one place to live, and we must treat that with utmost respect.
I shall continue in my search to find food that isn’t wrapped in plastic, and to keep my waste as low as possible, or even lower. Shopping is now not only concerned with ethical and organic implications, but also packaging to an even higher degree than before. Working on an ethical principle that asks the question, “What if everyone did the same?” is the best guideline I’ve ever come across so far.
To all those who took this challenge with me, well done, and long may you continue. If you’d like, please share your thoughts here on this blog, or write your own blog post and ping back to me – I’d love to hear from you!
What about the Ipswich Ripple Food Co-op? They sell things by weight and encourage you to bring your own containers. I believe it is a vegan operation too. You can find out more on their facebook page.
I’ll have a look – it may mean a monthly trip to Ipswich, but it would be well worth it! I hadn’t heard of them – thanks for the heads up! x
I had been wondering how your journey went. I try to get what I can with the least packaging possible. I am not a vegan, but have become gradually a partial vegetarian. I always by my fruit and veg from the local produce shop and always put what I buy in the paper bags the provide. I also pay attention to where things come from. If I have a choice of a similar item from Spain or Chile/South Africa, I will pick the Spanish one, and always the English if it is an option. Though I don’t won a frig, only a small freezer, I have seldom lost any food. I use a cool box with ice blocks, and a friend gave me a bigger box this week and some extra blocks — though I also use small milk cartons.
Though I have not taken the challenge, it did make me more mindful of the amount of waste in plastic. Well done, and thank you for setting an example.