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!