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Monday, 7 September 2015

Zero Waste Week - Day One

Today is all about plastic.  Couldn't be a more appropriate place to start for me!

I'm now into my 9th month of trying to live without single use plastic.  It has been a challenge and we have started to crack.

Last week we went to the supermarket to buy the necessary for cricket tea and for some reason it turned into a family outing.  Junior Daughter asked "What's for tea?" and I replied that I was planning to make a curry.  "Can we have poppadoms?" she asked.  I was planning to have a go at making poori from scratch to avoid purchase poppadoms which are only available in plastic packaging, but I couldn't bring myself to have the discussion.  I have been getting the feeling that the family are fed up with this zero plastic challenge. And that's hardly surprising because it is so hard to achieve these days.

I was later informed that the particular poppadoms chosen were because they thought the packaging was more easily recycled than the film-type packaging.  This is true, but it is none-the-less single use plastic packaging.

I also discovered that a sizeable quantity of Diet Coke had been purchased and rather than the individual bottles - which we long ago decided were exempt from our 'no plastic' efforts - they purchased 2 four-packs, which are wrapped in film plastic.  I didn't ask, but just know that these were undoubtedly cheaper than the individua bottles.  Annoying that anything with extra packaging is cheaper than the option without the extra packaging.  It shouldn't be allowed!

Added to that when I took my large reusable plastic tub to the cheese counter, the man serving me insisted that he wrap the cheese in the two plastic sheets he had to use to weigh the cheese and place it in the container.  I was screaming with frustration inside, but just smiled and said thank you and went on my way.  Sainsbury's, if you are listening, why does serving cheese have to involve so much plastic?  Some people on the cheese counter seem to understand that if I take the trouble to bring my own reusable tub to buy my cheese, then clearly I don't want to be lumbered with a load of plastic waste.  But other people just don't get it!  Do I give up trying?  Or do I persist in my efforts to reduce this waste?

But back to the positives of plastic reduction…

Inspired by today's Zero Waste Week email, I decided to take a look at the single use plastic that I have in my house, despite managing to largely avoid it for more than eight months.  At the start of my zero plastic challenge I realised I had quite a lot of the stuff already, and of course I don't want to waste anything, so I knew I would gradually use it up.  I decided in order to try to measure how much new plastic packaging I was introducing through the year, that I would put out any plastic packaging from prior purchases into my recycling bin on a weekly basis as before.  I'm only collecting up this year's plastic packaging.  I remember also wondering how long I would still be generating packaging from things already in stock.  Well, the plastic is diminishing steadily, but there's still some around.

Today, then for Zero Waste Week I'm going to gather together all this plastic and see if I can use it up during the week.

Keen to take immediate action however, I'm also going to tackle another plastic pile-up that regularly annoys me.  Like most people, I imagine, I have a bag full of plastic carrier bags I dip in to when I need one - such as for giving things away. I rarely use these for shopping as I have plenty of reusable canvas and jute bags.

I am pretty sure that I haven't personally gained a plastic shopping bag at all this year, so I don't understand how I come to have soooo many bags.

I can only assume that they've beed breeding in my cupboard.  Although we always seem to need plastic bags on regular occasions, we have accumulated so many, that I'm confident that if I part with these bags - every last one of them - today, we will by the end of the month have somehow accumulated more.  So I'm taking them to the recycling point in Sainsbury's.  Yes, I'm returning some of their plastic for them to make back into plastic bags (or more plastic sheeting for their cheese counter maybe?).

How long will it be, do you reckon, before my string bag is brimming full with plastic bags again?

My final plastic reuse challenge for today is to mend this rather sad looking drying rack!

I'm sure I can find something that will bring it back into life.

1 comment:

Rae said...

Fantastic update of how your overall plastic challenge has been going, Anna - thanks for sharing the highlights and the challenges. I too, go to the stage, where zero waste became almost a swear word here, so I eased back and just smiled in all the right places. The most important thing is family harmony ;) Hope the repair of the drying rack worked out