So, if you read my last article on my journey to reduce plastic (link here), you know that I’m the first one to call myself a hypocrite. I know what I should do. I talk about what I should do. But I don’t really do what I should do as much as I do (get all that?).
Besides bringing my own bags to grocery stores, and recycling (which may be pointless anyways from what I’ve been reading), I don’t think I’m eliminating much plastic from my life. But I’m getting better thanks to help from people like Ana, Nathan, Jen, and Amanda who’ve all helped release me from my plastic addiction.
And it’s not all plastic I want to eliminate – just the throw-away kind that is used for a minute, or an hour, or a day. Just because plastic is cheap to make, doesn’t mean we should be tossing it away constantly. It ends in places that it shouldn’t like our water. That’s the biggie. We really shouldn’t be f-cking with our water. We need it.
It’s just so easy and convenient to embrace that non-decomposable and malleable friend, that it takes a lot of work to oppose it. But with some determination and helpful advice, I’m going to see if I can go a month without buying/acquiring any throw-away plastic. I’ll have to get better at saying No – “No bag” “No straw” “No lid” “No bottled water” (actually I gave up bottled water years ago).
I’ll let you know how I did and the struggles I faced when the month is over. One of the hardest things will be the unexpected events like dinner parties and work functions. For a single dude, it’s easy. When you start involving large groups, it gets difficult.
When I wrote my last article, I asked for tips, advice and strategies for eliminating plastic, and here’s some I received. This is going to help me for sure, so thanks to all the people who offered their advice. I’ve already made a trip to NakdBasics for a bamboo toothbrush and dry shampoo.
Here’s all the tips….
Advice from Jen:
- Dry shampoo bar purchased at Nakdbasics downtown Owen Sound. No giant bottle to throw away and it works amazing.
- Bamboo straw (or stainless steel) purchased from Just a Cup downtown. No more plastic straws. You can also buy a wee brush to clean it with.
- Bulk barn let’s you bring in your own containers to fill up on bulk items. Just have to weigh them at the start.
- Stopped using those clear plastic bags for buying fruits and vegetables. I just let the cashier gather them on the scale and weigh them as is.
- Reusable plastic cup for my smoothies daily.
Those are my humble attempts to reduce. It is difficult though – everything comes in a package. Good luck on your quest.
Advice From Amanda:
- Collapsible Grocery Tote – I always had reusable bags but would always forget them and they took up a lot of space- I bought these this year and love them because they fit a lot in them, they’re strong/have structure when I’m using them, but fold down into nothing in my trunk afterwards. They also have a handy pocket built in which I store my produce bags in
- Reusable Produce Bags – I also use these instead of the plastic in the store which I always struggled with anyways lol
- Reusable Snack Bags – instead of ziplocks for sandwiches, crackers, etc. sometimes just nicer than heavy glass containers on a hike, etc. linked the ones I bought off etsy.
- Food Huggers – not sure if these are the exact ones we have, but we use these quite a lot for onions, tomato, etc. might need a second set since we seem to need more big ones than small ones. Looks like they have a special avocado one now!
- Silpat silicone baking liners– they’re mostly designed for getting better results on cookies, etc. but we also use it when roasting veggies, etc. in the oven vs tinfoil or wax paper, etc.
- Glass ‘Tupperware’ Containers – we used to have plastic ones and we are surprised at how much happier we are with glass – we find we see and use our leftovers more, it’s great for reheating instead of using more dishes, they stack nicer, etc.
Some general go-tos: water bottle vs disposable; cloth napkins vs paper ones; rags vs paper towels, etc.
Advice From Nathan:
- Replace toothbrush, hair brush and combs with bamboo.
- use glass jars for food storage
- bring your own container to fill at bulk stores
- replace cleaning and body care products with homemade and use glass vinegar bottles (sprayers fit)
- use shampoo bars and soap bars and shaving bars
- patronize restaurants that allow you to bring your own containers
- choose unwrapped produce
- choose butcher paper over vacuum packaging
So, now armed with these pieces of advice, strategies, and suggestions, I’ll attempt to spend November with a garbage bin empty of plastic. Though I’m sceptical of the recycling process, I will rely on it for this experiment. I know I will fail with certain things, but I will declare them after the month is over. My follow up article will explain the ways I was successful, and the things I struggled with. I will declare times I was weak and caved, and times I was steadfast and refrained.
Bring on NO-vember.
Written by Jesse Wilkinson