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Day One. Here we go.

I have been converted to the plastic reduction movement. Plastics are toxic, they are poisoning us and our environment. But above all, plastic never goes away. When we make something out of plastic, it remains in our environment forever. Recycling is not enough: most plastic bottles are not turned into new bottles. They are made into other products (insulation, for example). This new product is also permanent AND they make new bottles.

I have looked around my room and my house and in the fridge. Plastic is everywhere, and 90% of it, I'm just going to throw into the recycling bin and forget about, assuming that, because I recycle, it isn't my problem any more.

It IS my problem.

I'm not anti-plastic. Obviously plastic has some uses that are very important (medical supplies, for example). I am not advocating an all out rejection of plastics immediately. I am advocating a change in the way we see our own role in the environment. I have learned about the four principles of plastic reduction:

REFUSE. REDUCE. REUSE. RECYCLE.

So, today is the first day of a plastic-reduced lifestyle. From now on, I will buy paper and glass packaging over plastic. This is refusing and the number one first step. Ideally, we should make as little plastic as possible, so wherever I can, I will be refusing it.

This breaks my heart. My favourite brand of juice comes in plastic bottles. No more for me. Tasty chocolate mousses and puddings. No more. No yoghurt. Unless I get it fresh from a cafe or something, in either a bowl or a non-plastic container I bring myself. I'll be using green bags from now on. Obviously, I have to keep buying my medication, even though the packaging is plastic. My computer keys are plastic, but I'm not throwing it out. But I am going to avoid all plastic where it's possible to do so.

Part of refusing will also involve writing letters. I'll be letting the producers of all my favourite products know how much I enjoy their foodstuffs, but informing them that I can no longer, in good conscience buy these products. By being part of the "demand" for plastic, I feed the supply. I don't want to be responsible for a single plastic lid.

Reducing is the second choice. If I cannot REFUSE plastic, I will reduce my impact. I'll buy LESS plastic packaging. I'll buy in bulk, so that less packaging is needed.

REUSE. I will not buy a new plastic bottle of juice every day. I will take my own plastic bottle, filled each day with juice I get out of a carton. No buying new pens. I will keep the pen shafts I have now, and buy new ink for them.

RECYCLE. I'm already doing this, but I will be more vigilant. Recycling should be our very last option. We need to stop producing so much plastic and recycling contributes very little to a reduction in manufacturing.

I will be recording this journey through video and photos. Stay tuned for updates as I open you up to what I now see with disturbing clarity: the world is made of plastic. And it's deadly.

If you're interested, here is a great site about reducing plastic use:
http://plasticpollutioncoalition.org/

Where did I suddenly get this mad idea? From a TV show on the ABC called Hungry Beast.
http://hungrybeast.abc.net.au/stories/great-garbage-patch
Here is a video of Wednesday night's article on plastic pollution in the pacific. I nearly vomited. The intention of the piece was to make people think about the way we use our environment. I've thought about it and I can't do it any more.

But plastic pollution isn't just about the birds in the pacific. I'll have much more to say on the subject in coming weeks.

Comments

( 5 comments! — Make Remark! )
boojumlol
Nov. 13th, 2009 03:08 am (UTC)
Food co-operatives are good for reducing packaging - I assume there are some in Canberra. Lush is good for buying soaps and shampoos without plastic packaging, though I'm not sure there's a store in Canberra.

I really admire what you're doing. I should be more vigilant too. This does seem like the perfect excuse to buy expensive fresh juice that comes in waxed cardboard rather than the cheap stuff in bottles. Hmmm...
the_kaytinator
Nov. 13th, 2009 03:32 am (UTC)
I will investigate food cooperatives. And I know I've HEARD of Lush. I'll check that out too.

I have just been on my first plastic-free supermarket trip. I bought a waxed-cardboard juice from the same company that usually makes my bottled juice. By the litre, it's actually cheaper which is great news. Unfortunately, however, there aren't as many varieties, but I'll learn to live it.

The real problem is chocolate. Some of it comes in plastic wrappers and some of it comes in foil. Foil only for me from now on.
etherealdeva
Nov. 14th, 2009 08:24 am (UTC)
I'll second the Lush love. It's awesome (in fact, I jsut made a trip there today whilst in Melb). They do online ordering too, which Sam and I sometimes use when we're not going to Melb in the near future.
thingwithtrees
Nov. 14th, 2009 03:33 am (UTC)
A worthy cause! Perhaps I shall join you on this crusade! With my already limited diet there may be a few plastic-coated items I'm unable to give up, but with most things I'm sure there's a non-plastic alternative I could be purchasing instead! If you're able I'd recommend getting one of those stainless steel reusable water bottles instead of reusing a plastic one, unless you're sure the plastic won't leach chemicals into your water, which is what I've heard is the trouble with reusing plastics.
Goodluck with it dude! I'll try and make some changes around here to support your cause :)
miska_maz
Nov. 16th, 2009 07:40 am (UTC)
The plastic leaching is only bad if you heat/cool/freeze the plastic. So basically if you keep the bottle and only fill it when u need it leaching is not a problem :)
( 5 comments! — Make Remark! )

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