It’s hard to ignore the news footage of our oceans filling up with floating plastic, beaches fouled and wildlife injured or worse. Sometimes the problem seems so big, it seems impossible for us to deal with it, but it isn’t just going to be just wished away, sadly.
I realised a while ago just how much plastic and how many disposable containers I use when I put my own refuse oout for collection for recycling. And that pile is of course only part of what I get through in a week.
So, we’re going to see how much plastic waste can be cut down upon in the space of a month, just as a trial. To help measure it, I’ll keep a detailed log here before preparing a summary conclusion.
Not Socks Again is helping by providing me with a reusable thermal travel mug and flask. As I usually get through a take-away coffee or two, and maybe a bottle of water each day in the shop, there ought to be scope to reduce waste there. It will though need some discipline on my part to make lunch (instead of buying plastics wrapped sandwiches) etc on a daily basis!
We’ll report back at the end, but in the meantime, if you have any tips, ideas or thoughts, please do send them on to firstname.lastname@example.org or use the box below.
My first thoughts today were Easter Sunday and April Fool's Day - maybe not the most auspicious start to a month of working to reduce my own plastic consumption! However the eggs I received were mainly contained in cars and foil (another issue, I know!) and although I needed 2 carrier bags to take my family their easter treats, they were being re-used, and I re-used one a third time when nipping out to the shop for a paper.
Summary: no new plastic used today, and 2 carriers bags were re-used at least once.
Easter Monday, opened the shop for a short while and gave out a few recycled paper carriers to customers, and also bought a coffee in a non-RE-usable cup. Tonight's tea from the supermarket came in plastic containers ... this is not quite as easy as it seems!
Summary: will use a thermos or travel mug in future, and try to buy meals ingredients locally from small shops which tend to offer paper wrappings.
Thumping headache meant getting to work disorganised, and buying hot drink and sandwich out. So much for yesterday's resolutions. Headache became horrendous so spent rest of day in bed, which at least meant no further plastic consumed (unless you count the paracetamol palette).
Summary: a day best forgotten, must do better.
Wednesday 4 April
Day off, so bought bread from local baker (but wrapped in plastic bag!) and ate out. Got into a pickle over crisp packets, but also found that at least one cafe gives a discount off coffee if you bring in a reusable mug!
Pm: spent time sourcing bags for shop, small recycled paper ones were okay, but if it's wet, or people have bought later items and haven't brought their own bags we really need to be able to offer something suitable. Eventually found biodegradable recycled bags at a good price. It took an hour or so of research, but 200 bags should at least be capable of biodegrading, so worth it.
Summary: couple of useful breakthroughs, some of which may save money as well as reduce the plastic problem a little.
Organised, made my own lunch (wrapped in greaseproof paper) and brought tea (in flask) and squash (in metal water bottle) in to work. So far so good, but then a large delivery of goods for the shop arrived - and with the usual mountain of cardboard was a lot of bubble wrap. One saving feature - this supplier allows us to choose to use re-used wrappings, so at least this bubble wrap wasn't new. And we'll re-use it once again for wrapping fragile items. So, bit better, but I don't know whether it degrades.
Bought fruit and veg from lovely local shop, top quality produce and all in paper bags :)
Summary: generally progress made, and at least a yard of bubble wrap is to be used for a third time but does it degrade?
-made own lunch and took flask of tea and flask of squash to work using a hessian bag. Some new stock came in, some of which had integral plastic straws, so will offer customers paper alternatives. Used hessian bag for shopping on way home.
Summary: quite a positive day, certainly saved adding one plastic water bottle and one disposable coffee cup and a plastic shopping bag to the world's rally. Interestingly am also saving money and the thermal mugs/vacuum flasks keep drunks warm much longer.
The shop has been trading in Windsor Terrace for a year now!
A nice day instore but all quite quiet on the plastics front.
Nice walk in the sun. Carried my reusable travel mug, used it and saved 25p - but will need to start carrying a bit of tape to put over the mouth but, as otherwise my coat pocket gets residue coffee leaking into it.
Fairly dismal day all round. Weather not at all springlike, I forgot my homemade lunch, bought a plastic-wrapped 6 pack of plastic bottled water without thinking about it because it was as cheap as a single coffee, and we had a huge delivery in the shop wrapped in plastic and stuffed with bubble wrap and air pillows. Argh!
Summary: worst day so far, must do better!