Next week is Zero Plastic week, from June 10-16, did you know that? The challenge is to not buy any new plastic for a whole week. You can use existing plastic that you already have, you just can’t buy new plastic. Sounds easy? It might be harder than you think.
But first, why I’m joining in. I could write a whole blog post about the evils of plastic, but instead I’ve just picked one thing to show you. A few months back, I saw this video and was really upset by it. If you’ve never seen it, please watch it, it’s 3mins 55secs long…
It’s pretty hard to watch that video and not feel like you personally want to do something about it. So when I heard about Zero Plastic week, that video was one of the reasons I decided to take up the challenge.
Even if you don’t want to join in yourself, you can at least do this – the next time you go to the supermarket, just have a look around and ask yourself how many things could you actually buy there if you were avoiding plastic.
I’ve deliberately not stocked up on things before the week starts, so that I can fully embrace the challenge. I’ve been thinking through what I’ll be able to buy…
– Milk could be tricky, it generally comes in plastic containers. Even the Tetra Packs have thin layers of plastic in them. It is still possible to find milk in glass bottles, but probably not from the supermarket. When the milk I have runs out, I may have to resort to the tub of powdered milk that is lurking in the back of my cupboard (yuck!), or just manage without for the rest of the week.
– Fresh meat, fish and cheese can be a problem. The ready packaged versions are in plastic, and even if you go to the counter, they wrap it in plastic. Maybe I could take my own containers along and ask them to put it in them instead?
– Fruit and vegetables are easy enough. There are plenty of loose options, and again, I’d need to bring my own bags to put it in rather than the ones they provide. Or I could visit street markets, or small greengrocers shops which still use paper bags.
– Canned goods are ok, but I wouldn’t want the majority of my food to come out of a can, so canned goods will just be a small contribution to the week.
– Things that come in glass jars are mostly out because they tend to have plastic lids. Even the metal lids have a plastic coating inside.
– A lot of frozen goods have cardboard packages on the outside, but they usually have plastic film inside.
– Supermarket bread is usually in plastic, but they do generally have loose loaves too, or I can go to bakeries that put them in paper bags. Or I can bake my own.
– We eat quite a bit of pasta. The only way I can think of that I’ll be able to buy pasta this week is if I find a shop that sells bulk food in bins that you scoop from, then I could bring my own bags to put it in. Places like that do that exist, but they’re pretty rare.
– On the plus side, flour, sugar, butter and eggs can all be easily bought in non-plastic packaging, so I can make cake. I can also buy wine (as long as it has a real cork in it and not a plastic cork, nor a metal screw top because they are usually lined with plastic). So I could live on cake and wine all week! Hmm, maybe not, especially considering I have children to feed too. But I do think eggs might feature in our meals quite a bit this week.
– Cleaning products and toiletries are a real challenge, but there are solutions, they just need a bit of research and thinking. But seriously, what will I do if I run out of toilet tissue?! Apparently you can buy a box of toilet tissue rolls without plastic packaging from Amazon, but I’ve probably left it too late now for next week.
One thing I must definitely remember is to take bags with me when I go shopping, otherwise I might have a problem actually taking the food I buy away with me.
It’s just one week, but I think the idea is to make us realise how much plastic we buy, and to think about ways we could cut back on our use, even after the week is done. There’s a lady in California called Beth Terry who has been attempting to live without buying any new plastic since 2007, her website has loads of information about how she does that, it’s really worth a look – plasticfreeguide.com
Would you be up for a challenge like this?