World Environment Day... my plastic nemesis.

Yesterday was World Environment Day and the theme for this year was ‘Beat Plastic Pollution’. 

And plastic is my nemesis.

I think we have all known for a long time how bad plastic is for the planet. Just a cursory look at some of the World Environment Day articles and shocking statistics just lurch out of the page – every year globally we use around 5 trillion plastic bags; each Australian uses around 200 plastic bags per year; we use a plastic bag for around 12 minutes and then it takes around 500 years to break down… and that’s just the stats on bags.

Also, when we saw a nutritionist a couple of years ago she told us to avoid plastic for food storage and use glass instead, as she said that plastic can leach into the food – there is mixed evidence around this, but enough questions to be concerned. 

Now, there is a LOT I could do better. Literally every second week I forget my reuseable shopping bags when I grocery shop; I often forget my coffee cup, my water bottle etc. and then buy a throwaway plastic one to fill the gap; I am not as careful as I should be when buying food to select those not in plastic packaging – I’ve even been known to buy apples in a plastic packet…

I can improve markedly.

But there are some things I find hard, and I don’t know how to fix my plastic usage problem – so advice would be most appreciated:

  1. What do I do about buying fruit and vegetables when only plastic bags are supplied? It’s ok if I’m just buying a couple of mandarins and apples, but if I’m buying beans I need to put them in something so they can be weighed and I can purchase them – what is the solution here?
  1. All Eddie’s food is put in plastic boxes/lunch boxes for kindy. I literally cannot put a 3 year olds food in a glass container, and even if I use those lunch bags (which are all lined with plastic…) I need to put the food inside it in small plastic containers. Should I be worried about leaching? Is there any alternative to this?
  1. What do you do about the myriad products that are all plastic packaged? I’d love to be someone who can get their fruit and veg box delivered (we have tried this many times and always end up with 10,000 potatoes after a month or so and never enough fruit…), go to a produce store and buy my nuts/seeds/cereals/oats etc. directly in jars or brown paper bags, I could buy my meat directly from the butcher always and ask that he wraps it only in brown paper etc. etc. But, guys, I don’t have time… I really don’t. Plus there are lots of things that I can’t find alternatives to anymore, they are literally only available in plastic.

What do you guys do? Tell me please! 

At a fantastic business breakfast catch up the other day I heard about Terra Cycle, which is a comprehensive recycling company that you can send your recyclables to. I am going to investigate the heck out of this and see how I can recycle more of my single use plastics in the shop and at home (I already take plastic from the shop to the Coles plastic recycling bins in store semi-regularly).

Still, although it is great, this recycling model doesn’t get to the source of the issue. So please friends send me your thoughts and ideas on this, and let’s try and change the world bit by bit. Honestly, the way plastic is filling beaches, animals are eating it, and goodness knows what it’s doing to our food chain (I’ll leave micro plastics for another time…), this is so important and I am open to make as much change as a can to get rid of plastic in my life. Take that nemesis!

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