Good Bye plastic (for now)

Filed in Waste News by on August 2, 2008 13 Comments
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good bye plasticI am starting an experiment to see if it’s possible to give up plastic for a month. By “give up” I mean not buying anything containing plastic or wrapped in plastic.

So no more water bottles, take-away coffees or pre-packed sandwiches. No quick trips to the corner shop for a pack of chicken and some yoghurts for dinner. And I’ll be switching to reusable nappies for my toddler.

This story appeared on the BBC website here on 1st August 2008 Click the link to read more …

We say, Good luck to you Chris Jeavans, You’re not on your own. Call in to our blog and we are happy to support your endeavours.

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  1. Chris’s attempt to do without plastic sounds like the stand every Zero Waste enthusiast takes. Initially it seems straightforward but reality soon dawns. The first reaction to this is – “I am on my own”, and I am sure there are others who feel in the same position. However, help is at hand and any Zero Waste person, in my experience, is only too happy to welcome a newcomer to the sustainable challenge. There must be an adjustment period, where plans are laid, before full participation is practicable. Patience is required but the outcome is certain.


  2. Mrs Green says:

    Here is the original story on the BBC magazine, which gives an interesting shot of one month of plastic generated by Chris’s household! 603 items in all.

    She’ll have an interesting journey with real nappies for her baby, but usually, once you switch to those, you realise how great they are (not to mention money saved) and there is no going back.

    I hope at the end of the month Chris will have put some life-changing choices into place and the environment will benefit from her changes.
    Good luck to Chris, we’re certainly cheering her from here and wishing her lots of success.

    I have to say, I think plastic is one of the most difficult aspects to start with, so let’s hope she has lots of support.

  3. Hi Mrs Green,

    I read the myzerowaste entry on her 2nd blog and hope that will encourage Chris to join-in with the various topics. It can be a great help to share other’s experiences of motherhood and Zero Waste. Plastic is a difficult thing to remove, as you say, from anybody’s everyday life. I suppose going back to the 50s, where plastic was minimal, is an idea.


  4. Mrs Green says:

    I keep thinking about the ‘back to the 50’s’ idea too when I think myself, or hear other’s say ‘we can’t manage without plastic in the 21st century’.

    But then we are embracing a completely different lifestyle of growing our food, foraging, keeping livestock for meat, eggs and milk and grinding our own flours, making cleaning products. We’re not likely to go back to being able to buy things in paper bags or wrapped in greaseproof paper anymore; so the responsibility would fall on us to do these things ourselves.

    Now, just how do we go about that when we are out working all day so that we can fund our new TV purchases, buy convenience food and the latest plastic electronic toys for the kids??? 😉

    Plastic is just *everywhere*. Today I made some cereal bars to save on the individual plastic wrap. They contained agave syrup – the top had a plastic seal, as well as dates and sesame seeds (they came in a plasticised bag), no doubt both products have a huge carbon footprint too as they are from other countries.

    While I was down there just now taking them out of the oven, I was thinking of my own choices as a vegetarian. I don’t think I could have a ’50’s lifestyle’ that supports that kind of diet – I can’t exactly grow rice and black eye beans in the garden! And as for vegans, I don’t know how they would manage at all to eat a balanced diet.

    The whole plastic thing open so many doors to us and I’m really not sure what the answer is.

  5. Hi again,

    The reality is that plastic is part of a sustainable future but we have not yet reached proper plastic recycling ie making equal value product from recycled material. I think Zero Waste is sustainable and that should be good enough for any newcomer. We all start off with grand visions but these are unattainable. Making a contribution towards a common worthwhile future is the best anyone can manage. The comforting thing is that change is happening, though potential problems (eg incineration) lie ahead.


  6. Kris says:

    I feel quite shallow after all the other comments which are very considered and thoughtful.

    But my reaction was that she could still have the takeaway coffee if she took in her own heat-proof mug…

  7. Ailbhe Leamy says:

    I am nowhere near being able to contemplate going plastic-free. I really, really hate dry bread, and am dairy and soy intolerant.

  8. Mr Green says:

    Good point Kris and think… that if everyone took their own mug to work, office, school and used it instead of a vending machine version! A huge mountain of waste saved from the landfill each day.

  9. Mr Green says:

    Hi Ailbhe, We really can’t all do everything. In our home Mrs Green is still struggling with the yoghurt pots that get left over. We ‘SHOULD’ be making our own, but sometimes life gets in the way of what we should, ought, and must do. We do what we can and don’t beat ourselves up for those things that may seem like a failure. You will successd in areas that we fail in, but together we can all make a vast contribution by focusing on the positive aspects.

  10. polythenepam says:

    Absolutly – also giving up pastic all at once is a task in itself – you can source alternative unwrapped products but obviously it takes time and shopping habits need to change. Then packaging, then packaging labelling, recycling and oh so many things. Over the last year I have been boycotting plastic but my goal is not just to say no but to source plastic free alternatives. Going plastic free is not a hair shirt thing but a viable option. Or in some case not. In some cases plastic is the best packaging option – but not to the excessive extent that we use it. I have managed to find plastic free alternatives to many products but I only have time to do about three a month.

  11. Mrs Green says:

    polythenepam, you are doing so well with your ‘boycott’ of plastic. I think your view is really balanced. To go without plastic totally, in the 21st century would be nigh on impossible, but if we could all REDUCE the amount we rely on, the collective impact of that could be massive.
    I think your mission is wonderful and you are making such change to the environment. I hope you feel proud of yourself.

  12. polythenepam says:

    Well thank you kindly ma’am. I guess I am proud – more of of getting up off my fat – er – feet – and making the change. Once you start doing it, its really not that hard. I even got Tescoes to put my fish in a bio bag the other day.

  13. Mrs Green says:

    Tescos; that’s interesting. Was it a weighed item? I had some excuse that the scales on the deli counter were calibrated to weigh the pots as well, so we couldn’t use our own containers……..
    not that I ever shop at Tescos, but it did rather smell of erm, bull poo as far as reasons go.

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