panic

I don’t do regrets.  I can’t see the point in looking back and getting upset about something that has already been and gone.  Today I am going to make an exception.

Why on earth did I go public about trying to go plastic free.  The more observant readers will notice the introduction of a new word.  Yup “trying”  because as the 1st September fast approaches I am starting to panic that it is all going to go belly up pretty fast.  There is so much plastic around us.

The project is not helped by the fact that I have three teenage daughters.  Three perfectly formed modern consumers who like stuff.  Not masses of stuff to be fair and they are discriminating about on what they spend their money.  But much of the stuff they like tends to come with plastic: toiletries, Haribou tangfastic; soft plastic bread for toast; cotton wool pads; fresh strawberries in plastic punnets.

They already think I am bonkers, the mention of the plastic free month was met with  much eye rolling, sighing and pleas to be a bit more normal.  They are fairly well resigned to the fact that all jams and jellies for example are homemade, but still look longingly at the jars of pap on the shop shelves.  I did suggest (as a joke) that we made our own Nutella (which as a plastic lid by the way), you would have thought I was suggesting they eat raw tripe for a month!

But I cannot put all the blame on them.  I have spent this month looking at everything I buy and how much plastic is involved.  Oh boy, there is so much and some is going to be very hard to avoid.

One area that I am really struggling with is cleaners and toiletries.  Not buying them, I can do that quite easily and make my own instead.  But the ingredients I need to make them come in plastic bottles!  Vinegar, surgical spirit, rosewater, witch hazel, beeswax, glycerine, oils.  They all come in plastic bottles.  I have to buy in bulk because I use so much so I have to buy over the internet and nobody is going to send glass bottles through the post if they can avoid it.  I’m wondering if I can send them back but I suspect the answer will be “no it’s too much fuss”.  Grrr

plastic free

Inspired by nzecochick, who along with thousands of people in New Zealand, Australia and an increasing number of other countries, went plastic free in July.  I decided I would attempt to do the same in September.

I have given myself August to start planning and preparing.  This is an arbitrary and incomplete list of the plastic already in our house.

  1. pet food sacks
  2. toiletry containers
  3. cleaning product containers
  4. food wrapping
  5. toothbrushes
  6. hairbrushes
  7. food storage containers
  8. cd cases
  9. dvd cases
  10. bags
  11. freezer bags
  12. bin bags
  13. medicine bottles
  14. dairy cartons
  15. pencil cases
  16. junk mail/catalogue covers
  17. watering cans
  18. clothes pegs
  19. washing maching balls
  20. tumble drier balls
  21. chopping board
  22. kitchen sink plug
  23. fermenting bin
  24. parcel packaging
  25. wrapping tape
  26. folders
  27. meat baster
  28. shower cap
  29. razor
  30. clothes packaging (multibuy underwear, shirts etc)

I could go on and on, but I think you get the gist.  Suddenly it didn’t seem so easy after all.  Also with three teenage daughters and a husband who thinks that one can go too far and I am approaching that point, I am going to be flying solo.

Fortunately the plastic free movement is live and kicking.  There is a vast array of blogs and information sites on the internet:

Yesterday I walked around the house and looked at what I could change immediately.

  • stainless steel water bottles
  • enamel picnic ware
  • stainless steel straws
  • replace travel mugs (ours are falling apart)
  • bamboo  picnic cutlery
  • stainless steel lunchboxes
  • wooden chopping boards
  • clothes pegs
  • make own yoghurt
  • make own toiletries and cleaning products
  • use stainless steel containers for toiletries and cleaning products
  • download music
  • use DVD library and Netflix
  • cut up a loofah for a pan scrubber

Also I have discovered that there is a Food Weigh House in Gateshead and in Newcastle so I may just be able to buy bulk without packaging after all.  My wonderful butcher thinks I am bonkers but is happy to let me use my own containers and now I just have to have the same conversation with my very friendly fishmonger.  Fortunately the greengrocers are already quite happy for me to tip everything willy nilly into my bags.

Plastic free kitchen storage is going to be a problem.  I need big storage containers for flours, nuts, rice, etc.  I have found some good deals for 2 and 3 litre kilner jars but they are just too (1cm to be precise) tall for my pantry shelves.  I may be able to move some stuff around but this is going to be a more complex issue than just buying new jars.  If anyone knows of any wide & flatter glass storage containers, at least 2l in size please let me know.

So that’s the tip of the iceberg sorted.  Now for the rest.  What plastic can you exclude in September?