Personally, I do all that I can to reduce the plastic in my life, and that includes making sacrifices and missing out on things that I used to enjoy (prawn cocktail crisps come to mind!).
In writing this site though, one of the key messages that I wanted to get across was how reducing plastic could also be practical, and in fact, the best starting point is to reduce you reliance on plastics in whichever ways are practical to you. This of course means that sometimes plastic is just unavoidable, but it also means that you shouldn’t be feeling guilty about it!
Each of us will have a different take on what is practical, it depends on various things such as time, money, living situation, physical ability, health, access to transport, age, whether you are single, a couple, a family….the list could go on. It is also likely to change for each person throughout the year or even a single day.
So, as much as I try my best, plastics still end up in my life, even when I wish they weren’t.
I have decided to call these moments ‘sins’ but in all honestly, I definitely don’t see them that way. A person who gives up plastic completely is not necessarily a saint, it is a fantastic effort, don’t get me wrong, but so much of being able to give up plastic is dependent on a multitude of other circumstances that, if we are honest, make it impossible for every person to achieve. So, a ‘saint’ if you like, in my eyes, is anyone that is simply trying.
How do I justify my ‘sins’?
For me, I do try and weigh up several factors before I intentionally purchase something plastic, in particular when it is likely to involve one of my biggest frustrations, which is single use plastic packaging…why oh why!?!?
The 6 Rs come in useful here:
Refuse – Rethink – Reduce – Reuse – Repair – Recycle
As an example, here is how I decided to buy this bread-maker…
Firstly, can I refuse it?
Technically, yes, I don’t absolutely need one, but I wanted an alternative to buying bread wrapped in plastic, so my answer came out as no.
Can I re-think it?
I had already done this, the bakers was open at inconvenient times of day and making bread by hand was delicious, and even fun, but the length of time it took meant it just wasn’t practical. So, my answer to this was no.
Well, I have already switched to porridge from toast several days a week, but bread is pretty much a staple for me, so I still end up needing it. This wasn’t really applicable for this.
How about re-use, repair and recycle?
I lumped these three together as I considered these to cover the option of buying second hand. We knew what type of bread-maker we wanted, it is the same brand my mum has used for years and so I just knew it would make great bread! Unfortunately though, there was no option to buy second hand, which left the reality of buying the product new.
As we don’t have a car and it is a pretty large item, we ordered online and waited for the delivery. It arrived with no additional plastic packaging, which is great, but of course it contained the pieces of film plastic that we had predicted it would, with each individual component wrapped in a horrible film of flimsy and non-recyclable plastic.
On the plus side though, the bread is amazing! In fact we still have an untouched store bought loaf in the freezer that we have had no need to break into. So as a result, despite the plastic wrappings, we no longer need to buy bread of any kind that is wrapped up in plastic, and as an added bonus, we get to enjoy the delicious smell of freshly baked bread every week!
My list of plastic sins
As of 31st November 2017…
Marks and Spencer’s lunchtime sandwich: Caught out after chatting for too long at a volunteer befriending session. On route to another meeting I had little time to spare and was hard pressed for choice. Next time I will pack a snack just in case!
Cheese! This is a regular sin I’m afraid. I plan to attend a market to try and get it in a reusable tub of mine, but I am yet to remember the box and have the time in the same day!
Store delivery and packaging of an epilator. I new the epilator would contain plastic packaging but I decided the reusability of the product justified the packaging. Annoyingly, my plan to have it delivered to the local store instead of my home, which I thought would reduce packaging, did nothing of the sort and it came in an additional, sealed plastic bag *sigh*.