On the third of July I found out about this challenge called Plastic Free July, and if you know me, you know what happened next.
Yes, I jumped in with both feet. Back when I was a child, plastic was good. In fact, it was better than just good. Way way better. It was miraculous, life changing, wonderful stuff.
We all know better now. We’ve seen the disastrous effects of plastic – and esp. plastic waste – on just about everything on our planet. It poisons the seas, the air, the ground and our food. And it’s everywhere.
Rather than the miracle we thought it was, it’s a gift straight from hell. And still we cannot seem to be arsed. Still we produce plastic, buy plastic and even package almost everything in single use plastic packaging. And we never even stop to think about it twice. Instead, we complain about having to pay all of €0.10 for a single use plastic bag at the supermarket or grocery shop.
Have we all become so blind? So careless? Time to wake up and live one month without plastic. That shouldn’t be so hard, should it?
Unfortunately, it is hard. In the picture below you see the results of my first plastic free shopping trip.
I managed plastic free, but also found out I would not be able to get everything I need plastic free. Not where I live and with my limited mobility. I will still be forced to buy my milk either in plastic bottles or plastic-lined cartons. I found yogurt – very expensive yogurt – in small glass bottles, but with a plastic cap. It’s the best I can do.
As you can see, I bought my bread in a fat free paper bag. I do intend to make my own bread bags, but I hate sewing, so that might be a while still. But I’m making good use of these paper bags. Not once, but several times. I tear them open, then tear them in two and use them to freeze single portions of bread, cake, and whatnot. Wipe clean after use, and use again.
Today I finally found the courage to take my own glass container to the Asian food shop and asked them to fill it with their spicy tofu, and lo and behold!
I’d expected the lady behind the counter to make a fuss, but instead she was only too happy to use my own container. I’ll definitely go there again to buy more yummies. I happen to be rather fond of Indonesian food.
So how do I take my groceries with me, you ask.
When I could still walk well, the answer to this question was a no-brainer. I had a huge backpack which I took with me everywhere. I’ve never been a fan of single use plastic bags, not even as a child.
But I’m not a child anymore, and I’m in a wheelchair. When I had my first wheelchair I soon found out a bag behind my seat was a bad idea as it made my wheelchair want to tip backwards. All. The. Effin. Time. Not good, so I had to come up with a better solution.
Here’s what I did.
Yes, that’s right. I’m still using a backpack, only now I have it underneath my seat. It works great, because as you can probably see, I can easily open it whilst sitting in my chair. I just bend over and pull the zipper.
Gone are the days when I was afraid to tip over on my way back home from grocery shopping. I shop with an amazing ease, and people are awed by the cleverness of my solution. Too bad I can’t take credit for it.
July is almost over, and I’m planning on not only sticking to the habit of shopping as plastic free as I can, but also to try and avoid as much packaging as possible. My ultimate goal is to go Zero Waste, but I don’t expect to get there overnight.
How about you? Have you ever tried to go plastic free, or even zero waste? If you did, what was it like for you? And if you didn’t, are you ready to give it a try?