This weekend we’ve been discussing just how much plastic we go through as a family. I can tell you now, it’s a lot, and I’m pretty dismayed about just how much we are using. Out of all the recycling that leaves our house, the plastic is the most plentiful. Although we’ve always recycled religiously, I’ve never been particularly hot on the “reduce” part of Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. Over the years I’ve tried to reduce our carbon footprint in other ways, we’ve looked at air miles and being vegan helps our impact somewhat. But there is always more that can be done.
We’ve been thinking of all the plastic things we can do without and we’re a bit stuck on these ones:
- Tetra Pak cartons – although these go in with our plastic recycling do they count as plastic? We drink soya, rice, almond milk etc and I’ve only ever found them in these type of container.
- Sandwich bags – I’m sure I’ve seen material type pouches for packed lunches. Any pointers would be appreciated.
- Pasta, rice, Cous cous, etc. All in plastic packaging. Any alternatives out there?
- Tofu – I’ve only ever found this in plastic. We tend to eat tofu once a week and I would miss it. It has a lot of calcium in which is vital for growing bones so I’m not sure how we’d replace that.
- Cleaning products. We’ve used soap nuts before so will be switching back to these. I think I could manage with baking soda and lemons to clean with, but what about washing up liquid?
- Take away boxes. Ok yes we could live without an occasional take away, but why does Chinese take away food come in plastic and curry come in foil? Is there a reason?
- Bread! Due to our problems with dairy intolerance, cross contamination with fresh bread often makes it a no go area for us. I usually bake a loaf at home at least once a week, but sometimes time gets the better of me.
- Fruit and vegetable packaging. Are cucumbers always shrink wrapped? Does spinach always come in a bag? Are lettuces always in a bag? A trip to the market will solve a fair amount of our packaging problems with more paper bags available for delicate goods but I’m stumped on the others.
- Tortillas – I’ll need a fail safe recipe for these as I’ll miss these!
- Bin bags and dog poo bags – ok this ones a bit grim, but I’ll need a solution none the less. We have a fair few pets that need regularly cleaning up after, and cage detritus always ends up in bin bags. Any environmentally friendly alternatives?
I think a tour of the local recycling plants is a must for us to fully appreciate how much waste we make. I’d like to discover just how much of a demon plastic is? Should we choose glass over plastic? What’s the consensus on what causes the least damage?
Looks like we have a lot to keep us busy for now. Keep us posted with your tips!