6 months Plastic Free

So here I am at the half way mark!  Now I haven’t been posting each month but I have been dutifully keeping a tally & logging it in my special little book & I thought it was about time I shared it with you.  Quite frankly the time has passed quite quickly & while I’ve had some moments I’m finding this a lot easier than I thought.  Its like a switch has been turned on in my brain & it can’t be turned off.  Just this morning I was given a plastic bag to hold…I felt like I was having an affair!  I couldn’t wait to get it out of my hand.  Its interesting how the mind works right!  

I get asked a lot, “how do I do it?”  Well I just do.  When you find something that you are truly passionate about & believe in, there is nothing that will stop you from achieving what you set out to do.  People have said to me that they love the concept, but they just couldn’t do it themselves, for this reason, or that reason & spend a fair amount of time justifying it away to me.  Its interesting because I don’t feel like it is actual for my benefit, more their own.  For me personally, not contributing to the plastic soup in the ocean is more important than the single use convenience that comes wrapped in plastic.  We are all on own own journey & when the time is right we all take the steps we need to to get to our truth, what ever that may be.  For now, this is mine & I’m grateful & humbled by the support from people around me…expected & unexpected.  

However if you do fancy making some lifestyle changes or just making small adjustments with your Plastic consumption, come join me for Plastic Free July.  Its a great way to dip your toes in the water & see how you can make a difference daily & I would be honoured to have you join me….its not to late!

Lets take a peek at the year so far!

JANUARY

First up, January which I blogged about this at the start of the year, here’s the run down, including the weight of my accumulated plastic.  

Jan-15 New plastic Past life Plastic
  2 x Plastic liners from glass containers envelope window
  3 x Protect seals of supplements toothpaste tube
  bottle label plastic crafty bits bag
  2 x sock hang tags vitamin ring seal
  1 x supplement tag random pen
  bundle of receipts super glue lid
    medicine measuring cup
weight gm 9 55

Looking back I had quite a bit of Past life plastic but this is decreasing… very slowly. Really proves how much I still have floating around.

After January I stopped keeping my receipts, it was proving to be too big of a challenge, my wallet bulged & it was tricky to keep a track of what I did with them.  Lets face it these things are everywhere.  I often don’t take them with purchases as i just don’t want to touch them & where possible I ask them not to print one out to avoid BPA on my mitts.

FEBRUARY

Feb-15 New plastic Past life Plastic
  sneaky cheese plastic layer toothbrush head
  teatowel hook random plastic tube
  lid from inside supplement container coconut oil bottle label
  supplement ring tag 2 x Deodorant lids & roller balls
  2 x supplement bottles sunscreen bottle
  lolly wrapper cotton reel
  3 x seals from inside sauce bottles spray bottle
    x 3 random bits
weight gm 53 89

Heading along to the lovely February again I came across the type of plastic that was hiding in my purchases.

The thin layer around the cheese was my biggest peeve, super sneaky.  Thats the clear thin wrapper in the middle bottom of the first pic. I spent ages shopping around looking for a place that had full wheels of cheese that were not pre-cut & wrapped in plastic AND at an affordable price only to find when I got home that it had the finest layer on the outside of the wax!  Now this really pissed me off!  It’s completely unnecessary when the cheese has its protective layer of wax keeping it safe & tasty.  Proof that we use it without any real thought to its aftermath.  I have however found a rather nice cheese that has no plastic & is well priced.

The other bits are to be expected, safety seals around supplement & sauce containers seals. These are unavoidable as health regulations control this, although some have them & some don’t & it’s hard to know by just looking at them.  Also these bottles can have plastic lids but I’m reusing or refilling these bottles.  The supplements are on my “exceptions” list but I am trying to choose supplements in glass over plastic.

Orange lolly wrapper.  Ok so I this is something that I’m finding a challenge. Singularly wrapped sweets….tasty…& they get offered to me.  I often politely say no but on the odd sugar craving moment I cave…don’t judge me.  So far I’m up to about 4 wrappers for the year…not a bad effort considering the amount of sweets & chocolate that crosses my path at work,  but work to be done if I want to stay true to my mission.  I have been working on going sugar free & making my own raw sweet treats…more to come in another post though at a later stage.

The past life stuff speaks for itself, all part of the plastic detox but the one thing I didn’t factor in was how many Plastic labels are on bottles these days.  Take for example my regular brand of coconut oil…plastic label.  I use this stuff lots, I mean lots & lots so I needed to find one that didn’t have a plastic label.  Much easier said than done.  If they didn’t have the label they had a plastic seal around the top…or some have a whole body seal!  Ye gads the stuff is everywhere!  Now oddly the bottle with the plastic label does not have a plastic seal around the top, so I’m not sure about the reasoning there. So I’ve settled on the Spiral brand of coconut oil for now. It has the plastic sleeve around the top but it does have a paper label. Doing the comparisons, the Plastic label is bigger in surface area so I went with the item with the seal or the lesser amount of plastic on it.

MARCH

Moving right along to March & I was lucky to be heading to the sun soaked Island of Bali for 2 weeks for a lovely yoga retreat followed by a week of relaxation.  Lush!  I still had the regular bits & bobs of Plastic but Ive kept it separate from the Bali stash to demonstrate that its not impossible to stick to the Plastic free lifestyle when traveling, more about that in another post though…which I’m yet to write. 

Mar-15 New plastic Past life Plastic
  coconut oil label 2 x old membership cards
  4 x safety seals essential oil lid
  plastic warpped mail neck safety seal
  bandage tape wrapper bag from seeds
  clothing tag random plastic piece
  razor head Face scrub bottle
  chocolate wrapper (don’t judge me) Shampoo bottle
  straw (I hate it when I forget to ask for no straw!) Supplement Tub
  seal from coconut oil bottle  
weight gm 28 204

Bali is an Bamazing country but is drowning in plastic.  Literally!  It’s everywhere & we as tourists & westerners have imposed our plastic loving ways on them & left them high & dry without any waste infrastructure.  But if I started down this path we would be here for ages so I’ll save it again for another post.  Needless to say I didn’t want at all to be a contributor to the Plastic problem so I avoided it’s as much as I possible & bought anything I did use with home with me to add to my stash.

Bali trash  
  3 x straws
  foil & plastic lined nut bag
  small water bottle
  2 x clothing tags
  1 x washing bag
weight gm 47

Bali stash

Straws are the silent one here, over 500 Million straws are used every day…thats a whole lot of straws out there!  Stuffed in every juice, drinks & young coconut, I ended up with 3 (forgot to ask for no straw when ordering a drink).  The small water bottle was one that pissed me off but was unavoidable (maybe).  We had just landed at 1am & with my stainless water bottle empty & an hour drive to Ubud my thirst got the better of me. I have to be practical as well, sometimes you just don’t have another option & thats ok.  Its preps you for next time. The water bottles in Bali are made of this very thin plastic there that feels so laden with BPAs its frightening.  It’s not hard at all to take your own stainless bottle with you as there are loads of places to fill up for 2000 rupee (30cents Aus). It’s also loads cheaper than purchasing a new bottle each day.  Bali has some wonderful initiatives starting up with a plan to stop the use of plastic straws by getting retails on board to use alternatives & stopping single use plastic bags with the Bye Bye plastic bags program. Its a very inspiring program founded by two young school girls in 2013. Check out their video here & take the time to sign the petition to get them to 1 Million signatures & urge the government to Ban the Plastic bag in Bali.  At the time of writing this they have only 68, 072 so they have a way to go.

The washing bag annoyed me as well. I took along my washing in a calico bag & it was returned in a thin plastic bag…sans calico bag. I hope someone is using that nice calico bag to its full potential. 

APRIL

Heading over to April & mid-autumn was setting in.

Apr-15 New plastic Past life Plastic
  2 x seal from coconut oil bottle tea bag holder
  scoop from inside supplement container old lighter
  supplement seal dead stick mixer
  produce sticker supplement label
  essentail oil label random plastic tag
  yoga mat & block wrapper  
  x 2 Clothing tags  
weight gm 19 700

Not such an exciting report to be had for April.  Nothing new aside from a plastic measuring scoop inside a supplement container.  O wait hang on,  the yoga mat & block purchase!  Now I did loads of research into looking for a plastic free, chemical free natural rubber mat & a cork block. I was so damn chuffed with myself that I plumb forgot all about its wrapper.  I requested it be packaged plastic free, which they did a fine job of, wrapping in a cardboard (aside from the sticky tape).  What I did forget was how the mat & block would come packaged.  Swathed in Plastic it turns out…the big ol’ blob to the left of the green wrapper.  My trusty stick mixer gave up the ghost as well.  I did manage to replace it with a secondhand fellow though…win!

MAY

May-15 New plastic Past life Plastic
  I supplement Tub Inner from tissue box
  Pull Tag from vitamin lid  
  x 7 clthing tags  
  Inner Plastic mixer  
  x chocolate wrappers  
  Butchers paper lining  
  Random bit  
weight gm 52 3

Hmmm so my Plastic consumption went up a bit for May.  I did need to get some new winter clothing bits, so 7 of those annoying Plastic tags.  Why do we need to use those, with so many otter alternatives?  Again I succumb again to the small tasty chocolate things….damn their sweet goodness.  The large piece of Plastic wrapper came off the second hand stick mixer i picked up…well it come from an op shop but was new but i guess I still gave it a new home.   

I do have a lot past life less plastic for May.  I only have this empty tissue box with its plastic inner.  You know when I thought about it, tissues used to come without this & it really does seem ridiculous to have such a damaging item just to make the tissues come out nicely.  Stupid, so back to good Ol” fashioned hankies for me.

JUNE

Jun-15 New plastic Past life Plastic
  RSPCA envelope window Bank card
  Pull Tag from vitamin lid Flight abg tag
  seal from coconut oil bottle Safety warning off hairdryer (20 years old)
  Plastic wrapper from online purchase (damn it) Lid of essential oil bottle
  Plastic clothing label Inner dropper from essential oil bottle
  x 2 safety seals  
weight gm 88 15

So again the regular culprits for June, nothing new to see here.  Envelope window letters.  Why.  Can we not stick address’s on things, or print straight onto the envelope? Now surely with technology this can be done…& i think given that inside that parcel was  keyring with my name on it…I’m sure this is not to big of an ask.  Phone call made to the RSPCA to stop sending mail & put that cash in better places.

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So thats my monthly breakdown…. well, broken down & if you are still with me & haven’t completely fallen asleep at your desktop or switched to playing random games on your phone I’ll get this thing wrapped up. 

So mid-year what are some of the challenges I have found?

  • Crackers & chips, O how I miss those salty snacks.  Now I did find some great recipes but I don’t have a lot of time to make all of these things so it becomes a balancing act. I have been really keen on making Kale chips though to give me that salty crunchy hit. Also the tamari almonds are a great one to have on hand & easy to make in advance.  I have found planning my meals & activities to be the absolute key & having premade snacks on hand to grab when I’m hungry is the way forward.  It’s almost like a diet, you have to make sure you have all of the tools in place to keep yourself on track.   A Plastic Free diet.  

  • Sneaky plastic.  Damn this stuff is really frustrating!  You think you are getting something Plastic free & there is it, sneaking around all over it…like with the cheese.

  • Online purchases, as much as i ask, the big stores don’t listen.  Smaller places are totally onboard with packaging requests at the checkout point.  I’ll be putting my money here from now on.

  • Looking at the sea of plastics in stores & supermarkets & hands weighted down with single use plastic bags is daunting.  I feel quite overwhelmed in Supermarkets or stores when I see all of the plastic packaging on the shelves.   It feels like such a big task but it has to start somewhere & with someone & I have to be one of those “someones”.

All of these challenges are part of the process of change though.  After 6 months I’m starting to get into the groove of it & I feel excited everytime someone tells me new ways they too are cutting down on their Plastic use.  I didn’t think I would still have Plastic in my stash but this stuff is going to take a while to get rid off.  When I feel defeated at all of the images, facts & figures I remind myself that change is coming & I am a part of that.  On the flip side there are some amazing change makers out there leading the way.   It’s an incredibly empowering feeling to know that your choices, however small, can make a difference.  No matter what others may say, however they may scoff at the choices you make, if your passion & intention is real, your example will help others shift their own views around Plastic consumption & thats when big shifts happen.

 

Passion inspires Passion, & passion creates change.

So with this last thought I ask you to consider joining Plastic Free July, even if you just stop one Plastic habit.  It all contributes to a happy healthy planet.

With Plastic free love, Sarah xx