YOUR PLANET NEEDS YOU!!
WE ARE DROWNING IN A SEA OF PLASTIC. This photo of the plastic that was found in the stomach of a shearwater (a dead one) on Lord Howe Island – all 274 pieces – has galvanised me to SIT DOWN and write this and encourage you to STAND UP and take the PLASTIC FREE JULY challenge.
This is the story of how our family of 16, 8 adults and 8 children, have tried to quit our PLASTIC HABIT and hope that our SOLUTIONS and IDEAS can help you too. You see, I think that part of the gloom and doom that hangs over modern society is that we know that many of our BAD HABITS are killing us, and our planet, but we just don’t know how to stop? We all know what we should do but none of us wants to CHANGE – well IT’S TIME. I hope this helps you to START TO STOP.
1. THE PROBLEM: SINGLE USE PLASTIC BOTTLES and CUPS ARE THE MOST POLLUTING OCEAN JUNK.
- They also clog our waterways, are a littering eyesore and take an enormous amount of resources in attempts to recycle them. Containers like these are a phenomena of modern affluence.
It’s not so long ago that every box, bag and wrapper was made of organic material; paper, wood, hemp, jute, cotton, linen and glass. Tea came in wooden chests; meat from the butchers was wrapped in paper; all fruit and vegetables were sold loose and taken home in a shopping bag; cheese was cut from a large round then simply wrapped in paper and so on. Then the industrial chemists came up with all those wonderful products like plastic, PVC and polystyrene that were more durable and longer lasting. The trouble is that they are SYNTHETIC, they are not made from ORGANIC compounds – they don’t return from whence they came – they DON’T break down.
Excavate a two thousand year old Roman site and what will you find? Shards of pottery? An old coin? A spear head. Excavate Mullumbimby in two thousand years and you’ll just find a mountain of plastic junk full of drink bottles and dirty nappies.
THE SOLUTION: DON’T BUY IT!
- Bring and use your own REUSABLE BOTTLES.
- Don’t like the taste of water from the tap or worried about tank water? – GET A FILTER.
- If your town doesn’t have a WATER REFILLING STATION then contact the Council/Chamber of Commerce and encourage them to do so.
- WANT FIZZY DRINKS? Get a SODA STREAM and make your own. We all know by now how bad drinks like Coke are for us – containing 9 teaspoons of sugar per small bottle. The contents are bad for us and so are the containers – time to ditch them.
Using a SODA STREAM is child’s play – make your own fizzy drinks and save money
BEAUTIFUL BALI choking in PLASTIC. Kuta Beach
2. THE PROBLEM: FEEDING OURSELVES AND SHOPPING
- We always used to take reusable carry bags to the shops. SINGLE USE PLASTIC BAGS are a part of the CONVENIENCE CULTURE of modern society but they ARE SIMPLY A LAZY OPTION WE CAN NO LONGER AFFORD – ditch them and TAKE YOUR OWN BAGS.
- More than 40 countries around the world already have measures limiting the use of plastic bags. Australia is playing catch up. In Kenya you can be fined $39,000 for violating their bag ban. From Belgium to Bangladesh consumers are saying NO to PLASTIC BAGS and the supermarkets are having to listen to them.
- PRAISE your local shops and cafes for any initiatives they are taking to GET RID OF PLASTIC. Don’t be this idiot I encountered at my local supermarket who was swearing at the staff because they have ‘banned the bag’. He could have taken one of the cardboard boxes provided or bought a cheap re-usable bag, but no – he went to the fruit and veg aisle, ripped off about a dozen small plastic produce bags and continued to swear at the staff while he tried to stuff his shopping into them.
- Go to a BULK PRODUCE STORE for all your dry goods/cleaning products/honey/oils …………… and re-use their paper bags or TAKE YOUR OWN CONTAINERS.
Shop at your BULK STORE and cut down on WASTE and get a smile!
- FARMERS MARKETS are wonderful community trading places to shop and have a chat with those marvellous folk who grow our food for us. This food usually hasn’t travelled very far, cutting down on transport costs, there is very little waste AND you can carry it away in your own bags AND everything tastes fantastic.
My grandchildren made the whole family these marvellous RE-USABLE PRODUCE BAGS out of old mosquito netting, to take to the market. You don’t have to go to this trouble – you can make some very simple ones out of old pillow cases and t-shirts.
Many folk around the world still shop daily at produce markets eschewing the onslaught of industrialised food and supermarkets. THEY STILL COOK and demand fresh food daily – then take it home in their shopping bags.
- FEED YOURSELF – GROW SOMETHING. Even if it is small box of salad greens – so easy, convenient, nutritious and cheap. You always have something to pick and there is no WASTE. How much of a lettuce do you throw away every time you buy one?
I have a theory (number 248) that many folk are a little unenthusiastic about growing their own food because they simply don’t know how good a vegetable can taste? They have only ever eaten hydroponic and industrialised food and think “why would I bother – it tastes like shit”? Discuss.
- LEAVE THOSE OVER PACKAGED FRUITS AND VEGETABLES ON THE SHELF. If you didn’t know it by now I’m telling that you have REAL POWER in your PURSE – refuse to buy them.
Now here’s a thing. Ever wondered about the insanity of a single banana or lemon for sale in the supermarket, wrapped in plastic on a polystyrene tray? Well, the supermarkets are not mad – THEY ARE JUST MAKING MONEY. It is cheaper to carry food wrapped in plastic because they can be transported in a soft-sided truck. Food in cardboard boxes have to go in a solid sided truck which increases transport costs. So pre-packaged plastic food is only going to increase in volume in supermarkets and the only way to stop it is by LEAVING IT ON THE SHELF.
3. THE PROBLEM: CATERING and COFFEE CUPS
- ITS PLASTIC FREE JULY and the challenge for everyone is to QUIT PLASTIC and reduce WASTE. One of the biggest challenges is the ubiquitous, single use, take-away coffee cup. Personally, I hate drinking coffee out of them but some folk buy three or four a day, day in and day out, and just chuck the cups in the bin to end up rotting for years at the local tip. Do you have someones birthday coming up – then buy them a REUSABLE COFFEE CUP – simple. There is an added bonus – most cafes will give you a discount if you bring your own cup.
This REUSABLE COFFEE CUP is made from glass and bamboo. My husband is often on the road and it took him a while to get used to washing this up and re-using it but if he is willing to change then anyone can!
- This July, as well as giving up PLASTIC BAGS and TAKEAWAY CUPS we are being urged to rid ourselves of the PLASTIC STRAW and BALLOON habit. Makes sense to me and not hard to do. Bring back bunting and lips – that’s what I say.
- CATERING FOR PARTIES AND EVENTS. This can be a challenge and I used to hate the piles of plastic plates and cups that ended up in the garbage after a lovely, happy party. Not any more. What our family has done is get a REUSABLE PARTY PACK using PLATES, CUTLERY, GLASSES, and WATER BOTTLES picked up at charity shops for next to nothing. As well as the family, anyone in our circle of friends can borrow them for a donation to a local charity and we have enough to cater for 40 people. It all just sits in milk crates in the bottom of my pantry AND I don’t wash them up – the dishwasher does AND they get used OVER and OVER again. Already, for an outlay of about $40, we have saved hundreds of dollars and THERE IS NO WASTE.
Find all of this hard to swallow – well not as hard as it was for that poor bird with a gut full of plastic. TIME TO SAY NO FOLKS – LEAVE IT ON THE SHELF, GROW SOMETHING and BRING YOUR OWN. GOODBYE PLASTIC!