I thought if we told everyone I’d have a commitment to the month.
Day One – I popped out to get lunch and came back with sushi. Love sushi, so healthy, tasty and whoops – it was in a non-recyclable plastic container with a plastic bottle of soy sauce. Eek… I forgot, making day one a fail.
Day Two – popped into our local farm store to buy Monday some dog food and picked up a couple of rat traps. The rats are crazy this year, they stole the bulk of our delicious feijoas right off the trees and stashed them in their nests in the compost to eat over winter. They have to go. Not only was the dog food in plastic bags but the plastic rat traps were shrinkwrapped in plastic as well. But I did refuse the plastic bag and carried it all out in my arms. Day two fail.
Day Three – went to the local craft fair. We couldn’t leave without handmade chocolates and fudge and some delicious salami. The salami was shrinkedwrapped in plastic but I only wanted a half – off with the shrink wrap and my half was wrapped in good old fashioned paper. The chocolates and fudge were in plastic bags but I did hand the plastic bag back to the man who had automatically bagged them for our convenience. I told him it was Plastic Free July. I started something – from then on he asked people if they wanted their purchases in a bag. Most people refused – yay a small victory for the planet. Day Three was not a complete fail.
It’s so hard to be plastic free when everything is put in plastic for our convenience. I carry reusable shopping bags, we have reusable coffee cups and when we combine our family rubbish with WashBar’s rubbish we struggle to find 1 bag a fortnight to take to the tip. Plastic bags do arrive at our home because others think it’s convenient and we don’t say no often enough.
The facts speak for themselves: over a trillion plastic bags are used every year worldwide. In NZ (with a small population of 4 million) we use close to 1 billion. A plastic bag can take up to 1,000 years to degrade, which means our plastic bags aren’t our problem, or our children’s children’s problem – they are left for someone far removed from us.
For the time being they present a massive problem to the world’s sea life. It is estimated that every year waste plastic kills 1 million seabirds and over 100,000 sea mammals, with many more injured.
Sobering thoughts. I am going to try harder. I am going to do better.