I first started the boycott in response to the increasing amount of everlasting plastic litter that was to be found polluting our environment and placing a huge strain on our waste disposal services. As a creator of plastic trash I was part of the problem. It annoyed me and I wondered was it possible to live without plastic. I don’t mean all plastic – plastic is a great product ideal for drainpipes and computers but not for making one use throwaway items. These were the focus of my boycott.
My first simple objective was if I could do without and yes in many cases it is possible to refuse plastic products and source biodegradable alternatives.
However as time has passed and I have had to refine my goals. They are now as follows
Plastic Free Biodegradable Alternatives
My primary goal is to stop buying and using plastic products. That includes goods wrapped or packed in throwaway plastic packaging such as food stuffs, cosmetics. Disposable plastic products such as cotton buds, Things made of plastic that have a short lifespan such as pens, combs, Stuff for which there is a perfectly acceptable often superior non plastic alternative like mops and brushes and any other plastic product that ticks me off.
Ideally I source biodegradable, plastic-free alternatives. If I can’t do that I try….
If there is no plastic free alternative I look into making my own plastic free products such as shampoo, window cleaner and hand cream. However there is a limit to the time I have so though I could conceivably learn how to make crisps, will ever have the time to do so so ? No so somethings I just have to give up
If I can’t source an alternative or make my own then my next and preferred option is to give that product up. Thing’s I have given up – include crisps, tobacco and Mars Bars. However some things like vegetable oil I can’t give up so I choose products that have ….
Much Reduced Plastic
Sometimes I have to buy a non plastic product such as wooden pegs that come wrapped in plastic packaging. In the long-term this represents a massive reduction in plastic consumption.
Ingredients for making cosmetics fall into this category because though sadly most come wrapped in plastic they represent a massive reduction in plastic .
Best of a Bad Job
Please note the following options are the best of a bad choice and the search still goes on for plastic free alternative.
Sometimes it is simply not possible to find the required product in plastic free packaging – lentils for example. I can’t live without them but I can’t buy them plastic free. In these cases I only buy them if the packaging is recyclable plastic with local facilities to do so. For more on this see Bad Plastic Worse Plastic
NB this is not an excuse to break earlier pledges if there is a plastic free alternative I do not buy polythene wrapped goods. For instance bread. I can buy or make my own plastic free bread. I can also buy bread in polythene wrappers which is recyclable but do not do so because there is a plastic free alternative. If I have messed up and didn’t manage to get my plastic free bread I do without. It teaches me to be better organized.
Much Diminished Plastic.
Many product have some element of plastic for which is not recyclable such as plastic lids, cap linings or labels. However in the log run these products represent a massive reduction in plastic waste creation. For example glass bottle of cider vinegar (useful for loads of stuff), with plastic lids.
Sometimes I fail. I need bread so I buy it plastic wrapped and all. When this happens I admit to it in my backsliding log and beat myself with twigs. Actually I don’t beat myself that would be too weird but I do feel sullied. However it is important to know how realistic a pledge is. I don’t want giving up plastic to be some kind of penance. Life must be as good if not better without plastic otherwise no one will listen.
I realize that you can’t talk rubbish without thinking about your own and how it is created and dealt with. Inevitably I have got into reusables, recycling and composting.
Reusables and home recycling
First I prefer not to create waste if I can hep it so prefered options are reusables like cotton produce bags or refill services such as Ecover offer
Moreover what waste I do create I want to be able to dispose of /recycle myself by burning or composting then using the end products on the allotment.
If I cant recycle it myself then I choose products that can be recycled by the outside services.
Finally and I consider this a defeat rubbish goes into my refuse bin.
- Refuse one use “throwaway” plastic products and source sustainable alternatives
- Not use multi use plastic products for which there is a perfectly viable biodegradable alternative such as brooms, pens and combs.
- If necessary provide my own disposable packaging that is biodegradable such as biobags for meat at the butchers or burnable such as paper bags so it can be recycled as compost or ash for the allotment.
- To promote reusable packaging as oppose to disposable packaging such as cotton produce sacks for beans
- To promote refill services i.e. washing up liquid. Washing up liquid is best kept in a plastic bottle but that bottle can be reused hundreds of times before being recycled.
- To make my own plastic free products where necessary.
- Give up plastic products for which there is no alternative.
- Where this s not possible choose products that
- Come in recyclable plastic
- Have a minimum plastic element.
- To promote the recycling plastic products though this is not considered an answer to the plastic product problem.
- Where there is a recyclable alternative to plastic i.e. glass or tin I favor the latter though the arguments are complex.
- To reduce the amount of waste I create and to be able to dispose of much of my own waste products by burning or composting.
- To research plastic the product