So how was your World Environment Day? I walked around my neighbourhood and was pleasantly surprised to find very little litter to pick up, and all of that was in the overgrown grass verges along the fields. In all, I found about a dozen pieces of paper and plastic, and picked up all but one and put them in the bin. The one I didn’t pick up was a plastic bag with dog poop in it. Ew. I’m disturbed by the fact that I even got close enough to realise that. Some people are really gross, and I love living in a tidy place, but I’m not going to go that far.
It was an absolute stunner of a day, and I got a bunch of things off my to-do list done. It was Saturday night, but I wanted more than anything to curl up in bed with a good book, so I did just that (with Bill Bryson’s Notes from a Small Island). Unfortunately there was a loud party nearby playing the same Spanish pop song over and over, so I had to close my windows, which made the night slightly less pleasant, but never mind.
This morning I woke early with a desire to do something so I went for a run despite the brewing thunderstorm. “What?” You ask. That’s right, I went for a run. Okay, it was a jog (I don’t run unless I’m playing sports, chasing a bus or being chased). It was actually quite disappointing. I didn’t get to the point where my lungs were heaving, gasping for breath, or my legs like jelly to the point where I was sure I couldn’t go on. I just didn’t feel like pushing myself, and I wasn’t enjoying it, so I just stopped. I was sweaty and out of breath, but didn’t feel like I’d achieved anything – which surely is the point of going for a run? Anyway, I was down by the river anyway so I bought some fruit and vegetables (which I packed in pre-used plastic bags from home – score 1 to me, despite the odd looks I got).
I was home by 9.30 and was shocked at how much of the day was left. I barely knew what to do with myself. The course had been taking up literally all of my time bar when I slept, so this was somewhat of a novelty. So I cooked a nice lunch and a nice dinner (I will NEVER get sick of home-made pizza). The cooking thing got me to thinking about all the plastic I use in my everyday life, and I’ve realised this Month Without Plastic is going to be harder than I thought. And I already thought it was going to be impossible!
But nothing is impossible. For me anyway (modest, I know).
I’ve decided to make a list of things I eat and/or buy regularly than come in plastic.
- cereal (the box is cardboard but inside there’s a plastic bag)
- nearly all non-alcoholic drinks
- ice cream (remind me again how I put on so much weight? – No, I will never give up ice cream)
- and non-food items like toothpaste, tooth brushes, medication, pens…
Holy crap! EVERYTHING is plastic… and plastic is made from oil… and oil is one of the biggest causes of not only environmental destruction, but also hatred, fear and mistrust between humans. It’s so much a part of our lives, but does it need to be?
Life as we know it – the good parts and the bad parts (and let’s face it, most of it is good parts, right?) – would be impossible without plastic. But we clearly need to reduce our use of it. And that can’t be that hard, can it?
So here’s a list of ways I can think of – just off the top of my head – to get around the plastic thing.
- milk: glass bottles or cardboard tetrapacks
- bread: from bakeries in paper or re-usable bags
- meat: from butcheries wrapped in paper and re-used plastic bags (the point of month without plastic is to not buy any new plastic)
- grains from bulk bins in re-usable bags or re-used plastic
- fruit and veges don’t need wrapping – you should be washing them before preparing anyway – and you can always use your own bags
- water is free from the tap (although I’ve heard tap water is a no-go in London, where I’m moving to – is that myth or fact?)
- making your own foods
Some other potential problems I can think of are the fact that I’ll be settling in somewhere new – which usually requires the purchase of many things, many of which are usually plastic. One in particular I can think of is storage containers for food and suchlike. Even the glass ones tend to have plastic components in order to be airtight. Oh dear, what am I getting myself into?
Okay, it seems I’m incapable of short posts, so I’m going to leave this here.
Oh, I finally (only 6 months late) put up photos from my first few weeks in Vietnam on facebook!