Taking responsibility: our plastic free year
Where did March go? Firstly, I must take ownership for keeping you all waiting for this post and apologize with no excuses. I am sure you want to know, though what we have been up to? Well, the garden is coming along thanks to the co-operative we started. On a Friday a handful of other home educators come round and bring arts and crafts and helping hands. So far, we have put in a fire pit using recycled bricks and stones and a compost bin using pallets. If you want to know more about how we did this then check out my Patreon page where you can find useful resources including ‘how to make beeswax wraps’ as well as get the opportunity to support my fiction writing.
I have also felt blessed to be able to catch up with friends from school. This brings up an interesting plastic free note. What can you bring a plastic free friend when coming to stay if they don’t drink wine? Obviously, hard liquor is an option, but it can be a bit of a statement gift. Flowers from your garden are lovely, but they will have faded before arrival, if you have far to travel, and most of my friends do. We know chocolates and fruit can be an issue. So, you see how my friends could panic…
I’m sure many of you may think this cheating, but the rule in the house is,' ‘if I don’t bring it to my home myself then it doesn’t count’. This worked wonderfully when unwell at the beginning of the year and my bestie brought round pizza (wrapped in plastic). Then again, this rule worked well, but maybe stretched the point a little, when my sister gave me a ‘Hello Fresh’ voucher for a free box of food last week. That is the equivalent of £48 worth of food. Did I say I was a single mother of two young children? I mean, Hello! Each meal arrives in a paper bag with loose vegetables, but yes the meat and fish is wrapped in plastic as well as the herbs. The freezer bag for the cold items, I was pleased to see, was made entirely of recycled plastic bottles.
On unpacking I wondered if the box would be reused, but on speaking with customer services unfortunately no. So Emma turned it into a house for her dolls. Painted cardboard, I am sure, can still be recycled, but for now it remains a much loved toy. Of course, I am happy about this… when not tripping over it.
My plastic free year isn’t about being perfect as you know. It is about making lasting change. The risk of going zero waste or plastic free or making any large change (such as sticking to a diet or exercise regime) isn’t the change itself. It is the lasting effect. As result I have ‘gone to the source’ this week. Earlier in the year, I joined Greenpeace having signed their petition to get rid of single use plastics in supermarkets. This month I have written to St Helen’s Goat farm to ask why their milk Tetra packs aren’t fully recyclable and to Walkers Crisps to tell them that their attempt at recycling their crisps packets just isn’t good enough. Who can eat 400 crisp packets? I for one don’t want to encourage my local community to do so. No-one has yet proven to me that they are healthy. I have received a reply from the lovely St Helen’s, but not Walkers!
My next target is Premier foods who are responsible for Mr Kipling’s exceedingly good cakes as well as Ambrosia and Cadbury products to name but three of many. I will be adding all these letters for you to print off and send yourselves (I know you are busy) alongside the responses I receive myself to Patreon for you. They won’t notice if a few customers boycott them, but they will notice if they start getting letters.
In which ever way you are saving the planet, one household at a time, I wish you luck. Please do comment if you went on any protest marches this week. I am annoyed at not making our closest one 10 miles away. But I can’t be too hard on myself as Ben is only 3. But, no doubt there will be more.
Healthy planet! Healthy You!