I want to participate in Plastic Free July and make it a wholly plastic free month sometime. They encourage disuse of single use plastics - most of which I avoid anyway (shopping bags, straws, plastic water bottles, coffee cups/lids) - for the month. But I'd like to go all the way.
But as of right now my plastic usage, mostly in the form of food packaging, would be too overwhelming to try to just stop cold turkey. My tired mama brain might implode.
Maybe next year. But, for now, it's one bite at a time. So, when Slow Your Home (awesome podcast!) suggested participating in it, I took one week in July to observe the plastic use in my life and then the next week I kept track of every plastic thing I threw away - trying to keep it as authentic as possible. In doing this, I hoped to find a few things I could cut out while I worked on a longer term solution for the more overwhelming things ... like all the food packaging!
Zero waste is a highly respected lifestyle in my book, but there have to be small steps to get there. (Besides plastic, the next biggest thing we throw in the garbage is food scraps - which kills me, especially since I've researched composting! I just need to find the right system for our small place and pull the trigger. More on that to come.)
My week of observation found that we trashed:
16 plastic food wrappers
12 plastic container lids (not recyclable in our area)
1 styrofoam meat tray and plastic wrap
7 dental flossers
9 disposable diapers
8 misc items (mailer plastic, gift wrappers, etc.)
Yes, I kept track. Yes, I know I'm a nerd. :-)
It may not seem like a ton (even with the diapers, it probably would only fill a small bag) but it's a lot considering that it is possible to find and purchase meat and produce without plastic. It just takes some doing.
The one single use thing I'd like to do away with is the dental flossers. I hate using the regular stuff that you wrap around your fingers and end up in a spitty, gross mess - the flossers are way more motivating. BUT is there something I could use that doesn't require throwing out plastic? (Plastic that, btw, that once made will never disappear from the earth.) Bea Johnson from Zero Waste Home suggests using a gum stimulator. Ever seen the rubber thing on the end of a toothbrush? I never really knew what they were for, but I'm considering getting one, watching a YouTube tutorial, and seeing if by my next dental appointment it helps or hurts my teeth! Whatcha think?
Also, I'll be rid of the disposable diapers (nighttime use) once my son decides that sleeping through the night is a desirable thing to do, but until then I'm allowing myself that convenience for nighttime sanity. You win some, you lose some.
What do you think? Is reducing plastic consumption even something you think about? Would you ever experiment with a plastic free July?
(Next year! Next year!)