Friday, September 14, 2012

Plastic Free??

I’m a bit obsessed by plastic at the moment. After reading Plastic Free – How I Kicked the Plastic Habit and How You Can too by Beth Terry and Plastic – A Toxic Love Story by Susan Freinkel, plastic has moved back onto my radar.

As you can see here and here, we started removing plastic nearly 3 years ago after I read Chemical Free Kids & Slow Death by Rubber Duck. But after reading these two new books plus blogs like Mummy Footprint, I’m renewed in my horror at the pervasiveness of plastics in our bodies and our lives. I thought I was pretty up with plastics but have found that in some ways I am so not!! Then I saw this episode of Catalyst and was again inspired / had renewed energy to make further plastic free changes to our lifestyle.

This is a photo of my plastic waste for the last week (though it doesn’t include anything that could go into the recycle bin). Beth Terry really makes you think about what to do with this trash.

So what to do?? I really enjoyed Bec’s post today on A Less Complicated Life. How we do some things simply because they make life easier so that we can spend time on the things we want to do and think are important like gardening, bread making and the like and it made me think about the things I do (along with the trash) and about the things I could change…

:: I’d fallen into thinking our 1 tin of canned tuna per week was ok because a) Little B didn’t eat it (no BPA exposure for him) and b) because we bought Fish 4 Ever which is sustainably fished. After watching the Catalyst episode we no longer eat canned tuna.

:: I’ve also packed away our breadmaker into the shed. I make all our bread by hand (using a bulk River Cottage recipe) but if I ran out of time or we had a busy week, I would resort to making the dough in the breadmaker and shaping by hand and baking in our oven. After re-reading about Teflon and its effect on brains, this is a thing of the past. Now I buy bread by Phillipa’s as a last resort as it is made by hand.

:: Which leads to the unrecyclable plastics in my photo. Phillipa’s bread comes in a plastic bag :-( but I have discovered these great recycle bins by Red Project outside a local Coles where you can recycle plastic bags not accepted by your local council. Think bread bags, pasta bags, cereal bags, fresh produce bags, reusable green bags. These are then made into recycled outdoor furniture for schools. So I feel much more comfortable recycling my photographed plastic rubbish this way rather than sending it to landfill.

:: I’m also rethinking (yet again) what I purchase and aiming for products packaged in paper or glass. Plus we now keep all glass jars/ bottles that come into our house.

And oddly enough, I think this avoidance of plastic just encourages me to keep living the way we do – cooking from scratch, visiting local farmers markets, supporting local business, growing our own etc. Plus to be honest, why go to all the effort of growing my own organic vegies, if I’m poisoning my family in worse ways.

Do I think we need yet another thing to beat ourselves up about?? No - because as Bec covers beautifully, sometimes you just need to focus on the things you think are important. Little B has co-ordination disorder that was caused by a change to his neural pathways either in utero or early in life - knowing that these plastics can change brains, neural pathways and the like makes removing plastic something I feel is important. Did all those meals I reheated in plastic for lunches at work whilst pregnant make a difference? What about all the baby food I reheated in plastic because I was industrially making my own? I'll never know but I can make different informed choices now :-)

So for now, I’ve also decided to try one new thing a month from Beth Terry’s book. Her blog My Plastic-Free Life is also a great support. So for September, I’m decided to document all my plastic as a visual aid for me to know how much actually comes in the door and why I’ve made that choice.

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