Day two…

I’m just home from the local supermarket, my first visit of the year. Nellie requested sausages, mash, peas and Yorkshire puddings with gravy for dinner ‘no problem’, I said. After a quick mooch around the larder and freezer my list was complete – butter, milk, sausages, potatoes and cleaning products.

Nellie and I headed to the frozen aisle of our local Waitrose first to see what plastic free pickings were on offer. Great news if you’re vegetarian or vegan as all the Linda McCartney and Cauldron range are boxed in cardboard. Bad news if you fancy pastry, meat, seafood or frozen goodies such as ice-cream.

Next stop, the deli counter for Nellie’s chipolatas – I asked for five perfectly thin organic chipolatas but quickly realised all meat produce was weighed and served out in thin plastic bags. There was no alternative, no paper substitute and so we waved goodbye to our porky friends.

I came home carrying an unwrapped loaf of bread in my hands, the paper bags in the bakery aisle were faced with plastic on one side. No cleaning products to be had either.

What did I learn? I was woefully unorganised and only managed to bag veggie sausages, potatoes and butter. Tomorrow our first doorstep milk delivery arrives in old-fashioned glass pint bottles, the only problem is that once our cornflakes run out we won’t be able to throw a replacement box in the trolley on our next grocery outing, plastic is king when it comes to food packaging and if we are going to succeed on this mission we will have to think like ninjas.

New Years Day 2018

Our family’s New Year resolution was underway at the stroke of midnight, the three of us and our two dogs will be attempting a plastic free year. We begin our mini mission on the day that China introduces a ban on the import of 24 different grades of waste from oversees for recycling. Its reason, in recent years it has become much richer but much dirtier.

China’s ‘National Sword’ campaign is a reaction to the overwhelming amount of rubbish being sent to the country. Last year, 7.3 million tonnes of scrap plastic was imported to China from Europe alone, according to the Bureau of International Recycling.

Sending the problem away hasn’t been the answer so far and this ‘out of sight, out of mind’ attitude is one that I am familiar with.  I know that plastic is bad for the environment, I know it clogs up rivers and wreaks havoc on the natural world yet I am still part of the problem. As a consumer, every time I buy a product encased in plastic I’m making a choice. Often I justify my purchase by searching out the universal ‘chasing arrow’ logo knowing the plastic will at some point be recycled in another form.

Yet recycling is not without its problems, the process is a dirty one and causes pollution,   and often times poorer nations take the burden. And so today is the beginning of our little journey to live a little more cleanly, a little more wisely and a little more conscientiously. Going forward we aim to quit single use plastic materials, buy less stuff, chose products with less packaging if any. Reduce, reuse and only then recycle.