The fact, that almost everything is wrapped in plastic is shocking. And if there are loose oranges or avocadoes in the supermarket, people still go and get plastic bags to transport them. I don’t understand this behaviour. I really don’t. Especially when it comes to something like oranges and avocados, fruits and vegetables that we peel before we eat; there is not even a hygienical benefit to putting it into a plastic bag! Why is a cucumber wrapped in a condom? Why?
It makes me wonder, there must be a big marketing going on behind the scenes. Maybe people think that their fruits and vegetables are “brand-new” if it comes wrapped in plastic. Maybe they like it because they think that nobody has ever touched it before they after unwrapping it. Which is not true. Someone does the picking, the assorting (finding the moldy and bad veggies), someone does the quality management. Lots of people can have their fingers on your cucumber, before it gets wrapped in its condom.
Maybe its just that soft, straight, see-through shiny feeling that we like between our fingers. It makes us think that we buy is a high-quality product. Wrapped for us. Like a birthday present.
Whenever my boyfriend and me go shopping together, I have a really good time. We have fun, only picking the fruits and vegetables that you can buy loose without any plastic. We almost always find everything we need, or else we simply substitute things (like picking sweet potatoes instead of a plastic bag full of normal potatoes). These exchanges don’t harm our creations, our meals. In fact, sometimes it even tastes better. We like the change and we like the feeling of not supporting the plastic industry. We transport our veggies and fruits loose in our own textile shopping bags that we like to reuse. Here in Canada, they use the concept of “un-packed self-service fill up stations” where you can bring your own container and fill up your customized amount of products, like nuts, seeds, noodles, rice, herbs and spices, oats, wheat, anything. I love that concept. No plastic garbage is created, unless you rip off a new plastic bag to fill it up (which is totally against the beautiful concept).
When we arrive at the cash register, we see lots of people with lots of single plastic bags. One for the tomatoes, one for the bell pepper, some people even stuff them with products, that are already wrapped in plastic! It’s unbelievable.
If you think I am overexaggerating then read this collection of facts:
- On average, a plastic bag is used for 11 minutes.
- An average European causes more than 100 kilograms of plastic, every year.
- In the oceans there are over 100 million tons of plastic swimming right now. Of course, sea life is affected by this. Fish, and all other sea animals struggle and die out because of this. Birds that catch fish are affected too. Scientists found plastic in seagulls and sea eagles
- Once plastic is produced, it wont disappear. Actually, it takes 500 years till plastic rottenes.
- One tube of toothpaste may contain up to 10% of microplastic.
- Plastic often contains a softener, bisphenol A. Its scientifically proven to cause cancer, asthma and infertility.
- Only 11 out of 100000 substances, that are used for the production of plastic in the last decade, have been analysed.
- The plastic industry in Europe only makes over 500 billion Euros every year. I didn’t quite find the number for north America and Asia but it must be at least equal.
Isn’t that shocking? What kind of world did we create for our children and grand-children?
If you want to improve your plastic consumption (and at the same time save some $$$); here are some of my tips:
- Recycling: You can re-use all plastic bags that you have at home right now. If they are dirty, wash and dry them. Use them, as long as possible, now that you have them.
- Prepare for your shopping trips: Set aside some textile shopping bags and some of the smaller plastic bags that you already have at home and take them with you when you go shopping.
- If you go shopping unprepared (or you forgot your bags at home) here is a lifesaver: Just grab a cardboard box (you often find those at the fresh veggies or fruits), it should help you carry your groceries to the car. Bonus: while heavy plastic bags often rip, these boxes hold way more weight!
- Collect your organic garbage in a separate bin. Order garbage bags online that are made of corn starch, they will just disappear with your vegetable and fruit garbage.
- This one is for all women: Use a mooncup/lady cup/menstrual cup instead of tampons. Ok, its made of silicon but it will last a long time and you save so much plastic garbage by simply not buying tampons anymore.
For all mamas: Use textile diapers for your baby. These diapers are made to reuse. You can put them in the laundry. This is also a lot cheaper.
- Topic: Toothbrush/Toothpaste: I use a toothpaste that is made out of natural ingredients only, it comes in a little glass jar and it whitenes the teeth. Also there is the option of purchasing a toothbrush that is 100% recyclable, its made with wood/bamboo, check it out here. Its not a lot pricier, and you get a good quality.
- Getting fresh veggies and fruit: Check online if you find a local market in your area. You will not only get good quality from local farms, but also support the local vegetable farmers. Also its nice to eat “with the season” and adapt a little bit to what is available right now. Sometimes you get good deals on these markets as well.
- Water bottles: If you want to avoid buying water bottles, consider getting one nice metal water bottle, that you can refill. I cant drink tap water where I live (it just doesn’t taste good to me) so I got 2 15 litre bottles that I fill up, either in the supermarket on a fill-up station or in the nature by the creek (we found a natural quarry nearby).
- Replace takeaway articles with re-use articles: Use a metal bottle instead of plastic bottle, bring your own coffee cup to starbucks instead taking a plastic cup. Cheap, There are even straws made of glass or metal that you can put in the dish washer. Get one good razer instead of single-use razers. By the way, here is a trick to use razorblades longer than just for a week (up to a month): Simply use an old pair of jeans to sharpen it: With slight pressure, move the razorblade in opposite shaving direction over the jeansfabric.
- Have a backpack or shopping bags with you when you go to get new shoes, clothes or books. The cashier almost automatically puts them into a plastic bag.
- Check your clothes and avoid (unless its sportswear) polyester. Polyester is plastic. Use tencil, cotton or linen instead.
Please share this with your friends and your family. It is really important that we all do steps in the right direction now.
*The links added just serve as inspiration. There are no affiliates attached, I don't get anything if you make a purchase.