Plastic Free July

After you start composting your food scraps and trying to recycle everything else,  you may notice that most of what goes in the Garbage is Plastic!

I get it, it’s convenient, it’s waterproof,  it’s transparent and you can see inside the packaging making it easy to see what you are buying.  It’s no wonder most packaging consists of some form of plastic, whether it’s plastic lining in paper cups and takeaway packages, or plastic wrap, plastic bags, or any other form of plastic packaging.  And never mind the disposable plastic cutlery!

But when you really think about it, plastic is something that has to be manufactured, shipped to be used as packaging and then shipped again to a store where that product is going to be sold, just to be used for the short amount of time it stays in the packaging and then it’s thrown out.  And it won’t break down for another 100 years.

As a composter the not breaking down part really bothers me.  At least with something like paper or food scraps it will break down in the compost, ready to be used again in a couple of months to help to grow more food, or trees, or whatever to start the process all over again.   But plastic doesn’t break down, and stays in the environment as it is for hundreds of years and it ends up in our forests, our oceans, our rivers and lakes and every part of earth.  (And not contributing to anything at all, I might add.)

Now don’t get me wrong, Plastic does have it’s use.  It lasts for a really long time, so it should be used for things that need to last a really long time not for disposable items.

So what can you do to reduce your plastic waste?

    • Whether it’s a reusable water bottle, a rag you reuse over and over, a veggie bag or muslin bag you use to package your bulk items or veggies and fruit in at the grocery store, or reusable grocery or tote bags.  (and Yes, I’ve seen the argument that rewashing something uses more water than the manufacturing of a plastic item, however I don’t see how that outweighs the pollution it causes at the end of it’s life.)
    • Whether you use your own containers or just use less packaging when buying bulk every little bit helps.
      • For example our Bulk Landscaping Supplies have no plastic packaging whatsoever, just a little shovel and people power!
    • Vote with your dollars,
      • If you see excess packaging on a product choose the competitor with less packaging or paper packaging.  (Don’t get me started on Compostable or Biodegradable Packaging as that’s an entirely new topic)
      • If you see a company concentrating it’s product so it’s not shipping water and excess plastic around the world, buy from them!
    • Whenever you go out of the house, think about what might come up that day.
      • Are you going to need a drink –  bring your reusable water bottle,
      • Last minute shopping trips –  reusable bags
      • Might end up getting food – bring your own cutlery or bowl to get your meal or leftovers packaged in.
    • The only thing worse than buying new plastic and throwing it out, is to throw out the stuff that you already have to buy the newest eco-friendly product that will do the same thing.  Reuse those plastic grocery bags you have laying around the house, use the old Tupperware before buying the fancy metal or wooden dish, reuse the water or pop bottle you bought ages ago.  While I know that you can get this stuff at our store, we want you to use it when you need it, not to create more waste!

None of us are going to go completely plastic free this July but it’s a great challenge to notice where Plastic comes into your life and to think about whether there are better alternatives.  And as always, here at the Backyard and Compost Corner, we prioritize items without excessive packaging or no packaging whatsoever to reduce the plastic waste we produce.


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