“The time has come” the Walrus said, “to talk of many things: Of shoes and ships and sealing wax, of cabbages and kings. And why the sea is boiling hot and whether pigs have wings.”
Much like the Walrus, I too like to talk about the sea. For too long humans have been polluting one of the Earth’s most vital ecosystems. It’s not the oil spills, the sewage, pesticide runoff, or the over fishing that I am referring to today. It’s PLASTIC. Do you know that the oceans contribute to over 60% of the oxygen we breathe? Did you also know that there are four parts plastic to one part plankton in the ocean? Do you grasp the weight of that statement? That figure grows as we sit here pondering about the health of Earth and what we can really do about it. Never fear, I am here and I can help YOU make a difference.
PLASTIC FREE JULY (PFJ) is a movement that started in Perth back in 2011. Now thousands of people all over the world participate in this challenge to learn and promote awareness about plastic waste. As a seasoned participant I am here to help you with your journey this July.
Firstly there is no such thing as failure.
Get rid of that thought right now! PFJ is designed to create awareness, and it’s not until you attempt such a challenge do you comprehend the challenge. All you can do is your best (oh dear, I sound like my Mother).
If you are worried and afraid to ditch all plastics, try the “Top Four” challenge. This means saying no to straws, plastic bags, plastic bottles and coffee cup lids. I personally prefer the all-or-nothing approach, for those of you that know me…know I’m crazy.
Pictured top left to bottom right: reusable shopping bags, metal straws (and cleaner), coconut bowl, Kleen Kanteen growler water bottle, Keepcup reusable coffee cup, Fressko insulated tea diffuser, Tuck A Stacker 3-in-1 lunchbox set.
So here are the basics: go get yourself a nice water bottle. One that’s pretty, something you won’t be ashamed to carry around all day. I have a Kleen Kanteen it’s silver, covered in dents and I love it! I’m proud to say that my water bottle does not contain one piece of plastic.
Now that you have a water bottle you need a reusable coffee cup (assuming you drink coffee), I mean we are in Vic. Park and we do love our coffee. The cup pictured is a glass coffee cup from Keepcup. You can buy reusable ‘smartcups’ just about anywhere these days. If you are not sure what to buy check out the our blog on reusable coffee cups. I'm not a fulltime coffee drinker so I also have a tea diffuser by Fressko.
Finally grab yourself some reusable bags for your shopping. Now don’t got to Coles or Woolies and get those green fabric-like bags. They are in fact PLASTIC! They are a type of polypropylene and break down easily in the sun or boot of your car. Whilst they are technically recyclable, it is not something that can be done in Australia. Our tip? Go buy some jute bags, hessian or calico. These are available from Coles, Woolies, IGA, Swansea Street Markets, and the Vic. Park Farmers Markets.
When I first started out the shopping bag thing was easy. It was the ‘what do I put my veggies in’ bag that was hard. So be sure to get yourself some produce bags too. You can get Onya bags from Freo, Loose Produce in Como or even online if you prefer shopping in the dark, alone, late at night. Now that we have the basics covered let’s take it up a notch.
How to roll with PFJ in Vic. Park.
We are so fortunate living in Vic. Park. We can practically walk everywhere we need to. There are butcher shops located in the Park Centre and they will let you bring your own containers. We now have The Source Bulk Foods in the centre and they will also let you bring in your own jars and containers. Just take them to the counter first and they will weigh them so you don’t get charged. I shop a lot at the Swansea Markets because I eat a lot of weird things and I just don’t like my stuff in plastic. I get my coffee at Antz because they give me a discount for having my own cup (you heard right), and my late night dessert treats from Tutti Frutti because they let me bring my own holographic Batman Lego cup and spoon!!! The most common struggles are soft drink (buy cans not bottles), chocolate (Whittakers and Lindt are not wrapped in plastic), rubbish bags (try lining your bin with newspaper), takeaway food (use your own containers, better still get pizza! It comes in a box), goon (you’re better than that – buy a bottle and be classy), and things like toothbrushes and tampons. There are alternatives for those too.
You have nothing to lose by trying something new. Grab some friends, co-workers or get the family together. Make an event of the challenge. Every year I round up some reluctant troops with the promise of dinner. Together we watch Bag It and by the end they are convinced to give it a go. Just remember you are not alone on this journey, there is such an extensive support network in Vic. Park. Check out the links below. You will also find a lot of workshops going on to help you reduce your plastic consumption. These include making body products, wax wraps, composting and cooking essentials. If you want to read more on PFJ and join in the challenge check out the website, but for now I will leave you with this…
Think about the people that come after us. When all the buildings crumble, and the forests are gone, the only thing that will remain is plastic. Plastic: The only disposable product that truly lasts forever.
Awesome blogs to follow: Plastic Free July