How we Did for our Week Without Plastic

by - Saturday, April 29, 2017

This week our family participated in the Week without Plastic. I hope this is an event that catches on, because plastic is causing WAY more problems than it is solving-

-Plastic is poisoning us. It has been proven to shift hormones and cause cancers.
-Plastic is made from fossil fuels. Had enough of Big Oil? Then you have to cut plastic too.
- Plastic is leeching chemicals into our food and water through packaging. It is also entering our food chain because it is eaten by animals.
-Plastic is overwhelming our land and water. By 2050, there will be more plastic in the water than fish.

Holy crap, plastic is the worst. It's like we are all living our lives with our worst enemy lingering right behind us all the time. But just because we want plastic out of our life doesn't mean it is easy. We made it the whole week, but not without making plenty of mistakes.

We started off on a controversial foot- you can read about the Big Plastic Fight of 2017 here.

On Tuesday, we managed a whole trip out of the house and lunch with only the little plastic stickers on the avocados we bought (why aren't these compostable?). Then, we ordered pizza for dinner on the way to a meeting (it was a busy week). We thought it was really the only take out or delivery we could get without plastic. We felt pretty proud of ourselves. But, guess what. It had one of those cursed plastic tables on the inside of the box.

Why?!?!?!? Damn you tiny pizza table!

 Here's the thing. That pizza table is just a symbol- I bet more plastic was used around that pizza on its way to us. Restaurants use plastics behind the scenes too, so we probably shouldn't eat out at all this week. This is freaking hard. Plastic, has wittled its way into every aspect of modern American life, and you realize just how hard it is to get around when you commit to avoiding it.

And it is absolutely worth avoiding. You have to. It's toxicity is fatal to our health and our world. Plastic leeches toxic chemicals into our food and drink, and studies continue to find that it messes with our hormones. It also is deadly for animals, especially sea animals who mistake it for food. Lastly, it is poisoning our water, filling up our oceans.

There is a lot of debate in our house about whether using something up in plastic is on the same scale as buying something new in plastic.  I am going with using what we already have is fine in most cases, but I am agonizing over things like shampoo and conditioner bottles. I use Avalon Organcs, and they will accept the plastic bottles back once you are done, but that is still plastic in the mix.

So do shampoo bars? I cannot be one of those people that doesn't wash their hair. My hair will revolt against me.

The Week Without Plastic really made us think- these are the things we failed with-

Andouille Sausage

Avocado stickers
Pizza Table
One Graduation Gift

Scone (ack! No excuse. Every week my son and I have "scone time" on our way home from pre-school. I had planned to make my own scones, but I never got there)

The Boy ordered a couple of clothing items that came this week (a shirt and socks). They came wrapped in plastic.

Today, we will see. I don't think we have much plan to leave the house, and honestly that is the trick. I now think the best way to avoid buying plastic is to just avoid shopping period. You have to get groceries, and a lot of the trouble starts there, but if we are home all day, we can avoid more.

Our Best Victories

Instead of buying a little plastic bag of cuties, we bought clementines individually, dropped into a reusable produce bag. Those were good. We tried it again later and accidentally picked tangerines with seeds. Oops!

We bought bread in paper bags. This is motivating me to write bread companies and pasta companies that sell their product with a little plastic window. So dumb!

We found pasta in the bulk section at a local store. Want to go back and see if they sell bran like that as well, because that is what The Boy eats for cereal.

We buy all our paper goods in bulk, so most of the paper products come wrapped in paper instead of plastic. Bonus- the paper is recycled, so we are saving trees too.

Farmer's markets are awesome for avoiding those little plastic stickers. Not as great for getting plastic-free meat.

So going forward, I am hopeful we can keep up this momentum, and keep freeing ourselves from nasty plastic. We just keep pushing for more local and less plastic groceries.

Have you ever tried giving up plastic? How did it go? What was the hardest to get out of your life and what tricks did you find for avoiding plastic packaging?

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