Sunday, 1 April 2018

Re-evaluating My Relationship With Plastic, Renewing My Commitment to the Earth

Today is Easter. A time where we renew our faith in both the natural world (spring is here and we watch Mother Earth renew herself) and for all my Christian friends, a time of renewal of faith in the church (with the resurrection of Jesus.)

It is a time for renewal and re-evaluation.

Ever since my trip to the US, I have been reevaluating my relationship with waste. I spent two weeks in Louisiana and my home town STILL doesn’t recycle.

 In 2018.

Does. Not. Recycle.

Other towns do. But not Alexandria. I was incredibly wasteful while I was there, going through single use plastics like water. In fact, many of them contained water. In the UK, I would rarely if ever buy a plastic bottle full of water, but where my daughter lives the city water is not great and the pipes in her house were old and made of lead, so they drank bottled water.
 Image result for plastic water bottles
I drank four 500ml bottles of water every day for two weeks.

That’s 56 plastics bottles just from me. That does not include other members of her household.

It made me want to cry. I suffered noticeable panic attacks having to throw things away or whenever a cashier tried to give me a single use plastic bag.

I was so relieved to get back to the UK. I could not live like that.

But the whole time I was in the US, I kept thinking “at least you can recycle all this when you get back.”

But coming back, I started to reflect on how much we do for the environment and how much more we could do. I looked at old blog posts about our plastic usage which you can read {HERE} and realised that our plastic usage has increased since we moved to Wales.

Hitchin was a market town and had a huge fabulous food market twice a week. We got 90% of our fruit and veg naked there with no plastic packaging. The food was also really cheap—like a heaping bowl of 10 apples for £1 or 1 kilo of mushrooms in a paper bag for £2. These days, we have nothing like this near us. There is a tiny overpriced veg stall on the Wednesday outdoor market, but all their food is pre-bagged in plastic. I spoke to the man last week saying, “If I wanted to buy these apples, would you pick me out a kilo and put them in my cloth bag?” And he replied, “Here they are, love. Already bagged and ready” as he tried to hand me a plastic bag with apples.
 Image result for bag apples
These days, as we live on considerably less income than we did when we lived in England, money must be a consideration. The cheapest produce comes from Lidl and is almost always pre-bagged. We have looked at naked produce at Tesco, but it costs more. Considerably more. And prices have been creeping up since we began our ill-advised journey to BREXIT and so our £30 a week for food doesn’t go as far as it should. That means plastic bagged produce for us, sadly. Which means I must start looking for other ways to cut back on rubbish to compensate for this.

I am also more and more convinced that we need to recycle LESS. I know, I am horrified that Alexandria doesn’t recycle, but we can’t just keep buying all these single use plastics and pop them in to our blue bags feeling all virtuous and never wondering what happens to them. Or (God forbid)find out that they are not even actually being recycled at all. I really think we all need to eliminate (as much as possible) our use of single use plastics and THEN recycle what is left.

So, I have been looking at other ways to reduce our waste in other areas. Ways to always have reusables on hand and completely sever ties with single use plastics.

For the next few weeks expect some blog posts about ways that we are doing this.

I hope you’ll join me.

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