Here is our plastic waste for the month of April (I know, I’m posting this kind of late…):
Looking at this pile, I have two feelings. On one hand it’s cool to see how much less it is compared to where we started. But on the other hand it still feels like too much! Something which has helped me on this journey is the advice from a friend that the direction you are moving matters more than where you currently are. It is easier to look at this pile knowing there are items which I have plans for avoiding in the future. Below are some of the ways we plan to continue reducing our plastic trash creation:
- Reduce shipping (except from stores committed to zero waste shipping, such as lifewithoutplastic.com). My downfall this month was 2 used books and, ironically enough, reusable bamboo straws from Amazon for a giveaway at an event table we hosted. If enough fuss is made about it, I’m confident that Amazon will eventually change to plastic-free shipping for most items. In fact, you can email Amazon and ask if your account can be marked to request “no plastic,” but Amazon does not always honor this, and 3rd party sellers are not required to honor it. The email is firstname.lastname@example.org, be sure to let them know what email address you use to login. For used books, Chattanooga has an awesome used book store in McKays, and I need to be less lazy and take the time to go to there instead of ordering online. Amazon Marketplace is a great way to find used items, especially used books, so I’m really looking forward to the day they use only 100% post-consumer-recycled paper for all their packaging.
- There have been quite a few frozen berry bags over this winter. We have a goal to pick enough blueberries and strawberries to freeze for the whole year. I might even get fancy and can some blueberries since they maintain their nutritional content even when canned. This is quite a big goal, considering we eat these nearly every day. Berries have a whole host of health benefits, and if buying them in packaging means less need for high blood pressure or diabetes medications later, than it might be worth the plastic. However, picking a bunch ourselves will not only save $$ but also save us from the plastic use. I’ve been saving all the blueberry bags we’ve bought to refill with our own berries. We also planted 4 blueberry bushes in our front yard this year! Strawberries are in season right now (check out Sim’s farm for a nearby place to pick) and blueberries and blackberries should be ripe in late June/early July (check out Sim’s farm again, Crabtree Farms, and/or The Blueberry Farm). Even if we don’t end up with enough (or our freezer runs out of space…) it will be good to know we will have significantly cut back on this source of waste.
- I am continuing to remove us from junk mail lists! Once a company has your info, the best way to stop mail is to call them directly and ask to “update your marketing preferences” to be removed from their lists. I have a pile of junk mail on a shelf and every week or so I grab a few and make the 2 minute call to be removed. I first started attacking our junk mail around September of last year, and the amount has decreased significantly! It is another area where many small steps end up creating a big impact over time.
Speaking of small steps, are there any small steps you are excited about taking to reduce your waste? Please let me know in the comments below!