Tip toe through the plastic...


Waking up to waste... A couple of weeks or so ago I shared a tiny bit about our making some small changes here at home in wanting to live a more sustainable and simple life. In our quest toward living less-plastic, less-paper, etc. and moving toward zero waste (if that is even possible?! I hope so!) I took this photo lately while gathering up some of our recycling. This is just part of our mixed waste over a two week period (that green plastic bag at the top of the pic holds a little more plastic--couldn't get it all in one, easy picture). Stopping and seeing one's trash is pretty humbling...

A good deal of our weekly waste comes from food shopping--mostly plastic. So much is in a plastic container, bottle, wrapped in plastic or in a light plastic film. Thankfully we are able to recycle all of this.  But recycling will not be the most sustainable solution in the future. Using less has to be part of the waste equation. There is not much food or other stuff found in bulk here in Norway. And not where we live now in a small town. Bulk has yet to really come to Norway. Although bulk is not entirely plastic-free/zero waste shopping either, as stores often receive wares in big plastic containers, or things wrapped in plastic, etc. that need to find ways to be recycled.

Something BIG is happening to my heart... During the summer it just seemed like everywhere I turned, there was plastic. Too much of it in our kitchen. We're just TWO people and a cat in this house, and the amount of plastic and waste astonishes me sometimes! Plastic--it's on the sidewalks, stuck among trees & shrubs along roadways, single-use plastic containers/items just blowing in the wind... 

I've begun educating myself more about waste, and about plastic. What it is, why it's used, the harmful chemicals the leach out of it, that HUGE amounts of it end up in waterways and the oceans and it's ending up in the bellies of birds and sea creatures. What I learned broke my heart... Trying to live eco-friendly already, I thought I was doing enough, and was even making a positive difference. But no... No, not enough, definitely not doing enough, and there's always room for improvement! 


These are being weeded out from our kitchen--plastic food containers. Slowly we are replacing these with glass containers. (Slowly, as it can be expensive to change things up in one go.) Did you know how toxic chemicals from plastic leach into food from being stored and/or heated in plastic containers? Also weeding out microfiber cleaning cloths, and just using old, cut up t-shirts. Lately I've been reading about microplastics and how they escape into waterways. And microfiber cloths are made of microfiber, which is... PLASTIC

Last week I mentioned that I'm currently reading Plastic-Free by Beth Terry... This book is a great guidance on the terrible waste that is plastic, which is everywhere--a very big global society problem. But it also is a great help for what we can do to curb our consumer lifestyle that leads to a lot of waste, and to being more thoughtful about the environment and considering the life and end life of the things we use all the time, changing our habits every day.



Even my favorite drink sometimes contains plastic... a cup of tea. Most tea bags contain the plastic polypropylene, which does not completely biodegrade. Plastic fibers often meshed with papery fibers, is what their construction is like. It is hard to find tea bags or tea that does not involve plastic in some way. Whether its boxes of tea wrapped in thin plastic, individual "freshness" plastic-lined bags, etc.--plastic seems to be involved one way or another for a lot of teas being produced. I have several loose leaf teas--which is often less plastic, the tea itself is completely biodegradable, and loose leaf tea simply tastes better than bagged. (Although, some loose teas are in a paper bag that is, unfortunately, lined with plastic, or in a polypropylene bag in a paper box... oh, my! How to choose?!) But I do have a stash of tea in bags. And so... phasing that as much as I can. :(

For a while now I've been re-evaluating what I do, what I use, and why? What changes could I make for taking care of the Earth better? What do I need? What do I not need? How can I consume less? Lots of questions filling my heart and mind at the moment...

When waking up to waste, over-consumerism, planned obsolescence of products and corporate greed... It's hard to be a consumer these days. And it's a bitter taste to swallow, knowing I'm part of that picture, part of the machinery that keeps all that rolling. It tastes bad, so I'm spitting it out! haha... Slowly making some positive changes to make this a better place. One less piece of plastic (and other trash!) at a time... And I've found a good place to start:


Zero Waste Rules to live by:

Refuse  * Reduce *  Reuse *  Recycle *  Rot

God gave us this beautiful Earth. I want to help take care of it better. 

But don't worry now, I won't be sharing photos of our trash/recycling every week... Unless you want me to?!  ;)


Comments

  1. I’m with you on banning the plastic, but it’s really hard. We can go to afrmer‘s markets and buy fresh food which can be put in fabric bags I made, but often we choose the supermarket that’s close by and has practically all vegetables and fruits packed in plastic. The plastic fibers that we’re not aware of in all kinds of products is even worse!

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    1. You are blesses with farmer's markets where you are, Dutchcomfort! Where we are we don't have much of those, sadly. Which is ironic, as we live in a county that is considered a "bread basket" for the area/country... there are LOTS of farms! We need more farmers markets... but no food in plastic! ;)

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  2. Oh yes Tracy, here also we hate plastic. We cannot avoid it completely but for years we buy water in glass bottles only. I never store food in the fridge in the plastic, again for years I use glass jars, that I wash and reuse. However this does not apply to the freezer as glass would pop with the cold, so using still plastic boxes there. I have never warmed food in the plastic, since I have little S I started to be more aware about all of this and trying to make healthier choices. This summer I bought a lovely french basket for shopping, it looks great and stylish and of course no need for plastic bags, and we use and reuse the green bags. Ut there is so much one can not avoid. The latest dilema was actually redecorating Steve's room. Shall we buy a new carpet or leave the wood only. When you look at what these carpets are made from, you don't want it in your house. Woolen carpets are bit too pricey for us, so we could not go with this option neither. So much to consider and thre is, as you said, always a place for improvement! But at least we are trying ... it's far from being perfect though ... but we are aware of it and we try to make the best choices possible.
    You do great job Tracy! Big hugs, Jitka

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    1. So many GOOD choices you are making, Montik--VERY inspiring! LOVE your French market basket!! I've been using glass jars a long time too. I keep most all I encounter and use again. :) And I've used them in the freezer too! I've never had anything break. The glass food storage boxes we've been trying are these by Luminarc, which we are able to buy locally. https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_i_1_13/144-7974934-2678623?url=search-alias%3Dgarden&field-keywords=luminarc+keep+n+box&sprefix=luminarc+keep%2Caps%2C264&crid=35VXLY2QSK41B Unfortunately, they do have plastic lid, but it's supposedly, "better" plastic, if that can actually be said. But you are right about difficulties when it comes to decorating, and making more eco-friendly, ethical choices. We have to hunt for things that contain less plastic, chemical, toxins, etc... and be prepared to pay for making that choice. Until there are more ethical choices, and more alternatives, that's probably how it will be for a long while yet. :/

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  3. this post and your others on the topic so resonate with me tracy!
    do you remember on the peanut when I did a post on trash and plastic and how it wound up in our oceans in those huge 5 vortexes growing ever and ever larger? not to mention the miles taken up of land fills of it.
    I have to admit I became almost fanatical about it after that. I started following the French lady whose blog was zero waste home.
    I switched like you are to glass containers for food storage... cold and otherwise. and I try to use as little plastic as possible. but it's everywhere! and like Norway... we don't have a lot of options where I live. but I do what I can.
    I have used cloth grocery bags for years. and recently found out that a corporation in texas
    that makes plastic bags had a lawsuit and won over states trying to ban their bags like California did. too much power. and all about money. OVER the welfare of the planet.
    if you're not careful you can become depressed about it. which I did. I have to watch myself or I become affected by the sheer psychological weight of it all. i'm like that. and it's a hard thing to reconcile when the need is so great! we can only just keep helping in our own small ways. if everyone did just even that! think how much better it will be!
    and posts like this one of yours are wonderful reminders!
    love
    tam

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    1. Oh, yes, Tammy, I remember! You were always sooo good about keeping us informed about the environment and so much when you were blogging. (And so this is where I can add how much I miss your blog! ;) Those water vortexes in the oceans-aka "garbage dumps"--are scary, because, sadly, they will continue to grow. It's just so sad what lobbying, money and power do toward harming the human race and the planet. All we can do is pray and take our own personal actions toward the better. If everyone just began loving each other and the planet more, and we all came together helping more... wow, what wondeful world it could be! :)

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  4. I really admire this, Tracy. I'm not sure I could do so well as you. Giving up tea and painting would be out of my scope, though I have to say that the glass containers are something I'm doing more of, along with some other things. If everyone does something, anything (and the more the better) it can't help but make a difference.

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    1. Thanks, Jeanie... although I'm not sure how well I'm doing so far... LOL! But yes, if well work at it, such a difference we could make! :)

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  5. This earth was created for us and we should be more responsible in caring for it. We as human beings are very wasteful. I admire what you are doing. I think baby-steps are better than no steps at all. Of course, I'm at the no steps at all. You are diffiently raising my interest in trying to be better at caring for our earth and cutting back on use of plastic and other wasteful prodocts. I will at some point read the book. I have read some articles on the dangers of plastic and I do know it is important to make changes. Thanks for writing such a great post about it. Big hugs and blessings for taking these positive steps to better our planet. You are the best, deareat friend!

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    1. Baby-steps... that's what we do, and especially with something news, LeAnn. Any step in a better direction is a good step! :) I keep thinking about how God in His glory created this special place for us... and we mistreat it so. Selfishness, neglect, ignorance...that's what we do. Think how much God would be smiling if we all cleaned things up! :) ((HUGS))

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  6. This is a challenge. I was looking at our bags of recycling yesterday - there I am, carefully separating containers and paper. Our whole recycling system here is so complicated that I'm the only one in our household who will tackle it - and then with the list close at hand. I have four large bags of recycling in our basement from the past three weeks, as they only collect once a month. We even buy milk in bags - plastic - not ideal, I know, but cost is also a factor when we are on a tight budget. I hate the fact that most vegetables come in plastic too - who needs shrink-wrapped cucumber? Marie x

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    1. It is hard to make changes, and especially when on a tight budget. Our own shift here has been happening, but it's slow as it costs to makeover the supplies of life and living from plastic-based, etc. to using the more eco-friendly options. Some things can be made one's self which is great. Cutting up a set of good tea towels, and sewing a few seams, can make a lot of thing--cloth bags, more towels to replace paper towel use, etc. All the palastic use on food is so wasteful is incredibly wasteful as it's mostly thin plastic bags and films that cannot really be used again for anything. :( Well, we keep going,,and keep trying our best, don't we?!

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  7. My daughter is much more conscientious about the use of plastic and tries to keep D's toys to a minimum of plastic. I try, but not as diligent. I do recycle and so thankful for a market that takes much of my plastic and bags. Funny that you mention teabags as for a long time we tossed them in the compost and then found teabags throughout the garden. So many just don't decompose. Another reason to make loose leaf tea.

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    1. I worry about kids playing with too much plastic. Kids lives seem to be so much about plastic--from toys, dinnerware, all the plastic gear for babies... :( Yes, the tea bags don't completely degrade. We're going to start composting this autumn for the first time, and excited about that. But we won't be adding tea bag, just tea leaves! So, yes all the more reason to celebrate and enjoy loose leaf tea! ;)

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    2. I agree with you on banning plastics Tracy but what a formidable task we face! It is literally every where! I had no idea that the microfibre clothes had plastic in them! Wow! I love loose leaf tea, or tea made from herbs from the garden. I think our Governments need to be more pro-active and start getting rid of as much plastic as we can. It's an environmental epidemic! xoxo

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  8. Growing your own herb tea is a good start. Anything you can grow at home has to be better than supermarket long stored veg. Such a shame about there being no local farmers' market for you. Just a couple of generations ago homes were relatively plastic free, now it has become insidiously everywhere. It is up to us who do the shopping to try to bring about change. Well done for making a big effort. We use fabric shopping bags routinely and try to buy local food. Everything we buy though seems to have a hidden cost-chemicals in clothes made in sweat shops for example. Any steps we as individuals can take, no matter how small have to add up for the environment and our own health eventually.

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