No-Plastics October – Final Musings

Here are a few final photos.

My no-plastics month is coming to an end. I have bought almost no plastic this month and have reduced my waste by over 50%. I have tried several alternative products with no plastic content or packaging and will be continuing to use all these foods, alternative toiletries and cleaning products except my tooth powder. I will finish it up as it does a good job of cleaning but I really don’t like the taste. Baking soda and vinegar have become my new best friends. I was well impressed with the shine that apple cider vinegar in water instead of a traditional conditioner gives to my hair. I also love how this focus has decreased my meat consumption and plan to continue that. I probably will still buy the occasional banana and avocado, but I did like my focus on local seasonal produce, and hope I can maintain this, though I will have to check out farmers’ markets during the winter months. And loved that it has made me more experimental again in my cooking, using the veggies I found that week at the market.

I have become hyper aware of plastic this month in my daily life. There are, of course, many plastic products I am not willing to go without like my computer, DVD player, pens, containers of oil and anti-freeze etc, and I am sure I will be buying some wrapped cheese and potato chips again. But, I truly hope many of my changes can be permanent. I want to stick to eschewing all that TJ packaging, for example, even if it is the quickest, easiest and cheapest place for me to buy produce. I have become more aware of plastic in clothing, too, and want to focus on natural materials.

My research has also led me to some encouragements, not just to doom and gloom articles with all the horrible stats of ever-growing plastic pollution of our planet. A couple of my FB friends pointed out recent research suggests there may be some plastics that do degrade over time in the oceans, and that eventually thermal depolymerization may be cost effective enough to break down plastic and turn it into the fuel that the next generation needs. 

 it’s not realistic to ask people to give up all plastics. But, we do have better, reusable alternatives to most of the stuff that gets picked up on beach clean-ups all over the world, and we used to use many of them. If everyone could be more mindful about curbing wasteful, single-use plastic, we could help create powerful, lasting change for the better.

Laws and social movements are the most effective means of changing consumer behavior on a large scale, so get involved with some of these issues. We do need to vote locally and federally for women and men, who care about this issue. And we need to put pressure on offenders and praise those who are reducing plastic. If a company or manufacturer uses excessive plastic packaging, let it know. Write a letter or send a tweet. If you get no response, post it on social media. Conversely, praise businesses that are reducing their use of plastic by tagging the business and posting photos on social media. In an ideal world, policymakers and manufacturers would have a greater handle on all this. But because this is slow to change, those who help create a demand for alternatives by producing and buying more obscure items are making a positive contribution. I have renewed my vows to living, and I phrase this carefully, “as plastic-free a life as is feasible within my budget and time constraints.” Thanks for reading along with me this month, and I’ll keep you posted.

For further reading, do check out this terrific list of 100 steps to a Plastic-Free Life.

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6 Responses to No-Plastics October – Final Musings

  1. Wendy Wahman says:

    Well done, Joanna. I’ve enjoyed reading and learning from you here. I’m a minimal plastic user, and re-user, and you’ve inspired me to do more.

  2. Joanna says:

    Thank you, Wendy. One of the fun things about this month is realizing how many people are really paying attention to their plastic-usage.

  3. Patricia Nozell says:

    A wonderful recap, Joanna. I’ve so enjoyed reading these posts, finding your book recommendations, & learning more ways to decrease my plastic usage. Although I haven’t managed to fully embrace the no-plastic challenge yet, I have become more plastic conscious & more outspoken about seeking environmentally friendlier products as I’ve followed your progress. Thanks for the inspiration!

    • Joanna says:

      Thank you for you kind words, Patricia. I guess my goal was more than anything to raise my awareness, and that if any who wanted to follow along, so I am more than happy with the month’s outcome.

  4. What a monumental effort you have made and I have enjoyed being part of your journey. If anyone could pull this off with enthusiasm, you could. I have learned some things. Will have to try to apple cider vinegar. You have been truly inspiring!

    • Joanna says:

      Thank you, Pat. I had my doubts about vinegar as a conditioner but was well impressed. A white African friend of mine said they always used it when they were little to give their hair extra shine.

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