I have always been mindful of my plastic consumption, but when Rodale.com challenged its readers to go plastic-free for a month, I decided to make an extra effort. I am realistic about the fact that it is virtually impossible to live without plastic because of everyday products such as phones, computers, televisions, but what I find most disturbing is all the plastic food packaging. And when we want to cook from fresh ingredients to avoid plastic packaged processed food, imported food produce also comes packaged in plastic in northern climates like ours. Even organic produce and food products are packaged in plastic. So I decided to observe our habits. We live in the rural village of Wakefield, Quebec, about 30 kilometres from the City of Ottawa, Canada's capital. While we want to live plastic-free as much as possible, we have to be mindful of the extra gas we would incur to get all of our food needs without plastic packaging.
After our one-month experience, which revealed frequent disposal of single use plastic, Jay and I decided to create the following rules for our family:
- If a product is available locally in a non-plastic packaging, even if it is not our favorite brand, we will favour it.
- If there is a bulk version of a product available locally, we will bring our own plastic-free food containers and get it in bulk.
- If a product is not available in a non plastic container nor is it available in a bulk format, we will contact the manufacturer and let them know we are not happy with their packaging and urge them to change it to a non-plastic format and/or offer it in bulk format.
I recommend that everyone actually make the extra effort to go plastic-free for a month in order to realize how much disposable plastic we are consuming every single day. There are some exceptional plastic-free heros such as Beth Terry who consume very little plastic every year, but for most of us, the extra effort is so great, espe cially when one lives in a rural community, that it is very difficult to achieve. However, it is possible to help change things by getting the companies that make our favorite products to change their packaging to make them more eco-friendly and plastic-free.
Chantal Plamondon, Co-Owner