Tips of How to Eat and Live with Less Plastic
- Make cotton (calico) bags. You’ll need two sizes. Small ones for putting rice, sugar, oats (produce bought from bins) and big ones to put all your shopping into. Or use brown paper bags & cardboard boxes. You can take your own jar to Moshims.
- Store your re-usable bags in the car so they’re handy for whenever you shop and get into the rhythm of carrying an empty bag / french basket into a shop.
- Frequent more shops than just ‘your’ supermarket. Visit bulk produce stores for foods such as sugar, rice, oats etc. Explore Farmers’ Markets for bread and un-plastic-wrapped cheese. Sarah lives in Tauranga and shops at:
Moshims– 504 Cameron Rd Ph: 5714450
Bin Inn – 769 Cameron Rd Ph: 5718875
Simplifoods – 237 Maunganui Rd Ph 5752050
KatiKati Plant and Produce Market Waterford Rd: Friday 4pm-6pm.
Tauranga Farmers’ Market: Saturday 8am – 12pm.
Mt Maunganui Mainstreet Market: Sunday 9am -1pm
Healthfood shops – for your bamboo toothbrush.
- Stock up on glass jars to store your produce. Sarah re-uses Ocean Spray’s Cranberry juice jar among assorted and Agee jars.
- Look on the bottom of the plastic item e.g. milk bottle, oil bottle. If it displays number 1 or 2, it can be recycled in Tauranga. Check with your local council as different regions recycle different plastics. http://www.boprc.govt.nz/sustainable-communities/get-sustainable/waste-and-recycling-directory.aspx. See a re-blogged article (coming up) to lobby Tauranga City Council to increase plastic recycling to match other main centres in New Zealand.
- Visit ‘Rubbish Free’ http://www.rubbishfree.co.nz/ for easy tips, recipes & encouragement.
- Be wise about companies adjusting a product to make it ‘appear’ more enviro-friendly. Sarah noticed a scrubbing brush was merely newly coloured brown and less glossy to make it look more ‘natural’ but it was still made of the same plastic content. Read the fine-print to find the list of materials used.
- Be informed about using alternative-plastics, such as cornstarch-plastics instead of crude oil-plastics. Cornstarch products need to be delivered to a commercial composter which has the capacity to compost at high temperatures to break this product down. The cornstarch alternative products (presently) are creating greater problems as they are being thrown into landfills, as opposed to being recycled, therefore not having enough oxygen to decompose and instead producing methane gas.
- Learn to make your own pasta, bread, muesli bars, ice-cream… Rubbish free has simple yoghurt and sour cream recipes.
- Order one of these metal lunch-boxes from Rubbish Freefor those adults and kids in your family that work / learn away from home.
- Get a stainless steel drink bottle and take it with you when you leave home e.g. go on a car/bike trip, to avoid buying bottled water. I bought ECO tankas for Clara and I from Storage box for about $20 each.
- Consider the environment before convenience e.g. go for the whole pumpkin as opposed to the pieces wrapped in glad wrap, or the loose mushrooms as opposed to those on a tetrafoam plate.
- Hunt for the alternative to plastic. Choose products packaged in cardboard or glass e.g. baking powder, dishwashing powder, dried spaghetti, tomato paste, curry paste. Vitawheat crackers come in a cardboard box.
- Acquire/buy second hand plastic toys and baby-stuff e.g. lego, highchairs. Look on trade-me, at second-hand kids’ stores or freecycle.
- Accept there may be the odd plastic choice in your life because you’ve considered it to be the best choice rather than a convenient or ignorant choice. E.g I’ve forgiven our children’s plastic crockery but choose glass mixing bowls as opposed to plastic. Rubbish Free ‘gurus’ choose cheese as their plastic-free anomaly.
- Be daring and ask your butcher/fishmonger if you can bring your own (re-usable) container as opposed to using 5 plastic bags per week for one’s meat.
- Boycott products that use an excessive amount of plastic for no other reason than it supposedly ‘inflates’ or makes their product ‘stand out’ on the shelf. Instead write to them (or on their facebook page) expressing your concern at their companies lack of responsibility e.g. this packet of hairclips
- Learn more about composting – your compost needs your toilet rolls, newspaper. If you live in Tauranga you can attend a worm composting workshop. The next one is in September but they are registering participants now. Each household pays $30 to attend and receives a worm bin, compost and worms (value of $225) after attending a Saturday afternoon workshop. In the four months following the workshop community volunteers will visit your household to check on your worm bin a couple of times and give advice on any issues. Contact Kimberley Cleland at Tauranga City Council Ph 07 577 7066
- Use cloth/re-usable nappies. Friends recommend natural naps. They have an impressive range of colours and prints and sell at the Kids Market in Tauranga. We’ve successfully and happily used Pop-in nappies available through snazzipants, in Auckland.
- What tip would you add for number 20?
Story Part 3, investigates what our towns/cities are recycling. Tauranga only recycles plastics 1 & 2 (bottles). Learn more about why? Sarah is no longer on a plastic famine, but she’s sustaining her pledge to reduce plastic. Miss Williams’ rubbish and recycling for a month…