24 January 2019

On the quest to zero

It has been a bit of a quest for us as a family for a few years to approach zero – zero carbon footprint. Each year, we target one aspect of our life, and see how we can change it to reduce our negative impact on the world around us.
This year, we have joined the war on plastic waste and our aim is to reduce the number of single-use plastics in our life.

I think it is important to make the distinction. There are good uses for plastics, such as longer-term storage (Tupperware, etc), plastic toys (Lego, figurines) and so on. It would be impossible to live in 2019 and not have plastic in your life at all - unless you are lucky enough to live on an island paradise where you can construct everything yourself from the materials around you and grow all your own foods.
Unfortunately, we live an urban life and need to have jobs to sustain those lives, so some sacrifices have to be made. And while we sort our waste and put things into the recycling bin, the big issue with plastic is the overwhelming amount of single-use plastics that do not get recycled (even if you sort your waste) and then end up in all the wrong places.
We realised the bulk of our single-use plastics come from food packaging, and so this is the first thing we are targeting this year.
We found a lovely service that delivers milk and fresh fruit juice in glass bottles right to your front door. They also happen to deliver to one of our neighbours, so it is a single stop for the delivery vehicle, we get farm-fresh milk in glass bottles, and they also have lovely fresh produce that they deliver in card board boxes. This has already made a huge dent in our weekly plastic disposal.
We’ve also realised that a part of this is reducing the number of chemicals we use around the house, especially ones that enter the water system, so we are phasing out store-bought cleaning products for both the home and the body, and replacing them with more natural product – home made as much as possible, but we will also be supporting brands like Lush for the products we cannot make ourselves.
This will be a big focus this year, so I will try and keep track of our progress here. I kind of wish I took a ‘before’ picture of our week’s trash pile of plastic, or at least some way to know what our start state was, but we will keep track of it nonetheless and find ways to measure our progress as we go long.

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