Staying Eco in times of Disposable Necessity
I know a lot of eco-minded folks are having conniptions at the moment over the number of disposables being used as everyone is forced in to take away only in the face of the pandemic or Covid-19.
I want to briefly talk about how I am managing this time of no longer being able to use most of my reusable tool kit.
I have avoided pretty well all single-use items- regardless of them being compostable or not, as I feel the resources placed into creating these is as much of a concern as the plastic content in non-compostable packaging. I usually work off a hierarchy of priority when making a decision about products in packaging.
At the moment- where I can I am still opting for package-free products and much of this is coming from the local farmers market and buying in bulk. With access to grocery items much impacted we are needing to make do with what we have or can get. How have we managed this? We are making from scratch at home. We have bulk bags of bread flour so are making our own bread, we are making our own snacks- biscuits, muffins, scones etc.
We are also making our own cleaning products again- most are made with bicarb and vinegar, plus Castile soap, all of which we have on hand.
I have a pantry full of dried legumes- so I can make my own hummus and cook up lentils and kidney beans to add to dishes- we are looking at overall eating a much higher amount of pulses and legumes and keeping the meat for the kids (we are not a vegetarian or vegan household).
Even with us making much more of a make-at-home menu, I am still very much wanting to continue to support the local cafes and restaurants and we have been ordering food and coffee from our favourite local places- who we know use cardboard, paper and BioPacks for their take away food and drink service.
If you are concerned about the packaging from your local cafe or take away place- ask them if they have an eco option. This might mean that you get your food packaged or wrapped a little differently to how they would normally do it- but they are super keen for your custom at the moment so are willing to help where they can.
I would encourage you to connect with your local networks to see if there are co-operatives being set up to order and get goods in bulk from suppliers or buy nothing channels to trade and barter for food and grocery items are there is a lot of trading going on in this time of scarcity and surplus.
If you do get more packaging that you normally would here are a few things you can do to put a positive spin on it;
- If you have kids at home- they can be used for crafting and upcycling. This can be a great sustainability activity for your kids.
- can you reuse or repurpose the packaging? Could you use the container to package a meal or treat to share with a neighbour in need?
- Can you find a way to craft or make with the package or container- do you need to sort out a draw or cupboard and need containers for separating and sorting items.
- Can you use the container or package to plant some seeds to grow your own veggies or herbs?
- Search on Pinterest for ideas on how to use, reuse or repurpose the container or packaging.
- Finally, if you can't do any of the above- check to see if there is a recycling stream for the packaging. Check the Which Bin app or website, or check TerraCycle to see if they have a unique recycling stream.
My final words I want to leave you with are; don't be hard on yourself. This is a situation like nothing else we have ever had to live through and everyone is doing the best that they can. If you need to buy fully packaged products or extra disposable items- that is ok.
Stay safe, stay sane and take care of yourself and one another.