Tuesday, August 23, 2011

This week's challenge: Plastic awareness.

I was going to post about something else tonight but in the last few hours, I’ve gotten excessively antsy about plastic. You may have noticed that my blog lacks the usual abundant and frightening amount of statistics that comes with most environmentally-related information.
The usual tactic: scare and then encourage (change).
My approach is rather: awareness (which you do yourself) and then change. I’m not going to fill this post up with scary statistics about plastic and waste, I’ll limit myself to one fact okay, two facts, and a challenge. So here goes…

Plastic facts:
1. Plastic cannot be recycled, it can only be downcycled. [Want to know more about downcylcing? Click here.] So all the plastic that is produced will eventually end up in landfills.
2. Just like the tobacco and alcohol industry, the plastic industry has lawyers and individuals who lobby the government in order to ensure themselves a profitable future. [This to say that we can’t rely on the government to pass laws. We need to start changing our habits and asking governments to change these laws.]

This mid-week’s challenge:
Observe, or if you’re motivated enough keep a list, of all the plastic in your life. Look around your home, the grocery store (warning: that’s the scariest part), at work, at school, at restaurants and where ever else.

My own on-going exploration with awareness brought me to realize that the products I use in my bathroom need improvement…

I look forward to your comments, realizations and even pictures!


  1. Well, in my opinion there is little you can achieve changing the products... almost all the ecological/fair-trade products like shampoos, creams for e.g. are packed in plastics. One alternative would be glass but I hardly ever experienced that kind of package...

    What you can do instead is to change to your own home-made products. I personally switched from commercial shampoos to home-made ones. There is a variety of recipes on the net on how to make your shampoo. Some are soap based, some are based on eggs mixed with other ingredients from your kitchen. I use backing soda that comes packed in cardboard and vinegar, which is packed in glass. From a health perspective, these home-made cosmetics are also better choices for avoiding the petrochemical ingredients in cosmetics.

    The same is valid for most cosmetics... they can be prepared at home. I plan to slowly switch to the home-made cosmetics... but it takes time...

  2. This is a big problem, you're right. Switching products doesn't always mean reducing plastic, sadly. But I think there's a lot to be said for homemade products too... you just need to experiment with them a little. People used to do this all the time before companies started doing it for them! So if we can't find a product we like on the market, I agree, we should try to make it ourselves; changes are, it existed before the company did :P

    I've actually been meaning to try this alternative to shampoo method! How long have you been doing it?

  3. I totally agree, people managed without commercial products before companies produced them. I am lucky to have lived the times when my grandma was producing the soap herself and when my mom used vinegar for making her hair shiny.

    But at the same time, I must admit that homemade products are not for everyone, they require time, experiments and commitment. I also return to shampoo when travelling for instance. Then again using homemade products my not reduce the use of plastic if the ingredients used are also packed in plastic.

    I used this alternative to shampoo since December last year and it works fine for me. It took me about 2 month to surf the net and make the decision. Now considering toothpaste...

  4. Toothpaste is another hot topic and I know many people have been looking at alternatives. Here's a post with lots of ideas from Myplasticfreelife:

    Also, I came across this blog and some ideas for shampoos and natural herbs. I've already started by reducing the amount of shampoo I use. I have no idea if it's detergent or soap based but since it's cheap and common, I'll assume it's detergent-based.

  5. Oh and one more about realizing how a a tube of toothpaste can last you a long time!