My friends from university will remember how I used to carry all my grocery shopping in the most awkward way, because I refused to take plastic bags from the shop. Ever. However, being the unorganized person that I am, I never had shopping bags with me. So I ended up having carrots and bananas sticking from my pockets and a bag of toast hanging from my teeth. I also never use plastic bags for loose fruit and veg. I refuse straws, carry a Keepcup (when I remember) and don't buy bottled water.
The easy ways to reduce plastic have been used. As Plasticless March (Muoviton maaliskuu) has started in Finland, it's time to get out of my comfort zone. But it wouldn't be challenge if it was easy, and if it were easy, we'd already be doing it.
Here's what my starting line looks like: three challenges.
First, I am not methodical in my daily life and planning more than a few hours ahead is fairly beyond me. I go to the grocery store every day, mostly when coming back from work or training and ad hoc. No planning of shopping bags etc., although I do try to have them in every bag and pocket I own.
Second, I don't like cooking, baking or the like (for example making tooth paste). Having vegetarian half-ready ingredients and convenience food is awesome. There's no way a lazy bum like me would start making my own seitan. But all these lovelies like Härkis, Nyhtis, tofu, insect patties and seitan sausages are packed in plastic.
Third: "Hey bae, we can't buy toilet paper or deodorant or coffee for the next month"... yeah.
What's in my rubbish
To know how to reduce plastic, I need to know, what's in my rubbish bin. So I tipped it all on the living room floor (bae: "you're washing the floor after that!"). This is about a month's worth of plastic from two people:
P.S. Those boxing gloves ended up in the picture by accident, but I deliberately decided not to edit them out ;)
What do I do with the rubbish?
Plastic is difficult to recycle as there are so many different varieties. Recycling exists, but it's not so common yet. Except with PET-plastic bottles, which in Finland have a deposit of 0,10-0,40 €, hence 96 % of people here recycle them.
But with the rest of the plastic, I wash them and collect them until there's so much rubbish, I need to take it to recycling.
I live in the most densely populated square kilometre in Finland: Kallio. Still, the closest plastic recycling bin is 1,8 km away in Kruununhaka, with no public transport close by. (Yes, this is a first world urban problem, but is probably a hindrance to the overall recycling of plastics at the moment).
I pack all the plastic in a big duffel bag and walk. Today it was a pleasant -14 C.
Hopefully, there will be less need of these trips in future!