Science, Tech & Environment

Going plastic-free

(I'm interested to find out how you've coped with plastic. But why did you want to try this?) I started this after realizing that it's difficult to get rid of plastic. In Britain, you can recycle most plastic bottles, but pretty much everything else is hard to recycle and gets landfilled and would probably stay there for hundreds of years. (What have the biggest challenges been?) Food has been one of the biggest because more than 50% of our food today is packaged in plastic. That's drastically cut my options of what I can choose and where I can shop. The other challenge has been for my 18-month old son and his diapers, which has been a difficult challenge and I haven't cut down 100%. (Were you constantly comparing the environmental impact of plastic-based diapers versus clothe-based ones, because you do use more water when repeatedly washing clothe-based diapers?) that is an issue, everything we use has got its own environmental impact. Washable diapers have to be washed and dried, so there's no right answer. It's about personal choices and I was trying to cut down on plastic waste this month. This has also changed the way I think about disposability itself. Previously I would get four-five cups of coffee or tea a day, and now I rely on one mug for those cups instead of disposable cups for each drink. (Toothbrushes are mostly plastic, as well as toothpaste in plastic containers. How did you deal with that?) That was a challenge, but I did get a wooden toothbrush. I did try making my own toothpaste but I have to say it was disgusting. (It sounds like this experiment was about your becoming aware of waste. But were you able to track the percent of plastic you were able to reduce in your own life?) Yes, because I kept a record for a previous month about plastic, which amounted to 603 plastic items that I disposed of. This month I'm on 91 items of plastic, of which the majority are disposable diapers. So it's cut that by a significant degree.

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