The Simple Bare Necessities

But how will you manage to deal with….? This is what most people ask after they get over the first surprise at the idea of giving up plastic. It’s really encouraging that no one has actually asked what the point of giving up plastic is suggesting most people are aware that plastic is a problem for all of us.

Back to the questions I’ve been asked and how I’m dealing with each one.

1. How will you manage without plastic bin bags?

A friend asked me this before I’d actually got started and it really stumped me. I hadn’t a clue what I’d do.  A bit of research online (aka google ) brought me to the idea of lining my bin in newspaper. I cheated a bit because I found a large paper bag which simplified matters.

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I don’t usually generate a huge amount of rubbish anyway – 1 underbench bin full every 10 days to 2 weeks, but it  seems that my initial thoughts that I’d reduce overall waste might be right. After 5 days, my rubbish consists mainly of a few dirty tissues, which is at least half my normal rubbish.

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If the paper solution fails, I have discovered Commonsense Organics stock Biobags (made from plant starches, vegetable oils & compostable polymers) . These appear to be made in Norway so not sure this is a very environmental choice. Let’s hope I can manage my paper lined bin for the next eleven and a half months.

2. What will you do about washing up liquid or laundry detergent?

This is actually a really easy one. I had expected to have to rely on bicarbonate of soda, vinegar and lemons but it turns out both Commonsense organics and Bin Inn have dispensers for all of these.  And they both stock Eco Store Products which I mostly use anyway. Even the supermarkets stock laundry powder so that’s a simple switch from liquid to powder.

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I have started an all purpose cleaner citrus vinegar jar and used it to clean the bin. It smells really good and cleaned the bin well.

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3. Ugh. You can’t get toilet roll not wrapped in plastic…

Thankfully, yes you can get toilet roll that isn’t wrapped in plastic as this might have ended my experiment before it began! Washable material toilet wipes made me cringe at the thought. I carefully examined all the offerings in the supermarket and realised it wouldn’t be simple. Quite a few products are made with recycled paper but they are all well wrapped in plastic. I was quite happy to discover Earthcare is made in NZ and wrapping is bio degradable and safe for composting…and then I read an article about how after 6 months in compost heap, it was essentially the same as it went in. Thankfully that article also referenced Greencane and confirmed that its packaging did break down on the compost heap.

4. How will you do your shopping without plastic bag?

I can see Irish people rolling their eyes at this one. Since the Irish Government introduced the Plastic Bag Levy in 2002, the use of plastic bags has fallen by over 95%. Everyone automatically bring a bag with them for shopping and I’m no different. I have aquired a nice selection of reusable bags including a very light tote one that folds up small for easy carrying around in my handbag.  I’ve picked up a lot at presentations, some shops use them instead of plastic bags and some have been very useful presents. I even have a reuseable wine bag!

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On the odd occasion I have forgotten my shopping bags when doing the weekly shop, I just repack the trolley and put everything into the car. I can run in and get the bags when I get home.

5. How do you get plastic free meat? I hope from the butcher. I still have enough meat in the freezer to last another few weeks and then I’ll report back. At least Sealord fillets are packed in cardboard so I can have fish!

 

That’s all the things I’ve been asked so far but happy to answer other questions.

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