Freddy has joined a group of colleagues who will try not to use single-use plastic during Lent. This Plastic Challenge started on Wednesday. So, in the coming weeks we will not buy anything that is packaged in plastic. Because plastic is mainly a problem when it ends up on the street, I also intend to pick up a piece of litter every day.
The challenge is a good opportunity for a bit of research. The plastic waste that ends up in the sea comes mainly from China, India and Africa (Schmidt et al., 2017). We can’t do a lot about that in the UK and the Netherlands. Here, waste is neatly collected, and a lot of plastic is even recycled. But what exactly happens to that plastic? Is it recycled into similar products, or is it downcycled, meaning that the new product is less useful and is not recyclable itself? And what is the environmental impact of alternative packaging? It will be interesting to learn more about this in the coming weeks.
I had to overcome some embarrassment, but today I have already found three plastic bottles on the street, only one of which had a cap. Other insights:
- Because we have a vegan diet, we eat a lot of fruit and vegetables. Our supermarket packs all of these in plastic, so we end up buying a lot of plastic as well. This is necessary for leafy vegetables that wilt easily, but if you go to the greengrocer or the market, you can buy most other vegetables without plastic.
- We will have to do more home baking: biscuits, potato crisps, deserts… With water instead of soy milk.
- We found a packaging-free shop in Aberdeen! It’s on top of Foodstory, a café in the town centre.