Tag Archives: Beth Terry

Reblogged- Go Plastic Free: Find your Strength

plastics mindmap-low-res

Last year, scientists did an autopsy on a dead sperm whale that was washed ashore in Granada, Spain.

What the scientists found inside the stomach of this whale shocked them – 18 kilograms of plastic made up of toothpaste containers, pots, rope, bags, and bottles.

It’s a no brainer that this is the freakish byproduct of our throwaway lifestyles.

Think about this for a moment – when you throw something away, where is away?

There is no away.

“Away” is overflowing landfills, rivers and oceans. And ultimately animals’ stomachs.

Here’s the thing – plastic lasts forever and just breaks down into smaller and smaller pieces. The Director of the Oceans Institute at the University of Western Australia, Carlos Duarte states –

“Whales, turtles and seabirds are perhaps the most visible victims of death by plastic, but this extends to most marine animals; particularly those feeding on plankton, from tiny copepods (a few mm in size) to whales. They all ingest plastic particles, often causing death. Moreover, it is not just the physical blockage of the guts by the plastics, but the load of contaminants they carry that also damage the organisms”.

And it’s not like humans are immune to plastics either. Chances are you probably have a few plastic contaminants in your body too.

As a result of these negative impacts, a growing number of people around the world are now taking a stand to eliminate single use disposable plastics from their lives.

They are going beyond the simple mantra of ‘Reducing, Reusing, Recycling’ and now are refusing to consume single use disposable items (e.g. cups, cutlery, straws and bags) as part of the Plastic Free July Challenge.

Do you really need to put your bananas in a plastic bag?
Is that plastic straw that you’ll use for a few minutes really necessary?
And do you seriously need to double bag your meat?
Hang on…do you need a bag at all?

“Oh but I use the bags as bin liners” I hear people say all the time.

But people who are living plastic free have no such excuses. They are exploring alternative ways to line their bins (click here for example), amongst other plastic free ways of living.

A lot of our behaviours are unconscious and automatic, but the whole point of the Plastic Free July is to disrupt our usual habits and become more aware of our consumption patterns.

So what can you expect when you deplastify your life?

When I made the decision to give up plastic, I was surprised by how much healthier, mentally stronger and creative I became.

Have you ever noticed that most processed and unhealthy food comes in plastic packaging with a whole lot of additives and preservatives thrown in?

Biscuits. Chips. Lollies. You name it. They all come wrapped in plastic. Sometimes individually wrapped in plastic and then placed in a plastic bag.

By making the decision to deplastify your life, you automatically cut out these junk foods. You tend to steer clear of fast food places too because what does your food/drink usually come in? Plastic lined containers with little plastic packaged sauces thrown in.

Don’t get me wrong, cutting plastic from your life is no walk in the park. It takes something to refuse plastic in a world obsessed with convenience and cheap products. But the skills you learn and develop by taking on this challenge can help you to be stronger and more effective in any area of your life.

For instance, plastic free living requires learning to cook from scratch with staple ingredients. If you don’t think you’re much of a cook, just remember that cooking is like any other skill, the more you do it the better you’ll get at it.

As part of this years Plastic Free July challenge I organised a ravioli making session with friends. Not only did we produce a delicious meal but we had a wonderful afternoon together full of laughter and fun.

I’ve noticed that Plastic Free Living has also strengthened my self control and organisation skills. You see, they say self discipline is your number 1 success strategy and it can be strengthened through resisting the temptation to give into short term rewards.

Usually when you consume products wrapped in plastic you are opting for the quick and easy option of instant gratification. To resist this temptation, requires planning and thinking ahead “How can I do this differently?” and “What do I need to learn to be able to make this?”

So every time you resist taking the easy option (i.e. single use disposable plastic items) think of it as strengthening your self control muscle.

The mind map above contains some ideas on how to kick the plastic habit once and for all. If you try to take on everything all at once, you’ll be setting yourself up for failure. Just take baby steps. Take on doing one thing and once you’ve got that sorted, take on something new.

Useful Resources

If you’re unsure about how to do something or need some inspiration, check out the resources below –

Plastic Free July website
: Contains useful resources for cutting back on plastics in a range of areas.

Bag it movie: An environmental documentary on plastic. After watching it, you’ll never think about plastic in the same way again.

My Plastic Free Life
: Beth Terry has been living plastic free for several years now and has created many informative posts on plastic free living.

At the end of the day, plastic free living requires taking a stand for the things that sustain us and are most important. Just remember, a healthy body is not possible without a healthy environment. So I invite you to deplastify your life.

Reblogged with Permission from http://www.learningfundamentals.com.au

Advertisements

Bag Making Success

On Sunday we screened ‘Bag It – Is your life too plastic?‘ in the Guildford town hall. The movie outlines the overwhelming amount of plastic that we are consuming every day, particularly ‘single use disposable plastic’. Why would you make something that is used for a few minutes (a drink container) out of something that will take hundreds of years to break down!?

Bag It also highlighted the impact plastic has on the marine environment and human health. See this recent Catalyst episode for how that’s impacting on Australian wildlife and beaches.

We invited people to try going a day or a week without buying any plastic. Why not try it and see what you find? Let us know how you go.

Here’s some tips to reduce your plastic use:

  • Don’t use plastic bags – use reusable carry and fruit bags
  • Get a metal water bottle and avoid plastic drink containers
  • Bring your own coffee cup
  • Go to the farmers market and buy your fruit and veg plastic free

Murray from the City of Swan Waste Management team outlined some of the councils initiatives, including the upcoming Recyclable goods day (Sat 10th November), where residents can drop off e-waste and other items, and pick up free mulch! See Upcoming events for details.

Elizabeth, Debra and Kim also accompanied the movie with sewing demonstrations and hands on training on how to sew your own bag from left-over materials. Check out the photos below.

A hive of activity after the ‘Bag It’ screening

Rod learning to sew

Happy bag makers!

Murray (City of Swan Waste Management), Peter and Elizabeth

Article in the Echo newspaper with Elizabeth promoting the event

Plastic Free July progress

Taking part in Plastic Free July over the last couple of weeks has had a much bigger impact on my life then I’d thought it might. Of course it’s highlighted how ubiquitous plastic is, and reduced my recycling bin volume by about half for the fortnight! But I hadn’t initially thought of the flow on effects….

When you’re trying to avoid plastic, you have to plan a lot more. From the simple things like reusable bags and Onya bags, all the way through to bringing your own   containers for the leftovers at the Indian restaurant (it was a little embarrassing at the time, but it was worth it the next day 🙂

It also makes you more conscious of what you’re going to cook and eat. A little more thought and time has to go into the shopping and preparation, but it’s definitely broadened our repertoire. I’ve learnt to make my own yogurt, not to mention the yummy muesli and crackers from chef Jude Blereau. Plus it made us set up our pantry and essential cook ware (e.g. a pressure cooker for beans to avoid plastic lined tins). Not to mention the unseen health benefits of using whole, fresh, local and ideally organic foods.

Yes, it’s been hard sometimes, and bloody annoying when you get caught out. Like asking for something to be wrapped in paper, only to find the ‘paper’ has plastic lining! But I’ve been amazed at how enjoyable it is when you have a small win. Like getting the butcher to use your own container. Or finding somewhere which has loose veggies not double wrapped in plastic. Best of all is the opportunity for connection. When you go to the local farmers markets you can talk to the people who grow the food. And in the three weekends I’ve gone so far, I’ve twice run into friends. Malls and supermarkets just aren’t conducive to catching up.

Below is a list of resources that have been helpful, please share your tips. And why not take up the Plastic Free July Challenge, it’s not too late to start today!

Shops

Alive Organics, Morley
 A good range of certified organic, bio-dynamic and chemical-free fruits & vegetables, organic and free range chicken, meat & eggs, as well as the most comprehensive range of organic dried fruits, nuts & seeds in Perth. Also stocks organic packaged goods, natural/chemical-free cosmetics, personal care and cleaning products though quite a few of these come in plastic packaging.

The Goodlife Shop, Midland Gate shopping centre
A basic range of whole foods in bulk bins at very reasonable prices.

Midland Farmers Market, behind Town Hall
Local fresh fruit and veg every Sunday, plus more.

Kakulas Brothers, Northbridge
Huge range of whole foods in bulk bins at very affordable prices.

Manna Wholefoods, Fremantle
Organic and conventional fruit and veggies, with an excellent bulk section (both organic and conventional) in dry and wet (oil, tamari, juice concentrates etc, many in non-plastic packaging). Excellent grocery and dairy section, with a small amount of frozen meat.

Environment House, Bayswater
Large range of eco-products (cleaners, baby products, books, seeds, garden, personal and more).

Planet Ark, Fremantle
Sells eco-friendly household cleaning products, soap, shampoo, conditioner and items such as vinegar in bulk containers – you can either have your original container refilled (which they prefer) or bring along your own container to be filled. Staff is particular about the sorts of containers they will fill so please check with them first.

Kalamunda Farmers Markets
Stock Sunnydale milk in glass bottles, as well as the usual fruit/veg, preserves and baked goods.

Online Resources

Ash n Juls

A selection of sustainable and plastic-free solutions such as lunch boxes, drink bottles, kitchen ware, cleaning products, etc.

Tinderbox
The Tinderbox are a WA based company who sell beauty products made primarily from organic, vegan ingredients mostly packaged in glass and shipped in biodegradable material. Their products depend heavily on essential oils and smell divine!

Plant Essentsials
Online store selling natural options for cleaning, personal hygiene, beauty products and much more. Also has a good range of ingredients for making your own skin care products.

The Self-Sufficiency Shoppe
A number of booklets available for purchase on all aspects of sustainable living, such as green cleaning, skin and hair care and personal hygiene, herbs, preserving, etc. From the Raw Materials page ingredients for making your own cleaning and beauty products are available very cheaply.

Books

Natural Beauty Basics by Dorie Byers. An extensive collection of recipes for making products such as skin and hair care, deodorants, soaps and toothpaste.

Plastic-Free: How I kicked the plastic habit and how you can too by Beth Terry. All the tips and tricks from the guru of plastic free-living.