Well friends, we’ve been plastic-free for over a month now. It’s been difficult in some ways, but remarkably easy in others. Easier than I would have expected, which tells me that many of the practices my husband and I have employed over the last few weeks should be continued for the rest of our lives.
The biggest change, as I mentioned last time, has been our grocery shopping. At first it was difficult to imagine what foods we would buy, but we’ve found good places to get the things we need without the plastic. It means visiting more, smaller shops rather than a single trip to Superstore, but there is pride and joy in supporting small, local businesses rather than a huge conglomerate.
Some people look at us like we’re crazy when we beg them to wrap the cheese in butcher paper instead of plastic, or scold us for using our own bags in the bulk section (we feign ignorance and carry on). Some people are excited to let us put bread in our own bags, and are interested in our reasons.
I have also learned to bake my own bread (thanks to the Gluten-Free Goddess)! I have celiac disease (and a dairy allergy), so baking is a bit more of a chore, and much more finicky than usual. And I’ve never been a strong baker. I’ve also made my own almond milk, which is much tastier than I had imagined, and certainly more cost-effective than buying it in tetra-pacs.
The biggest stumbling block has been eating out. I had one great moment of asking my server for a pizza box to take my leftover stir fry home in, which she complied to with remarkable good will. But we’ve also experienced issues like dropping a perfectly nice metal fork, only for it to be replaced by a plastic disposable one at one of our favourite burrito places, or bringing our own cutlery (and mentioning it) only to be ignored and given more plastic spoons. Sometimes things come in disposable plastic that we would not have thought of asking about. Generally, we have to be brave and seem silly asking about it.
We have not been perfect, but perhaps we never will be. The purpose of this experiment is not to be perfect, but to try. We’ve talked about extending our plastic-fast (perhaps a plastic-free summer?), and I know that our lifestyles have already changed in many ways for good. This experiment has opened our eyes to the ludicrous amount of unnecessary plastic used in our foodstuffs, and provided us with alternative shopping places and friendlier faces than we had experienced before.
Superstore has fallen off our list.