I recently read a blog post that struck home for me about how to eliminate plastic. It was a reminder about what I saw when I was in Africa a few years back. You’d expect to see beautiful landscapes and amazing wildlife, right? Yes! I was completely blown away by the landscape and the animals that I was privileged to see first hand. But, what was even more moving and mind-blowing was seeing the heaps of garbage that was strewn everywhere. When I say garbage I’m mostly referring to plastic! Seeing first hand how plastic doesn’t disintegrate and lives on forever really disturbed me.
Yet life goes on and memories fade. As time went by my usual habits crept back. I continued to use plastic straws, plastic cutlery, plastic bags, plastic produce bags, plastic food wrap and so on and so on. When I read Sarah Wilson’s post, a week ago, 8 bits of plastic you can stop using right now, and, watched the video narrated by Jeff Bridges, I realized that for my kids sake and the future of everyone’s children I need to make some changes right now.
It’s not a new concept. I’m sure you just like me are making an attempt to use less plastic. For instance not buying plastic disposable water bottles and carrying around your own water bottle. Bringing your own reusable bags to the grocery store. All these things are good, but, there is so much more we can do! I feel guilty every time I use a plastic ziplock bag! I think I can do so much better! As fas as I’m concerned my efforts have been half-assed. So, after I read the post and watched the video I couldn’t help but rummage through my pictures of Africa and remind myself of what I’d seen while there. How can we do this to our world?
When in Congo, walking along the road we passed many deep holes dug for construction purposes and when I looked down the holes I could see layer upon layer of plastic bits protruding from the dirt. Right down throughout the depth of these hole that were six feet or deeper. There’s no recycling programs in the areas I visited. Garbage is piled into the streets at night and burned. The only thing that I saw being recycled was the glass Coca Cola bottles. Coca Cola was everywhere and everyone was very careful in making sure the bottles went back to the store. I’m not sure why they were so diligent with this because I didn’t see them getting a refund for bringing the bottle back unless a tab was kept that I didn’t notice. It was interesting though.
You can see from the pictures that garbage is everywhere. Most of the garbage is plastic We had to cross this stream daily to get to the medical clinic.
The ground was thoroughly littered with embedded plastic no matter where we walked.
I just found it so sad to see such beauty being destroyed and reading this post and watching this video (which I’ll link also) made me realize that I wasn’t doing my part. I’ve got three kids which makes me want to be part of the solution for their sake. The Plastic Pollution Coalition is a great resource if you would like to eliminate plastic from your life too.
I’ve been on a “no buy month” for a few months until the other day. I’ve been researching products and ways to use less plastic. I discovered these wraps that can take the place of plastic bags and plastic wrap. So, I ordered some of the reusable beeswax wraps from Abeego. It was a nice surprise that they are made here in British Columbia! I’ll let you know how they work out for us when we get them.
It’s funny how we are coming full circle to how our grandparents lived. My grandmother baked her own bread, repurposed every piece of cloth, shopped daily for fresh produce and always had her own bag to carry everything in, food was stored in glass containers, and purchases were made after a great deal of thought on the subject. Basically they were minimalists! Now we are striving for that retro vibe.
Do you think we can eliminate plastic? What do you do to use less plastic in your life?
Have a wonderful week!