We have made the choice to not purchase any new plastics in 2012. This sounds so simple, but its not as black and white as it seems. To clarify our goals even further we have created a set of rules to follow this year. We have tried to make these rules as strict as possible without selling everything we own. So without further ado, here are the rules for our plastic free year in 2012.
1. We will not purchase or accept as gifts any new plastics: This is the crux of the project. We will avoid stickers, beer caps, toothpaste tubes, coffee bags with a plastic liner, and so on. We are excited about new compostable plastic products, however we will try to avoid them when possible. The only exception may be the garbage can, as this will save our garbage from being thrown onto our sidewalk once a week.
2. We will still allow ourselves to touch plastic: We absolutely admire anyone who has done months or years without touching anything plastic. This is not for us! For the sake of our sanity we will still use our computers, our phones, our printers, our toilet seats, etc. Much love to those of you who don’t, you truly are our heroes!
3. We will not allow ourselves to borrow plastics or have others purchase plastic items for us: What would be the fun in that – ‘yeah we don’t buy new plastics but check out this hot dog cutter Bob got for us!’ (seriously check it out, its awesome!)
4. We will collect all plastic things we use and add them to the ‘Sin Bin’: This includes plastics we buy on purpose (like when we really need a beer), or things that are given to us accidentally (like a straw in our margarita, or plastic grass on our sushi). These items will be inventoried monthly, and we will feel shame! We hope to be able to re-purpose any plastic we do collect, and will blog about our efforts.
5. We will allow ourselves limited plastics for health needs: This includes things like birth control, any medication we may need, etc. We will keep and inventory this plastic each month at the end of the year as we think this may lead to some revelations.
6. We will also allow ourselves to use plastic at work: As much as we would like to avoid it, plastic in our work life will be unavoidable, and to keep ourselves happily employed we will allow ourselves to use plastic when work calls for it. Of course we will encourage our places of work to use less plastic (see the bottom of this page for more), but we won’t tell our bosses to stuff it if they ask us to buy something plastic – we think of ourselves as good employees!
7. We will purge as much plastic from our house as possible initially: We will turf our home cleaning supplies in plastic bottles, plastic cutting boards, and much more (photos to come soon). Perhaps turf isn’t the right word, we hope to give away what we can – we are doing this to reduce waste after all. We will however keep some plastics, they will be inventoried, and we will explain why we decided to keep them. These items won’t fall into the ‘single use plastic’ category, and can be reused numerous times. We didn’t feel right getting rid of things that still have practical use to us only to buy something else in its place – surely buying less is a big step towards waste reduction.
8. We will work to gradually replace all plastic items in our home: Part of this year will be about searching out adequate plastic-free alternatives. We will work to replace most of the plastic products we decided to keep at the beginning of the year. For example we will write with pencil when possible until we can get plastic-free refillable pens, we will keep our plastic kettle until we get a steel stovetop version, our plastic rubbermade lunch containers until we get stainless steel ones.
Buying local is very important to us, and we vow to spend 80% of our dollars within Metro Vancouver when seeking out plastic alternatives. With any luck by the end of the project we will have Burnaby businesses carrying plastic free alternatives, until then we may have to purchase online.
9. We will still eat out, but we will not accept any plastics when we do: Although we will purge our kitchen plastics (cutting boards, utensils, etc.), it is unreasonable to expect that restaurants will do the same, and even more so to expect it of our friends and family. We will still allow ourselves to eat out, but we will ask that no plastic be served to us directly (think straws, plastic cups, plastic ramekins, etc.)
10. We will use our experiences to help educate schools/friends/local businesses about plastic free living: We will run monthly plastic free potlucks where we can show off our new plastic free finds, and share recipes for homemade cleaners, makeup, beer, and such. This project is nothing if we don’t spread the good word, this is perhaps the most important part of the project for us!
So those are the rules, yes its a big list but without strict rules there is no challenge – and no challenge no learning. Please join in on the journey, send us your thoughts, your ideas, even your criticisms, we are nowhere near perfect, and we want to hear your thoughts. Visit our contacts page to get our contact info, we want to hear from you!