We are Kate and Ami. We live in Yorkshire, UK, no pets, no children. We shop at supermarkets when we have to, eat meat, cheese, and olives. We drink alcohol and entertain. We travel…a lot. Giving up is not in our nature! We want to do everything but without creating a huge pile of non-biodegradable, problematic rubbish that future generations will have to clean up.
The problem is of course plastic. Most plastics do not biodegrade or rot. In fact they last for decades, centuries, possibly for ever. And they are used to make everything from computers and clothes to crisp packets and condoms. Annual consumption of plastic has increased from around 5 million tonnes in the 1950s to nearly 100 million tonnes today. In the UK alone we generate nearly 5 million tonnes of plastic rubbish each year most of it packaging, most of it by households. (WRAP).
Plastic is used to make items that we throw away. We are creating everlasting trash in huge quantities. Yes, plastic can be recycled but rubbish in the recycle bin is still waste. It has to be collected and treated and this takes a lot of resources.
This is a huge misuse of plastic resulting in grave environmental problems.
In continuing to create plastic trash, to misuse plastic, we felt that we were contributing to those problems. So in October 2006 we decided to give up abusing plastic.
How? Well, we started with a plastic audit. We saved all our plastic rubbish for a week. By the end of 7 days we were running out of space. You can see our trash pile in the picture above. Then each month we looked at the pile (or rather a photograph of it), and stopped “using” a piece of disposable plastic. In January 2007 we launched our online 12 steps program for a cleaner planet. We called it that because a) We were giving up plastic..and b) We thought it would take 12 months.
Years on and we are still finding new plastic to cut. These are the plastics we boycott:
- Single use throwaway items like bags, packaging and bottles,
- Items for which there is a viable natural alternative like cotton
- Synthetic fibers wherever possible
- Plastic lined tins, paper and metal lids
- Silly stuff that irritates us
- Sneaky plastics in places you might not have thought of.
- You can read more here….
Yes, it is a big list but we have sourced a surprising number of packaging-free, sustainable, biodegradable and reusable alternatives – you can find them listed on our website www.plasticisrubbish.com.
Now we send very little to landfill nor do we recycle much. Instead we compost like demons. It feels good to know we have taken responsibility for our own rubbish and can dispose of most of it ourselves. If the bin men go on strike we don’t have to worry. Is that green or just my 70′s childhood trauma revealing its self?