Plastic defines our culture. We can’t let it define our future. – Henrik Beha Pedersen

/ Quote from HERE. In my search for less and better waste, I have of course encountered the problem with plastic. I want to make it clear that I’m not an expert in this field, I have just acquired some knowledge through various blogs, websites and programmes. I know far from everything that is worth knowing in this area. What we can all safely agree upon however, is that we (like Plastic Change describes it so well) for a long time have been having a ‘plastic consumption party’, and the environment is now having a serious hangover. We leave such deep traces and residues of plastic all over the world that the toxic substances eventually end up in our own bodies for each time we for example eat fish. Plastic is an advantage and a disadvantage at one and the same time. Products made in or containing plastic are highly resistant, but that is also why plastic is so dangerous for our natural environment, where it can last for countless years and contaminate our environment.

Plastics can be found in synthetic clothing (which separates plastic fibers when washed), added in self-care products (eg. various scrubs and toothpaste) and of course there are plastic bags and plastic wrapping. It’s funny how aware I have become of how much plastic we bring in to our home. We have plastic items that can be used over and over like plastic bowls, and of course we also have plastic furniture. We remember our recyclable fabric bags when we shop for groceries and try to buy organic food. But what’s the point when, for example, the organic bananas (as opposed to the conventional ones) are wrapped in a plastic bag? Really? A fruit that has its own protective wrap already – does it really need an extra layer of wrapping? Then ff course there are various remedies like beauty products, cleaning products, etc.

Most of you know I’ve been reading Zero Waste Home, which is the book that has pushed my interest in less and better waste even further. Especially less plastic waste. And god, I have already been frustrated many times! But I think it’s about seeing opportunities instead of limitations. I think you should start with your own individual starting point before you really go into Bea Johnson’s golden 5 R’s: refuse, reduce, reuse, recycle, rot. Otherwise, the experiment ends with becoming a stress-factor and you will quickly get fall back into your old habits. Say “fuck it, it’s too hard and what’s the point anyway.” Bea has many good ideas, but I also think you need to use your own common sense. She for example speaks highly about using vinegar for cleaning the home and as herbicide, but this is actually not legal in Denmark – it’s simply not approved. So it’s all a balance when you’re just trying to do the right thing. And for now I’m keeping my cool, doing what I think makes sense. You can’t really do anything else as a consumer, I think. Everywhere you turn to, there will be people trying to convince you of something else.

Quote HERFRA. I min søgen efter mindre og bedre spild, er jeg naturligvis stødt på problematikken omkring plastik. Det skal siges, at jeg overhovedet ikke er nogen ekspert på området, jeg har blot tilegnet mig viden gennem diverse blogs, hjemmesider og programmer. Jeg ved langt fra alt der er værd at vide på dette område. Det man med sikkerhed kan vide er dog, at vi (som Plastic Change så fint beskriver det) gennem en lang årrække har haft en forbrugsfest af plastik, og de miljømæssige tømmermænd er for alvor over os. Vi efterlader os så dybe spor og rester af plastik overalt i naturen, at de giftige stoffer i sidste ende ender i vores egen kroppe igen for hver gang vi fx spiser fisk. Plastik er på én og samme gang en fordel og en ulempe. Produkter lavet i eller indeholdende plastik er meget modstandsdygtige, men det er også lige netop dette faktum der gør, at plastik er så farligt for vores naturlige omgivelser, hvor det kan ligge i utallige år og forurene vores miljø.

Plastik findes bl.a. i tøj (der udskiller plastfibre når det bliver vasket), tilsat i produkter (fx diverse scrubs og tandpasta) og så er der selvfølgelig plastikposer og plastindpakning. Det er sjovt, som jeg føler mig helt rundtosset af, at blive opmærksom på hvor meget plastik vi egentlig har herhjemme. Vi har ting i plastik som kan bruges igen og igen såsom plastik skåle og bøtter, og så har vi naturligvis møbler i plastik også. Vi husker vores genanvendelige stofposer når vi handler og forsøger at købe økologisk. Men hvad hjælper det, når fx de økologiske bananer (i modsætning til de konventionelle) er pakket ind i en plastikpose? Really? En frugt der har sin egen beskyttelsesdragt – hvad skal den helt ærligt med en ekstra indpakning? Hertil kommer selvfølgelig diverse remedier som skønhedsprodukter, rengøringsmidler osv.

De fleste af jer ved, at jeg har været igang med at læse Zero Waste Home, som for alvor er bogen der har sat skub i min interesse for mindre og bedre spild. Især mindre plastikspild. Og nøj, hvor er jeg allerede blevet frustreret mange gange! Men jeg tror det handler om, at se muligheder i stedet for begrænsninger. Jeg tror man skal starte med det udgangspunkt man har, før man for alvor kaster sig ud i Bea Johnson’s gyldne 5 R’er: refuse, reduce, reuse, recycle, rot. Ellers ender eksperimentet med, at blive en stressfaktor og du vil hurtigt ryge tilbage i dine gamle vaner. Sige “fuck det her, det er sgu for besværligt, og hvad nytter det.” Hun har mange gode idéer hende Bea, men jeg tror også man skal have sin egen sunde fornuft med sig. Hun er f.eks. stor fortaler for, at man bruger eddike til rengøring og som ukrudtsmiddel, men det er faktisk ikke lovligt i Danmark – det er ganske enkelt ikke godkendt af miljøstyrelsen. Så det er med at have tungen lige i munden, når man forsøger, at gøre “det rigtige”. Og i første omgang tager jeg det stille og roligt, og gør hvad jeg synes giver bedst mening. Man kan ikke rigtig andet som forbruger, synes jeg. For uanset hvor du kigger hen, så vil der være mennesker med en anden opfattelse, og med andre (politiske) interesser end dig.

Start with what you have and when it’s time for a replacement: avoid plastic. I really feel this little phrase can be transferred to a lot of different areas of the house: reusable plastic bowls that get worn out can be replaced with metal and glass bowls over time. You can start looking for more environmentally friendly, plastic-free or biodegradable alternatives in regards to beauty-products when you are about to finish up a certain product. You should also not expect my own life to be 100% plastic-free nor 100% without waste. Just more plastic-free and less/better waste. I’m probably more in favor of calling it ‘less waste’ than ‘zero waste’ anyway. It just seems more achievable for (don’t get me wrong here) “ordinary” everyday people, and I think ‘zero waste’ can take the breath and courage away from some people. It may seem very overwhelming.

Most plastic-free products can be found online (especially beauty products and kitchenware), which really just makes the process easier because you can order the products directly to your door, and you don’t have to go to 20 different specialty stores to find replacements (maybe even without luck) for your old products. More eco-friendly alternatives to plastic are for example glass and stainless steel. I don’t know about you, but in the southern part of Denmark, Zero Waste is not a pretty normal phenomenon, so online shopping is my best solution for fewer plastic products. You will also find out how many products you can actually cut away from your current consumption because you become more open minded about using multi-purpose products.At least that’s how I feel. For example no creams and facial scrubs have ever been able to cure my cystic acne, and I’ve tried many products and wasted both time, money and energy in this endless search! So now I just stick to simple principles – a simple face care routine, healthy diet, water and fresh air. The pimples that appear will anyway, almost no matter what face creams I use. Maybe that’s just me – keep in mind that we are all different!

My biggest challenge in avoiding plastic is still when it comes to grocery shopping. I think it’s so hard to avoid plastic packaging in the part of Denmark I live in. If I lived in Copenhagen, I would shop at ‘Løs Market’, which is a concept store selling package free/bulk products. You can either borrow or bring your own fabric bags, mason jars, etc. and then do your grocery shopping as you usually would. It sounds easy – if it really is, I don’t know. I just like the idea. We have talked about going to a local farmers market every saturday in a city near us. Make a day of it, bring the dog and arrange our weekly shopping there instead of on sundays in the supermarket as we do now. So, maybe we can bring just a few less products that are wrapped in plastic into our home.

 

Start med det du har, og når det er tid til en udskiftning: undgå plastik. Dette lille tip føler jeg egentlig, kan overføres til rigtig mange forskellige områder i huset: genanvendelige plastbøtter der bliver slidt kan med tiden erstattes med bøtter og dåser i metal eller glas. Inden du har tømt de cremer osv. du allerede er i besiddelse af for den sidste mængde indhold, kan du begynde at lede efter mere miljøvenlige og plastfrie eller bio-nedbrydelige alternativer. Du skal nok heller ikke regne med, at min egen tilværelse bliver 100% plastik-fri ej heller 100% uden spild. Bare plastik-friere og bedre spild. Jeg er nok i første omgang mere tilhænger af, at kalde det for “less waste” end for “zero waste”. Det virker på én eller anden måde bare mere opnåeligt for (forstå mig ret) “almindelige” dagligdags-mennesker, hvor jeg tror zero waste godt kan tage pusten og modet fra nogle mennesker. Det kan virke meget overvældende.

De fleste plastfri produkter kan findes på nettet (især skønhedsprodukter og køkkenudstyr), hvilket jo egentlig bare gør processen lettere, fordi du kan bestille produkterne direkte hjem til din dør, og du ikke skal rundt i 20 forskellige specialbutikker, for at finde erstatninger for dine gamle produkter. Mere miljøvenlige erstatninger for plastik er fx glas og rustfrit sål. Jeg ved ikke med jer, men i den sydlige del af Danmark er Zero Waste ikke et ret normalt fænomen, så online shopping min bedste udvej til færre plastikprodukter. Du vil også finde ud af, hvor mange produkter du egentlig kan skære væk fra dit nuværende forbrug, fordi du bliver mere åbensindet og bruger flere multiformåls-produkter. Sådan har jeg det ihvertfald. Alverdens cremer og ansigtsscrubs har fx aldrig kunnet kurere min cystiske akne, og jeg har prøvet mange produkter og spildt båd tid, penge og energi! Så nu holder jeg mig bare til simple principper – en simpel ansigtspleje, sund kost, vand og frisk luft. De få bumser der dukker op gør det nærmest alligevel uanset hvilken anti-bumse creme jeg så bruger. Men det er bare mig – husk på vi alle er forskellige!

Min største udfordring i at undgå plastik ligger stadig i madindkøb. For pokker jeg synes det er svært, at undgå plastindpakning i den del af Danmark jeg bor i. Hvis jeg boede i København ville jeg handle hos Løs Marked, som er en konceptbutik der sælger emballage fri produkter. Du kan enten låne eller medbringe dine egne stofposer, glasbøtter mv. og så ellers foretage dine madindkøb som du plejer. Det lyder enkelt – om det egentlig er det, aner jeg ikke. Jeg kan bare godt lide idéen. Jeg synes det er fedt, at der er nogen innovative ildsjæle der tør se problematikken i øjnene. Vi har snakket om, at prøve og tage til frugt og grøntmarked hver lørdag inde i byen. Gøre en tur ud af det, tage hunden med og ordne vores ugentlige indkøb der i stedet for om søndagen, som vi gør nu. Så vi måske kan få bare lidt færre produkter med hjem, som er pakket ind i plastik.

/ It sounds kind of fanatic, and I must admit I feel a little strange when putting my reusable bag with mixed fruit on the counter in the supermarket, instead of using the disposable plastic ones like everyone else. I especially feel strange because half of the products we buy are packed in plastic anyway. So what’s the difference? Unfortunately, it is a bit unusual to shop like this to avoid plastic. It is too difficult and time consuming. And what difference does it make that you, as an individual, do so much to avoid plastic? At the same time however, plastic is a problem most people know about, and retail chains such as Lidl have decided to ban the plastic bags as a result of the increased debate about plastic in our natural environment. And then I am very well aware hat yet another debate arises – about how paperbags are not very sustainable to make either (at least they are natural and compost in nature though). But then lets jut all agree on bringing our own fabric bags to the store, right?

I know there are areas where we all can easily become better consumers (stop using disposable cotton pads and switch to reusable ones instead, for example) but we just don’t really think about it in our day-to-day lives. It may be difficult at first because you actively have to change your old habits, but I believe that it will make your life more simple in the long run. And then of course I’m also doing this because I want to look out for our environment. I hope that the customer next to me in the line at the super market is inspired, when they watch me smile and say “no thanks, let’s save that plastic bag” when the retailer asks me if I want a bag wrapped around my basket of strawberries. I don’t know if it’s naive. But to me, the conscious consumer does in fact exist. And I believe that it is contagious like that.

If you are left with a lot of unanswered questions, I can already say that I don’t have all the answers. Instead, I would recommend you to read Zero Waste Home and then give me something constructive to work with if you are wiser than me. It’s always welcome and much appreciated 🙂

Det lyder garanteret fanatisk, og jeg føler mig også lidt mærkelig når jeg kommer der i Kvickly og lægger min stofpose med blandet frugt op på båndet. Jeg føler mig især åndssvag, fordi halvdelen af de produkter vi køber alligevel er pakket ind i plastik. So what’s the difference? Det er desværre lidt unormalt, at handle ind på en måde hvorpå man forsøger at undgå plastik. Det er for besværligt og tidskrævende. Og hvilken forskel gør det, at man som enkelt individ gør så meget for at undgå plastik? På samme tid er det dog en problematik de fleste mennesker alligevel kender til, og butikskæder som fx Lidl har besluttet sig for, at droppe plastikposerne, som følge af den øgede debat omkring plastik i naturen. Og så ved jeg godt der opstår en ny debat omkring brugen af papirsposer – men så lad os blive enige om, at det allerbedste er, at folk bare husker sine genanvendelige stofnet i stedet for.

Jeg gør det her, fordi jeg véd der er områder hvor vi alle let og med øjeblikkelig effekt kan blive bedre forbrugere (droppe vatrondellerne og bruge genanvendelige stofrondeller i stedet udover dét der med, at huske sit stofnet i stedet for at købe en plastikpose fx), men vi tænker bare ikke rigtigt over det. Det er måske svært og uoverskueligt i starten, fordi man aktivt skal ind og ændre sine gamle vaner. Og så gør jeg det selvfølgelig også, fordi jeg gerne vil passe på vores miljø. Jeg håber da, at vedkommende der står bag mig i køen i supermarkedet lige tænker en ekstra gang over det, når jeg siger pænt nej tak til, at ekspedienten pakker en plastikpose rundt om min bakke med jordbær. At jeg i stedet smiler og siger “skal vi ikke hellere spare den plastikpose?”. Måske er det naivt – men for mig findes den miljøbevidste forbruger altså. Og jeg tror på, at det smitter.

Hvis du sidder tilbage med en masse ubesvarede spørgsmål og kritik, så kan jeg allerede nu sige, at jeg ikke har alle svarene. I stedet vil jeg anbefale dig at læse Zero Waste Home og så ellers give mig noget konstruktivt at arbejde videre med, hvis du er klogere end mig. Det er altid velkomment 🙂

No/less plastic webshops

3 Comments on Avoiding plastics: my thoughts.

  1. Eveli
    12. juli 2017 at 1:26 (1 uge ago)

    Thank you for the really nice and realistic blog post. I have been there! I read Bea’s book and tried to live package free. While it did frustrate me because I was not able to find pakace-free groceries and I was so tired of going to so many different shops in order to get package-free as much as possible, the menatlity sitcked with me. I have no problem using reusable produce bags (I made them myself) or using reusable cottonpads (also made by me). This is new normality for me. And because of the mentality, I keep looking for new package-free solutions, but I am not “fanatic” about it, because I feel that being “active zero waste advocate” really stresses me out. And time and peace of mind is also important. Perfection always kills the joy, but we need the joy to keep going.

    Svar
    • signeh24
      12. juli 2017 at 7:10 (1 uge ago)

      Thank you for this well written comment, seriously!! I love the saying that you write in the end, about how perfection kills joy and that we need joy to keep going. That’s so true – never really thought about it that way! And I agree – the stress factor of the whole zero waste movement seems to be something the highly active zero wasters speak very little about. They make it seems like it’s an easy task for everyone to go zero waste. I do support the movement though, and I love the fact that there are people in this world who dare to go that extra mile to change things up. I hope it will be easier to buy package free or at least more of the ‘better’ packaging in the near future 🙂

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  2. Mathilde
    13. juli 2017 at 9:37 (1 uge ago)

    Du kender formentlig allerede sustain daily, men du med fordel kigge til dem og desuden også neohippie, hvis du har brug for tips til zero waste eller less waste! Måske kan du ikke bruge det til noget, men tippet er hermed givet videre 🙂

    Svar

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