I have a confession to make.
I have struggled with this habit for years. A habit of a throw away society addicted to one use coffee cups and glitzy packaging, a habit that needs to change.
5 years ago I stopped drinking alcohol and to ease the transition I took to the fizzy water with passion. While others were happily imbibing pints of beer I was swirling around lovely fresh mouthfuls of sparkling water. Fizzy water was my treat, my weekend drink, it just happened to come in plastic.
The single use plastic water bottle symbolises much of what is wrong with our consumer society.
A million plastic bottles around the world are bought every minute. Annual consumption is set to top half a trillion bottles by 2021.
How can we change and move away from our dependence on plastic?
Recycling is good and necessary, but this process of reducing the burden we place on this planet needs to be taken back another step. We need to produce and use less, and when it comes to plastic this is a pressing issue.
We are producing and wasting too much.
Here are two mind boggling facts. Over half of all human produced waste is now plastic, and since its inception 8.3 billion tonnes of the stuff has been produced and most has ended up in landfill or in our oceans and it will be with us until the end of time. By 2050 the estimated amount of plastic on our planet will be closer to 50 billion tonnes.
We have all seen the pictures of beautiful turtles enmeshed in plastic. Our oceans are filling with plastic.
A recent article in the Guardian has revealed that everyday we are ingesting micro fibres of plastic, plastic is everywhere and our planet is literally drowning in it.
I have decided to shelf my plastic bottle fizzy water habit, it wont be cold turkey though as I have invested in a soda stream. A first world solution to a first world problem!
On a more serious note; as a business we have looked in the past at our plastic bag usage. If you get a delivery from us you will know we keep plastic to an absolute minimum. We deliver in cardboard boxes made from recycled cardboard and we collect these each week and reuse them. Our humble brown paper bags we take back and reuse. The egg cartons we take back and deliver back to John who supplies your eggs. (incidentally John uses our waste veg to feed the hens that produce the eggs, which he delivers to us in crates that he takes back and reuses every week).
All of these things take time, the bags have to be flattened out by hand and sorted to be reused.
There is absolutely no doubt that the best way to deal with packaging is to reduce the amount and reuse as much as possible.
The one area that I haven’t been happy about is our plastic bag usage. Up until now we have had to use plastic to keep our greens fresh.
About 7 years ago we looked at moving to compostable bags but it didn’t work. However packaging has come along way since then. We need a plastic type material to get our freshly harvested salad and greens to you in good shape. In my mind a plant based bag that will keep the greens fresh and will allow you to put the bag on the compost heap would be the best solution, but failing that a bag that will degrade in the natural environment to CO2 and H2O would be the next best thing.
One of the most beautiful aspects of having our own farm is that even the plastic bags we harvest the kale in get reused, the carrots come straight from our fields in a crate (which is reused). The carrots are then transferred into a paper bag, get put in a recycled box, which gets delivered to your door, and we take back the box and bag and reuse them again and again! This in my mind is a good approach.
We will be trialing new biodegradable plastic replacements in the next 2-3 weeks and we need your help.
We would like 4 customers to help us trial these new bags, 2 on the East coast and 2 on the West coast. If you are interested in helping us with this project please contact Dublin@greenearthorganics.ie.
We will be held accountable and we will give you regular updates on our progress.
Here’s is to a zero waste future, beginning now and on that note I can’t wait for the soda stream to arrive!
Thank you for supporting our farm.
We have a zero waste box that will never have any plastic click on the link below to see the contents next week.