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Going plastic-free can be a surprising journey

The end of “Throw Away Living”

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robert99 robert99 Sweden Posts: 1360
1 9 Jul 2018
https://www.smh.com.au/national/nsw/going-plastic-free-can-be-a-surprising-journey-20180629-p4zoo1.html

A new breed of small business owners and an explosion of online retailers means almost anything can be sourced without plastic packaging. Alongside our major supermarkets are a growing number of bulk stores where you can buy many of the same products, scooped instead into brown paper bags or your own jars, and fruit and vegie markets that leave their produce "naked". Online it’s similarly easy to order solid shampoo and conditioner bars wrapped in paper from Tasmania, for example, or minty bamboo fibre dental floss from Queensland. And, if you happen to be in Brisbane you can drop into a "make-up bar" to source all your beauty products that would otherwise come in plastic tubes.

So, it’s worth recalling that we had to be taught to throw things away. In the 1950s, after the first coffee vending machines were introduced in offices in the US, workers carefully washed up the plastic cups for reuse. Ditto the first plastic bags; they could be seen everywhere hanging on our clothes lines. After the "waste not, want not" austerity of World War II, it took us a while to adjust to the abundance that cheap, convenient plastics helped usher in.

But, by 1955, Time magazine had introduced us to “Throw Away Living”. Cleaning up after ourselves had apparently become an antiquated waste of time. A seemingly endless supply of disposable items and products symbolised the triumph of modernity and efficiency over the drudgery of the past. And, plastic was – and still is - at the forefront of modernity.

The challenge now is to find a middle ground that enables us to take advantage of the many benefits of plastics without ruining the environment and our health. Theoretically, this is something governments and decision-makers should be taking on. Banning single-use plastics is the first obvious step. In the absence of political leadership, however, many people are forging their own path.

It can be a surprising journey. It doesn’t take long to realise that the growing plastic-free movement is about much more than rubbish. Plastics are not just functional materials but the enablers of a frantic lifestyle of fast food grabbed on the run. Conversely, giving up single-use plastic packaging forces you to slow down. Buying plastic-free wholefoods means cooking from scratch, shopping seasonally and engaging with small, local businesses and markets. And foregoing plastic packaging puts many overprocessed foods that expand our waistlines and jeapordise our health off the menu. Reducing plastic waste is a lifestyle change.
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Denis1 Denis1 United Kingdom Posts: 2
2 10 Aug 2018
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