World Environment Day - Solutions to plastic pollution
By Melissa Fogarty
Every year humans produce 430 million metric tonnes of plastic! (According the World Environment Day website)
Wow, that is a LOT of plastic.
I am pretty sure most members of HOGS already act in many ways to reduce the amount of plastic in our lives. However, it is always good to review our actions from time to time and see whether we can improve. Number four of the Permaculture design principles is to Apply Self-Regulation and Accept Feedback. I know I need to do this, and maybe you need too also.
Here is my plan:
I will be reviewing plastic use in my kitchen, garden and bathroom. These are the areas I have found most plastic sneaks back into my life if I am not always focussed. And to be honest, I am not always. I also do not want to overwhelm myself (another habit I have), so I will focus on changing one item in each area this week.
In my kitchen
I realised the other day, I seem to have lost my produce produce bags..... and as a result my husband has been brining home plastic produce bags from time to time. Although I re-use these apparently 'single-use' produce bags, they still end up in land fill. I wish the supermarkets and other fruit and vegetable sellers would switch to compostable single-use bags for those times when we forget or it is spare of the moment. Anyway, I digress. Back to my own kitchen - I will need to make some more.
In my bathroom
We seem to go through many cotton buds in our house. My children seem to have found many, many uses for these little cotton sticks of joy. But, I know these are not good for the environment. Apparently 1.5 billion of these little sticks are thrown into the waste system every day! So, it seems I need to buy the bamboo version which is compostable at home. Anyone have any recommendations? Let me know in the comments below.
In my garden
This is always a tough one because usually my trailer if full of green waste (the kind I cannot use for mulch), so I find it difficult to use my trailer for bringing in all those nutrient rich manures. As a result I often buy my manures in bags. I do have ducks, chickens and quails - so a variety of manures available at my own home. However, I like to mix up the manures for biodiversity and to improve soil health. I do have buckets. Quite a few painters buckets. I know they are plastic, but not as bad as single use right? Maybe. Maybe not. Hmmm.... I have landed on better. This season I will try out using plastic buckets for manure transport. I also know on the horizon we will receive green waste bins. This means my trailer will be free in the future for manure collection (hooray!).
There you have it! My three goals for this World Environment Day. Not earth shattering, but an improvement.
What are you going to do? Maybe you have already cleared your life of plastics. If this is the case, you could consider moving to do more in the advocacy space.
Here are some further ideas and inspiration by the United Nations.
Seahorse photo - Source: Photographer:Justin Hofman. Image from National Geographic, September 19, 2017https://www.nationalgeographic.com/photography/proof/2017/09/seahorse-ocean-pollution/ From the wesbite: https://www.wholesomehub.net.au/blog/are-your-cotton-buds-good-buddies-eco-friendly-or/ Accessed 5 June 2023