Plastic fasting: an experiment in 40 days

Plastic fasting: an experiment in 40 days. >> Green living.

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I’m still good at one of our beautiful beach walks Koh Lanta in Thailand recall. Samuel crawled through the sand or rode Niklas’ shoulders and I trudged alongside. It was nice, really idyllic and the beach deserted. Sure, it was also off season. But something clouded our impression of the perfect spot on earth, our beautiful Koh Lanta was pretty littered. Everything was really on the beach. From shoes to plastic bottles and bags to toys and other stuff junk. Really, in some cases, we wondered who throws something into the sea. At some Strandabschitten, the less built, already accumulated real garbage mountains of plastic waste. The question was, where does it actually come from, how does it get into the sea and above all: who produces so much plastic waste every day ?! It was sad and showed us that too little consideration for the environment is taken.

A dear reader has therefore made a very special project with her family for this year’s Lent. I read about it on Facebook and was so excited that I asked her to share her experiences on our blog with you. Thank you, dear Tanya, for taking the time to put all your thoughts and experiences into words. But read for yourself:

Why plastic??

The subject of plastic has been occupying us for a while and at the latest since my pregnancy and the birth of our child, just over a year ago, it is basically always present. Like all parents, we only want the best for our child and that means for us that we give him and his children and grandchildren one animatable Leave a world behind. Already, our earth is so burdened by plastic garbage that we simply can not get rid of the stuff again. The oceans are full of them and even in our blood can be detected plastics. There is a highly recommended movie called Plastic Planet There you will find more information about the effects of our plastic consumption on us and our environment.

Why fasting?

First of all, we are not very religious, but nevertheless we fast every year. We do it for moral and philosophical reasons (if you can say that). We want to become aware of what kind of affluent society we actually live in and get back to a point of appreciation for the little things. In most cases, fasting is associated with sweets, alcohol or other luxury goods. This year we wanted to try something different. We wanted to be aware of how much plastic has already penetrated our everyday lives. At first thoughts about plastic fasting, we were convinced that it never went away, but that was exactly the attraction. Did we just think that or is it really impossible to do without plastics? Are there any alternatives that we do not see at first glance or are we unable to get out of the plastic jungle? We wanted to get to the bottom of these questions and started the experiment plastic fasting.

The rules.

In the already mentioned movie Plastic Planet There is a scene in which a family gets rid of all the plastic objects in their house and piled them up in the garden (an impressive pile.) You just have to go through your own flat and imagine what’s going to end up in your head would). Even if the thought actually seemed very attractive, we did not dare. Since we did not assume anyway that a plastic-free life is feasible, we initially formulated the rules more laxly. Everything that was already in the household about plastic could continue to be used.

This also had the considerable advantage that one could gradually think about alternatives and not have to replace everything at once. Plastic could only be bought new if no acceptable alternative can be found or in an emergency. Openness to new things was an important prerequisite in this experiment.

40 days, 40 reports.

At home in the quiet little room, it was not enough for me in this experiment. Since I am a very communicative person, I have decided to write a small report every day. About what has caused us particular difficulties in our experiment and, above all, what has fallen to us very easily. The purpose of these reports was also to inspire others (in this case friends on Facebook) and draw attention to our Lent.

A very positive side effect, which I had not considered at first, was the swarm intelligence. With many problems we got solutions written by our friends in the comments. I did not expect the topic to interest anyone at the beginning, and I am very happy about anyone reading, thinking, and perhaps even reconsidering at some point.

Halftime with interim results: what’s good, what’s not.

We have now reached a little over half of Lent and I have to say that we had the plastic fasting much harder than it actually is. Sure, there are some compromises we had to make and at one point or another we did not manage to do without plastic. Each of my 40 reports is about different areas where we are confronted with plastic. For example, shopping is such a field that knows a lot of plastic traps, so right at the beginning I went to a store without packaging and reported on it.

Plastic fasting Day 2: a shopping in the unpacked shop.

Granted, I had high expectations, which unfortunately were not completely fulfilled. Biggest minus here are clearly the prices. After yesterday I was so positively surprised about the milk in the glass, today came the disillusionment. Our purchase: a roll of unwrapped toilet paper, 12 toothpaste tablets, a shower soap and about 200g bulgur (bottled in the brought glass) hit with about 10 € to book. I understand, of course, how such prices are composed and that they may have their rights, but for our Bugdet this is simply unaffordable in the long term. We also have to go by car or public because the store is not near us. I think that was our last visit. Although the service, the ambience and the idea behind it are really great. Especially now I’m curious about the alternative to toothpaste. I’ll report on that tomorrow.

Unfortunately, the first compromises did not take long to come.

Plastic Fasting Day 3: The First Compromises.

First of all to the toothpaste tablets: Have tested them and I have to say, they are not that bad. It is chewed with the incisors and then brushed normally with the toothbrush. The taste takes some getting used to (rather salty with a mint note). Also strange is that it does not foam at all, but the teeth then feel very smooth and clean. So you can do it.

Compromises: garbage bags. We collect our waste paper in paper bags and then both into the bin. We collect our “green-point garbage” in a bag, which we pour out into the bin. The residual waste ends up in a plastic bag. We have compromised on using “eco-friendly garbage bags” instead. Whatever this could mean.

Of course, as a mummy of a baby, the topic of cloth diapers was not left untreated.

Plastic fasting Day 5: For the Mamis: cloth diapers.

Disposable diapers not only produce tons of garbage, they are super expensive and made of plastic. Admittedly, we did not start that way five days ago, but from birth. Stoffys are a huge topic that can be written on a whole book, so here’s the extremely slimmed-down version (demands is explicitly welcome): There are different systems for cloth diapers: All in ones (work like disposable diapers), all in twos or hybrid diapers, Panties with overpants and pocketwindeln. Each system has its pros and cons, we’ve tested each other and got stuck with punk dwarves. Really plastic-free are only diapers in combination with wool over pants. The pants diapers are wet and replaced, the pants are reused and washed less often. But: if you wash them (only in the wool washing program of the machine, with special detergent), they must then be greased again. That was too complicated for us. All other diapers are waterproofed by a so-called PUL. This is the outer layer of synthetic. Pocketwindeln have an outer layer of PUL and an inner layer of (mostly) cotton. Hissing the layers can be placed through an opening deposits. The insoles are available in different materials (cotton, bamboo viscose, microfiber and hemp) best sucking bamboo and hemp. But they take a long time to dry. Calculations show that even washers and dryers give a better environmental footprint than disposable diapers.

The Stoffys do not last as long dry as disposable diapers. You have to wrap every 3-4 hours. There are also night breezes that last longer, but 12-13 hours did not last for us. That’s why we use disposable diapers at night. Even when we’re on the road, we often need disposable diapers, which is now more and more restricted. Basically nothing speaks against winding with Stoffys on the way.

Washing: Used diapers come in a simple diaper pail, in a laundry net, which is put in the whole in the washing machine. Large shops end up in the toilet, because you put a paper towel (diaper flow) in, that you can easily dispose of. In this diaper pail, we also pack our homemade wet wipes (more soon). Unfortunately you have to use a special detergent (soapnuts go too) and because the diapers soak a lot of water soak or, if possible, wash with water plus program. The spin number must also be reduced. Then the parts that are possible in the dryer, put everything together again and continue.

Conclusion: That sounds a lot more complicated than it actually is. Stoffys are soft, dry, easy to use and also beautiful. I just ordered a new one yesterday and I’m very excited.

Over time, almost philosophical thoughts came up.

Plastic Fasting Day 15: Portioned Life.

Granted, I think it’s cute too, those tiny little boxes, jars and little pots. It probably reminds me of my childhood days when I liked to play with the store. And Edward Norton was also very excited about his life in small portions in “Fightclub”. Way too thoughtless, I’ve dealt with it so far. I bought them because I found them beautiful, used, thrown away and soon bought again. A vicious circle that causes a lot of plastic waste that is so easy to avoid. Paddling instead of blots should be the motto. And that’s sort of the simplest thing you can do to reduce plastic waste. A waiver of all these Pröbchenpackungen. What is there for everyone in small portions? If I want to test something, I can also take the normal sized pack, I do not like it, I just bad luck and bite into the sour apple. Traveling has long been different solutions (more on that later). The same goes for food. I also thought about it recently. I came to the objection that if I buy large packs, the food is bad afterwards and I then buy new again and so that the problem would not be solved. But! The solution is to limit the variance. Why do I have every morning a huge selection of sausage, cheese, bread, eggs, juices, etc. to have? I do not have to have as much choice with every breakfast as with a good brunch in the café. When a big package buys cheese, I eat it until it’s empty and then I buy something else (even in the big box).

In this experiment, I always come back to the point where I think it was also different. My parents and grandparents did not have that much plastic and survived. Then I wonder, how did they manage that? And the answer is often very simple. They would have laughed at such mini packagings. (Must I just picture my grandfather trying to tear open one of those tiny packages with his huge Mason’s hands.) Anyway, I’m fed up with a portioned life. I take mine at a stretch. Many thanks.

Of course, many other topics played a role, because plastics are virtually all-embracing in our lives. Including especially toiletries or cleaning supplies, food to buy, cook, arrange or take away, water bottles and it went for me as a mom and mum and everything to do with toddler or dog.

I can only recommend everyone to approach a plastic free life step by step. Try something again and change only if you have an alternative (which feels good) has found. That’s why I’d like to give you some tips on how we could easily restrict our plastic consumption.

Simple tips for starting a plastic free life:

In the bath: Shampoo by hair soap and shower gel by shower soap (there are of course also combined) replace. Make toothpaste yourself or take solid toothpaste. I can recommend toothpaste tablets which at a stroke was impractical for me. Use deodorant as crystal, but pay attention to the packaging.

Food: Always have a cotton bag for bread and other baked goods. Vegetables you can pack as well. Only buy vegetables unpackaged and do not put them in these small, free plastic bags. You can even take it loose to the cashier and put it loose in the shopping bag.

Generally: rather buy and consume large quantities instead of having many small “variants” of everything. Unpacked shops are a great thing, but unfortunately too expensive for us. Many things are also available without buying plastic in supermarkets (a very specific pasta manufacturer, for example).

The most important thing, however, is not to lose the fun and not be too strict with yourself. You should be aware that every little piece of plastic that I can do without right now makes a difference.

Dear Tanja, thank you for this great experiment and the great suggestions. Who likes to read more finds Tanja on Facebook.
Could you imagine such an experiment? Are you even living in (almost) plastic? What else do you have for everyday tips to protect the environment? I am looking forward to your opinions.

All the best,
your jasmine

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