I've been thinking about how much waste we produce in our modern society, and frankly it appalls me. Between the two of us (plus 6 cats), we have about 4 bags of garbage per week (two are mostly cat litter), even though I try to recycle as much as I can. We fill our recycling bin to overflow (and the city won't give me another bin!), but I feel I should also reduce what we are using, especially plastic since a lot of it is not recyclable here. We are very limited in what we can put in the recycling bin plastic-wise. I don't feel as bad about paper, cans and glass because they are more easily recycled. Plus paper is made out of renewable resources (and should be made out of hemp and bamboo instead of trees, but I'll save that for another diatribe).
So I have decided that for the month of April I am going to see how little plastic I can purchase. This will mean changing a lot of things that I buy. For example, I usually buy gel dishwasher detergent and cat little in a big plastic container. Even though both of those are recyclable, I have other options. Next month (actually starting today) I am going to buy powdered detergent and the little in a box (even though my cats and I prefer a different brand).
There are some things that will be difficult, if not impossible, such as regular dishwashing liquid. I've not seen any other kind of packaging for that, but at least it is recyclable. Milk will be at least twice as expensive if I buy it in cartons or returnable bottles. Some things, like buttermilk, yogurt and sour cream have no other types of packaging. I can make my own yogurt, but boy is that going to be expensive if I'm buying milk in returnable bottles. I have buttermilk powder to use, but I prefer fresh buttermilk.
There will be a few items where avoiding plastic could cost a lot of time, such as bread and tortillas. They come in a plastic bag only, but I could make my own very cheaply. However, it will take a significant amount of time. My spirit is certainly willing, but we'll see if my flesh is weak when it comes to making all my own tortillas and bread.
I can suck it up and spend more on groceries to achieve my goal, but those on a tight budget will find it quite difficult. I just want to see how much I can reduce my packaging, especially plastic, and how much more it will cost. I'll report in periodically to let you know how it's progressing. I've already got my reusable grocery bags in the car so no more plastic bags!
Of course I need to commit to this for more than just one month, and I fully intend to continue to reduce my use, but for April I'm trying to take it to the extreme. That means even trying not to use the plastic I already have, like cling wrap and Ziploc bags. That is going to be really difficult.