Towards less plastic. One step at a time.

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This week guest blogger Jildou shares her plastic-free experience. It’s a follow up of her previous blog post. Would you also like to share your plastic-free story here? Please send an email to info@plasticfreetuesday.com.

Picture me, Saturday afternoon, waiting in line for the register in a department store so I can pay for a book. In front of me is a student with a few notebooks, a binder and a few pens and highlighters in her shopping basket. It’s not so busy so I can hear the conversation she has with the girl at the register.

*bleep* *bleep* – the girl at the register scans the items and puts them in a bag-. The bag isn’t even half full when she says: “I will put it in two bags, otherwise it will be so heavy”. The other girl responds “sure. Thank you”. My jaw drops (hopefully not too obvious).

First of all, we’re not made out of sugar (I have no idea if this is saying is used in English and in Dutch it is used in a different way, but it sounds fitting!). We women need to toughen up. We’re talking about only a few items and should be able to carry it in one bag! Second of all, the bag is half empty. The girl at the register could have easily fit it in one bag. Moreover, the student was carrying a backpack, so I don’t see the need for plastic bags at all. Anyway, it wasn’t really my place to say anything, but I think department stores should instruct their personnel to be more conservative in their use of plastic bags.

After the student pays, it is my turn. Just before the girl at the register grabs a plastic bag (yes she does not even ask if I want a bag or not) I quickly say I don’t need one. She eyes me suspiciously and I feel a bit uncomfortable, but she hands me the book without a bag. Pff… dodged a bag there!

Using as few plastic bags as possible is really something that I try to fit into my daily life. When I do need a plastic bag I try to recycle one that I have at home. It’s a good thing to do. Why would you even need so many plastic bags?! A second thing I try to fit in my daily life is the use of loose tea. June, in a comment on my previous blog, mentioned that tea bags do contain plastic! I did not know that, and I am quite disturbed by the fact that there is plastic in teabags. For that reason I try to use loose tea. When I was in London, I visited the Twinings store and bought three metal cans with loose tea (no plastic involved) and I also have a metal filter I can use.

But in all honesty those are two of the main steps I have taken since I started my Plastic Free Tuesday participation. I do feel that I am ready to take it up a notch.

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4 Comments

  1. Marlies

    Yeajj Jildou! Take on those bags! Way to go.

    And indeed, we’ve discussed a couple of additional slogans for Plastic-Free Tuesday a while back, which are: “Don’t feed the plastic monster”, and “Stopping the plastic waste stream one day at a time”! 🙂 It also applies to “one item”, or “one bag” at a time. Every bit helps, and it can be hard to go cold-turkey on this because plastic is so pervasive!

    Looking forward to your next step! Any thoughts? 🙂

  2. Hi Marlies,

    Thanks for your comment. Yes plastic is persuasive and well I have an idea on my next step. I just have to try and see if it works out. Either way, I’ll blog about it in a few weeks time.. You’ll just have to wait and see haha.

  3. Go Jildou! Really intrigued to find out about the plastic in teabags – thanks for sharing this. On the subject of checkouts, a friend advised me to say “No thank you, I’m giving up plastic”. She says it plants in others the association between ‘giving up’, a phrase you’d use with cigarettes or fast food, and ‘plastic’, making it sound like they’re spreading a bad habit giving out bags!
    Leanne x

  4. Hi Leanne,

    Thanks for your comment. I think you’re friend’s advice is really good. I’ll try and use it myself. It makes the other person more aware of plastic bags.

    Yesterday, I was at the same department store and this time the store clerck asked if I could carry my purchase in my own bag! That’s really good 🙂

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