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MikeAqua

6063 posts

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#238081 2-Jul-2018 16:08
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Recently I've been making an effort to de-plastic my life. 

 

Without going into the why's or anything like that I thought I'd start a thread to discuss ways people have found of minimising single use plastics in everyday life or raise challenges they are having in the hope other can unblock them.

 

I'll start with some easy ones: -

 

Sushi - I eat a lot of sushi so I bought a traditional bento box for buying sushi.  The staff in the sushi places I go always smile when they see it.  I also go somewhere the ginger and wasabi aren't in little packages.  I keep my own (low Na+) soy at my desk.

 

Groceries - I don't bother with plastic bags for produce as long as it isn't small enoguh to fall out of the trolley.  For small stuff I bought some little cotton mesh bags. Also don't bother with reusable plastic shopping bags.  I have a 'granny trundler'.  At the check out everything just goes into it.  If I need more I have a bunch of hessian and cotton shopping bags gleaned over the years as conference bags.

 

For bulk-bin items like nuts, I take the ziplock bags back to the supermarket with me and refill with the same product - bonus is no more writing down SKU codes. 

 

I'm also finding quite a few cleaning products now come in cardboard packages. Or I buy from bulk places using FYO containers.

 

Meat is still an issue, as nowhere I shop offers paper packaging.  Best option so far has been to buy large cuts (e.g whole chicken, side of lamb) and butcher it myself, then freeze wrapped in paper or in airtight reusable containers.

 

 

 

 





Mike


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eph

eph
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  #2047666 2-Jul-2018 16:23
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It's really hard reduce amount of plastic for normal groceries - not talking about plastic bags all this hype around plastic bags is ridiculous. Plastic bags are 1% problem while ignoring the rest 99% of all the other individual plastic packaging and wrappers they use. We collect the soft packaging for recycling (we take it back to supermarket) and each plastic bag we take back is filled with other plastic which comes from groceries (btw. since they've introduce soft packaging recycling we've reduced amount of rubbish by at least 75%, unbelievable how much packaging went into rubbish before).

 

I still don't understand why they call it "plastic bag ban" if the only thing they've done is that they now charge for the bags (how is that a ban??). Alternatively they sell you more expensive non recyclable bag. What happened to single use recyclable/degradable packaging like paper, PLA plastic bags, etc?


Behodar
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  #2047673 2-Jul-2018 16:26
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eph: What happened to single use recyclable/degradable packaging like paper, PLA plastic bags, etc?

 

My local New World has recyclable bags as standard. They've also recently(ish) changed meat to come in recyclable plastic trays. It's still plastic, but it's a step.

 

My work is promoting "Plastic-Free July" which has made me think more about this sort of thing. Some things which I had just habitually tossed in the bin (lids on disposable cups, for example) are actually recyclable.


 
 
 
 


marej
186 posts

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  #2047674 2-Jul-2018 16:27

Transitioned from plastic containers to stainless steel containers and glass jars for kitchen storage.  Got rid of all teflon/non-stick pans and gone back to stainless steel or use cast iron.  Got rid of non-stick and plastic type untensils.  No straws or plastic knives and forks.

 

I am fine with plastic supermarket bags - they are the only plastic that comes out of the supermarket that is no single-use as far as I am concerned.

 

 


dazhann
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  #2047675 2-Jul-2018 16:29
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When China stopped taking our plastic to be recycled, I stopped buying milk in plastic bottles and now only buy it in cardboard. It cost more and 1 litre is the biggest size . To begin with only one supermarket stocked it, Countdown. Now I noticed this week Pak n save now does as well


Wiggum
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  #2047680 2-Jul-2018 16:36
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We recycle the plastic bags we receive from the store. They make good small garbage bags. Saves us from having to go out and buy plastic garbage bags.


trig42
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  #2047681 2-Jul-2018 16:37
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dazhann:

 

When China stopped taking our plastic to be recycled, I stopped buying milk in plastic bottles and now only buy it in cardboard. It cost more and 1 litre is the biggest size . To begin with only one supermarket stocked it, Countdown. Now I noticed this week Pak n save now does as well

 

 

You may want to rethink that.

 

As far as I know (I used to work for a Milkman - 10+ years ago though), the plastic milk bottles are recycled here in NZ (and turned into more milk bottles).

 

The Tetra Pak cardboard packaging is not recyclable in NZ, so goes to Landfill. It is waxed and contains more than just cardboard.

 

 

 

Of course, this may have changed, but I haven't heard that it has.

 

 

 

EDIT - Just checked - some councils do accept Tetra Paks in their recycling, but not all.


dazhann
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  #2047694 2-Jul-2018 16:48
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Hopefully someone here can confirm. My understanding was most plastic, including milk bottles, was shipped off to China for recycling till they said no more. Yes to cardboard milk but to me it seemed like the lesser evil of the two. Back to glass would be ideal but I can't see that happening anytime soon.  


 
 
 
 


MikeAqua

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  #2047699 2-Jul-2018 16:50
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dazhann:

 

Hopefully someone here can confirm. My understanding was most plastic, including milk bottles, was shipped off to China for recycling till they said no more. Yes to cardboard milk but to me it seemed like the lesser evil of the two. Back to glass would be ideal but I can't see that happening anytime soon.  

 

 

In Nelson one company (Oaklands) is selling pasteurised whole milk via FYO vending machines.  No plastic required.  The deliver in glass to cafes.





Mike


Rikkitic
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  #2047718 2-Jul-2018 17:05
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We live on a rural farm, no rubbish collection. For years we have used plastic bags from supermarket shopping as rubbish containers. When a bag is full, we tie it off and chuck it on a pile for later burning. Because we burn the bags they don't go into the sea or the environment, though of course the burning causes its own kind of pollution. I don't know if the net result is better or worse. 

 

Apart from that, I hate excess packaging and have never seen the need for most of it. I try to avoid it as much as possible, but it isn't always easy. Why in godsname does even hardware have to be shrink-wrapped? I really hate that.

 

At least people here aren't rioting because they can't have free plastic bags from the supermarkets anymore. Some people seem to have a real problem with adulthood.

 

 





I don't think there is ever a bad time to talk about how absurd war is, how old men make decisions and young people die. - George Clooney
 


eph

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  #2047726 2-Jul-2018 17:13
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dazhann:

 

When China stopped taking our plastic to be recycled, I stopped buying milk in plastic bottles and now only buy it in cardboard. It cost more and 1 litre is the biggest size . To begin with only one supermarket stocked it, Countdown. Now I noticed this week Pak n save now does as well

 

 

Auckland still has few more years to go on the contract. I've talked to recycling council lady at the weekend and she was saying that while China stopped taking our plastic, Auckland still got till (I think, can't remember the year exactly) 2023 before it would need to go to landfill.

 

The soft plastic packaging is apparently recycled here in NZ - so the banned plastic bags from supermarket will soon be one of the few plastic recyclables being recycled :).


eph

eph
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  #2047731 2-Jul-2018 17:19
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Rikkitic:

 

We live on a rural farm, no rubbish collection. For years we have used plastic bags from supermarket shopping as rubbish containers. When a bag is full, we tie it off and chuck it on a pile for later burning. Because we burn the bags they don't go into the sea or the environment, though of course the burning causes its own kind of pollution. I don't know if the net result is better or worse. 

 

Apart from that, I hate excess packaging and have never seen the need for most of it. I try to avoid it as much as possible, but it isn't always easy. Why in godsname does even hardware have to be shrink-wrapped? I really hate that.

 

At least people here aren't rioting because they can't have free plastic bags from the supermarkets anymore. Some people seem to have a real problem with adulthood.

 

 

 

 

Are you seriously burning plastic rubbish??? You know that's the worse - releasing toxic fumes and other really dangerous stuff which then gets back into the soil and water. I hope you at least wear a gas mask when you burn that stuff.


Fred99
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  #2047737 2-Jul-2018 17:21
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There's a paucity of easily found information as to what gets recycled locally and what doesn't - product waste types and volumes.

 

That isn't an acceptable situation - public pressure is the only thing that's going to force a change, be that through pressure on manufacturers to do the right thing or lose customers, or face legislation from Government as a result of publicity.

 

I think NZ also faces a problem with exports, as apart from what we use locally, we'll be exporting a hell of a lot of plastics as vac packs for meat, cheese, kiwifruit trays, "mineral" water bottles etc etc - as that's what our markets demand - and I'd expect that out exporters will not be very happy if NZ took a strong position.

 

IMO we've been "greenwashed" for years on recycling - all credit to local companies that do recycle - but I'm sure they're a drop in the ocean.

 

 


Rikkitic
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  #2047756 2-Jul-2018 18:00
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eph:

 

Are you seriously burning plastic rubbish??? You know that's the worse - releasing toxic fumes and other really dangerous stuff which then gets back into the soil and water. I hope you at least wear a gas mask when you burn that stuff.

 

 

What would you do with it? It can't be recycled and I doubt the landfill is a better solution. We are surrounded by open land, no near neighbours and what we burn is mostly paper. The plastic bag doesn't make up much of it. If you have a better solution, please don't keep it to yourself.

 

 

 

 





I don't think there is ever a bad time to talk about how absurd war is, how old men make decisions and young people die. - George Clooney
 


Fred99
11140 posts

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  #2047780 2-Jul-2018 18:48
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Nothing is simple...

 

Here's a PDF of a Danish study on Life Cycle Assessment of grocery carrier bags.

 

I'll quote from a Reddit AMA on this.  Read and weep:

 

 

There have been others producing similar results – the comparison can differ slightly depending on context, but the order of magnitudes are usually similar. It uses a life-cycle analysis (LCA) to compare the impacts of packaging products across their full value chain (e.g. from raw material extraction through to post-disposal/waste management). They do this for a range of environmental factors including climate change, water consumption, energy, freshwater pollution, fertilizer use etc.

 

They compare how many times you’d have to reuse a given material as a substitute to make it worthwhile to replace a single-use standard plastic bag (i.e. how many times would you have to reuse to make it environmentally equal?).

 

- Polypropylene (PP) – those thicker woven bags that are common you’d have to use 5 times for CO2, or 45 times if you include all environmental factors;

 

- Paper – tends to be similar from CO2 perspective, but would use 43 times to be even on all environmental factors;

 

- Organic cotton bag – 149 times for CO2; 20,000 times for all environmental factors;

 

- Conventional cotton bag – 52 times for CO2; 7100 times for all environmental factors.

 

 

I think the message here is that single use plastic grocery bags main failing is the way we dispose of them. (I should say "fail to dispose of them responsibly" WRT environmental impact).

 

I've been using some non-woven bags from Countdown, they're falling apart after about a dozen re-uses.  I don't think I've achieved much (actually possibly less than nothing) - and after reading the above I don't have much "feel-good" left.  

 

I have the uncomfortable feeling I've been "greenwashed" by Countdown. 


eph

eph
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  #2047854 2-Jul-2018 20:28
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Rikkitic:

 

eph:

 

Are you seriously burning plastic rubbish??? You know that's the worse - releasing toxic fumes and other really dangerous stuff which then gets back into the soil and water. I hope you at least wear a gas mask when you burn that stuff.

 

 

What would you do with it? It can't be recycled and I doubt the landfill is a better solution. We are surrounded by open land, no near neighbours and what we burn is mostly paper. The plastic bag doesn't make up much of it. If you have a better solution, please don't keep it to yourself.

 

 

Yes, landfilling plastic is better solution than burning it (in your backyard, not in specialised facility).

 

If you’re referring to burning your own plastics out back, then heavens, get thee to a landfill. Burn barrels and other backyard incineration methods release terrible, toxic smoke packed with dangerous chemicals, and plastics produce some of the worst offenders. Among them: dioxins and furans (hormone-disrupting, cancer-causing substances that build up in water, soil, crops, and our own bodies) and styrene gas (which damages the nervous system). This sort of thing is dangerous not only to you, the burner, but to your neighbors. Much better to sequester your plastics in a landfill — if those are your only two options.

 

Came from here but if you just google it there is lost of other sources available.


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