Things don’t always appear as green as they may seem. It’s like the old saying, “the grass is greener on the other side”: we all know that is not always the case. Just because they say it is “green” or “environmentally friendly” does not always guarantee that it is, so what can you do to be as green as you can be? You can ask questions. Asking questions is free and we deserve to get the answers we are looking for.
When you come to Waste Me Not we encourage you to ask questions. We encourage you to ask questions and make comments anywhere you go where you don’t feel satisfied with the packaging being used. I have personally used everything you find in Waste Me Not. I do this because I feel it is important to know exactly what I sell. After all, we do need sustainable plastic-free alternatives to actually work. I spend the majority of my time researching and testing products that are sold on the green market as the most sustainable and environmentally-friendly products currently available, and I have found that some items are just no good and definitely not green. However, it is not just about the products; it’s also about the packaging because that is where the majority of single-use waste comes from. It can be the plastic container your takeaway lunch comes in, it may be plastic that keeps your eggs together on the tray.
Why do we need so much plastic?
Like you, I sometimes get influenced by fancy packaging or sophisticated catch phrases, “biodegradable and compostable”. Some products really are these things, but I learnt that not everything is as good as its claims, and not as green as they want us to believe. We need to be aware because as consumers we have the right to ask questions. We have the right to know and we have the right to decide on what we want to purchase.
A new term called “Greenwashing” is in fact not green at all. It is a term that many big corporations are adopting because they are feeling the plastic-free movement as a direct threat to their business, as they should; plastic sucks, which a lot of us already know.
So what can we do?
We can start by rethinking our single use plastic consumption and it can start with REDUCING. Reducing what we use. Greenwashing can be misleading for those consumers who want to do the right thing by purchasing “eco-friendly” items but really what they may be doing is making unnecessary greenwashed purchases. In this case it may be better to REDUCE altogether.
This leads me to tell you to RETHINK! We need to start questioning what is being sold to us, how it is being sold to us and what we will do with it after we buy it. Do I really need it? How can I dispose of it when I am finished using it? How long can I use it for? Is it good for the environment? Where did it come from? It may seem like so many questions to ask yourself when shopping but they are really important questions that will leave you feeling satisfied after you have REJECTED unnecessary items at the till.
I have seen greenwashing happen over the past few years and it’s sad. Wherever I travel I try and take the time to take note of how items are sold and what sort of packaging is used. I also rely on my global network of friends to keep me informed of what other cities/countries are doing to tackle the single use plastic problem. Packaging can make or break a deal for me.
Let’s take a look at an example of really poor single use packaging. Individually wrapped potatoes! Yikes, this is truly shocking. The first question is why? What better way to disconnect the miraculous growth of a hearty potato from the wholesomeness of the earth than to wrap it in plastic?
Another close friend of mine sent me a picture of herself at her favorite coffee chain shop - Starbucks. “It’s so cool to see them selling reusable coffee cups” she says, pointing to a very encouraging sign about reducing your waste if you purchase this reusable coffee cup. That’s great, I think, as disposal coffee cups make up so much of our single use waste and they can’t be recycled!
But what can be seen right next to the reusable cups? Bottled water in a basket, with a simple sign promoting hydration and good health, sold in a single use plastic bottle. Ugh! They don’t get the point of being eco-friendly at all; why not have a filtered water dispensing point? RETHINK! They need to RETHINK. I would rather support small coffee shops anyways, I tell her.
My point here is to speak up, stand up, question things and let people know how you feel. It can be uncomfortable but we must stand up for what we believe is right. Because some people really may not know and some may not care, but one thing that we should all agree on is that we all want a healthy and prosperous future for ALL living creatures on OUR only planet.
We hope to see you soon at Waste Me Not because we really do try to REDUCE and RETHINK by promoting and encouraging plastic-free alternatives.
Waste Me Not Sustainable Living