Weaning off plastic and making better Eco-friendly decisions

Plastic is a problem.

It’s a lot like gluten – almost everywhere and in a whole lot of things.

As I become more aware of just how serious this plastic problem is, and how it affects the earth, step by step I’m making a point to get educated on the topic of sustainability and make changes for the better at home and on the go.

“Twenty cents.”

“Hmm?”

“You want a bag for your items?”

I nodded.

“Twenty cents.”

In my mind, ‘since when?’ sprang up but thankfully no words came out.

After all, it was a step forward to Barbados becoming more environmentally aware. Durable and eco-friendly shopping bags started appearing near checkout lines in major supermarkets. They’re a bit chunky for a small or medium handbag but they can withstand the weight of a decent amount of groceries.

Two eco-friendly fabric bags that can each fold into the size of an orange and hold in place with a drawstring, are in the kitchen as I type this (a pic coming up), yet I haven’t always remembered to roll with them every single time a supermarket or shop stop comes up.

Does that ever happen to you?

Let’s face it – sometimes it gets so humid in town and it’s easy to go buy a small bottled water instead of chugging around a steel flask in your bag or hand. That said, it is still very much worth the effort.

Try to make use of any water stations with eco cups as long as they’re around, and if you happen to have a plastic bottle collection under your sink, aside from making playtoys for puppies, there’s probably a bottle drop-off spot within driving distance.

Conversations on the environment and our choices and behaviour related to it, are fast becoming a hot topic in Barbados, which is a good thing.

Littering is also a social challenge.

Recently, a ban on single-use plastics was set in motion on a national level, and an environmentally-friendly alternative to styrofoam made a debut on the market.

Yes, a lot of complaints by food sellers but they do have a point since the material the first line green packaging product is made with can hardly withstand the heat from freshly-made food. It withers like a leaf in the sun, leaving a rather sweaty-looking meal. (I cook the majority of my meals at home but have experienced this firsthand a few times.) The disposable, recyclable cutlery works well!

Metal straws are also now for sale in top cafes (if you prefer one of those instead of the soggy-in-a-second ones.)

New water cups at a business place - Biodegradable and compostable
Newport water cups at a business place – Biodegradable and compostable

Plastic wreaks havoc on land and in water, and along with choked gullies (that can create even more challenges when heavy rain comes), marine life is also affected.

Earth is a temporary home, but while we’re here, let’s clean it up and do what we can like decent houseguests.

It’s easy to look at the amount of sno-cone cups that get thrown from windows by others and not at the plastic bags crammed into one of our kitchen drawers.

The single-use plastic/polystyrene product ban went into high gear from April 1, 2019.

 

Steps we can set in motion:

– some supermarkets have a single bag rule for items in set categories (no double bags)
– make and use some DIY cleaning products
– get a few large eco-friendly bags on sale at major grocery stores for BBD $3.99 – $6.
– eco-friendly garbage bags
– paint & decorate used yoghurt cups and butter tubs to store miscellaneous items
– smart straws, disposable cutlery & cafe coffee cups

as of April 1st, 2020 no plastic bags will be in commercial circulation. The goal is to be “plastic-free by 2020.”

Gifts from a sis, JulBe – foldable eco-friendly shopping bags. These can fit into a purse/bag and when open, hold a good set of groceries

A few starting steps can be:

  • Re-using bottles for hair/skin/kitchen/cleaning products
  • Returning bottles
  • Buying and using supermarket smart shopping reusable bags
  • Pelt fruit and veg “waste” in a composter/compost heap in set place outside
  • Bring a bag to your neighbourhood shop
  • opting for a steel or rubber-covered glass flask to store drinking water
  • choosing glass jars over plastic first
  • Keep a recycling chart on your fridge, like the one by Future Centre Trust 

I’m looking forward to making better environmental decisions across the board on a consistent basis.

Mango trees growing from discarded seeds or mangoes that were damaged when they fell.

A fan of creation is technically a foe of pollution, so I’m up for the challenge – and responsibility.

Want to join me on this journey?

What sustainable step will you take today? It can start with cleaning routine, dental-skin-hair-care products, driving or composting habits.

 

 

 

Click here to check out or order some of 150 reference reads on the environment, business and more in my mobile eco-biz bookstore.

 

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One of the innovative supermarkets recently refreshed their display with a 1/2 aisle of green packaging

 

It’s a process and sustainable packaging is not economically available everywhere, although if we believe we have been given all we need and we lack no good thing, I wonder if we’re being as observant and innovative as we can be, when it comes to making use of natural materials as packaging possibilities for some things.

Take conkies and pastelles (patty-like savoury-to-sweet seasonal treats) that are wrapped in banana leaves in Barbados and Trinidad & Tobago respectively, and there was that delicious pizza wrapped in a piece of everyday cardboard, in Cuba.

I think it would be quaint (and definitely plastic-free) to take home any restaurant or deli food neatly wrapped in a banana leaf with twine to seal it. If we can take home a swan-shaped foiled something carrying food, why not a rain-washed tropical leaf straight from the tree?

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Hi, I'm Indra, blogging from Barbados. Here you’ll find content tips for your creative career, refreshment reminders for everyday life, and nature views from around the island. I'm a writer, singer, blogger and publishing consultant who now works mostly from home after pressing pause on a life of travel. On a quest to grow more grateful each day. As a teen I almost gave up on life; now as a woman saved by grace, I'm living joyfully with purpose and encouraging the overwhelmed through words and music. Thanks for joining the journey, and remember to follow 'Joy within' blog for firsthand updates on new posts.

7 thoughts on “Weaning off plastic and making better Eco-friendly decisions

  1. We have been doing 90% of what you mentioned for years. The one thing we do that is bad is use the plastic grocery bags. I hate to admit but I use them at home for so many reasons. Did you know you can make a rug out of plastic bags? People make mats for the homeless from them too. They are meant to be a moisture barrier. Excellent post!

    1. Thanks for sharing – same here; I have and use some at home too. Trying to monitor the amount and carry my eco-bag as much as possible. That’s so interesting about the rug-making! I’ll check it out online. Have a wonderful rest of the day/night and thanks for the kind words.

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