Monday, November 14, 2011

ACF's Habitat Magazine September 2011

Here's my published article in ACF's Habitat magazine on A Plastic Free Year.
Published on the ACF Website in September. Click here.

My plastic free year (part 3)
Gina Prendergast challenged herself to living a year without buying virgin plastic. Nine months in she’s birthed a growing awareness of more sustainable product choices as well as a baby!

My plastic free year challenge has expanded from being a personal challenge to a family challenge. My partner Jordan and his five-year-old son Tyler have moved into my home, joined in the challenge and, by the time you are reading this article, our first daughter is likely to have been born and wearing cloth nappies.
There are many joys to becoming a blended family, but my plastic accumulation has spiked as a consequence! The first week Tyler started at his new kinder three lolly filled plastic bags came home, all handed to him in celebration of birthdays.
Tyler also excitedly brought home some grass he had grown from seed. As I looked proudly at his efforts, I felt conflicted about the grass being grown in a polystyrene cup. So, as a subtle way of introducing our family values to the childcare centre, he decided to take his Sigg ‘Eco Warrior’ bottle to show and tell and explained that he uses it instead of buying plastic bottles of water when out and about, as plastic can harm ocean life.
Educating our networks and extended family on respecting our choice to live a less plastic life is a delicate and lengthy process, especially when children are involved, but one we definitely aren’t giving up on.
Living plastic free has given both Jordan and me a renewed interest in the kitchen. We happily spend hours modifying recipes to suit the ingredients that we can purchase even though the end product itself can not be purchased plastic free, such as fresh homemade pasta, pizza bases, cakes and biscuits. It’s a great activity for children to be involved in too.
We prefer shopping at farmers markets over supermarkets, as supermarkets are a little restrictive for us. But sometimes they are our only choice when time is tight. We have been grateful to pick up Edam cheese wheels sealed in wax for $10 a kilo and we have found some understanding staff who will wrap seafood, poultry and deli products in paper when encouraged.
Conventional fruit and vegetables can be purchased without the use of plastic bags, but I do find it ironic that organic vegetables are tightly suffocated in layers of plastic wrap.
Usually there is a strategically placed chain bakery near a supermarket who, when asked, place our bread orders in paper. Bread freezes in paper just fine too.
We have so much still to learn and improve on, but at the end of the day it feels fantastic to know we are forming family values in hope to improve our shared planet.

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