The Plastic free and the zero waste movements are getting bigger and bigger by the minute. Thanks to social media and various plastic free challenges (of which, the #plasticfreejuly has just ended), more people are starting to (or at least willing to) limit their waste, particularly plastic.
This is great news!
More people becoming aware..as they say, better late than never, right?
But there is a catch
I am an active member of many of the social media groups related to this issue. and strikingly what I see most often is that there are many people really willing to skip the plastic but finding themselves stuck for options when doing their regular shopping. For example, most fruit and veg at supermarkets comes with ridiculous amount of plastic packaging. Bread comes wrapped in plastic. Cheese, ham, fish.. you name it! All wrapped up. Yes, maybe some places have a fresh counter which allows you to bring your own container, but trust me they are just a few. Safety regulations imposed from somewhere “up top” may impede the server behind the counter to serve you in your own containers (probably a temp, underpaid employer - poor guy/girl, do not get mad at him/her for obeying stupid rules and not risk losing the already precarious job..).
The truth is, trying to be zero waste and boycotting plastic all require an enormous amount of extra effort and extra expenditures. Finding a local farm might not be easy for all, similarly going to butchers, farmers markets, fish mongers.. it requires extra effort, extra planning, extra kilometres, extra fuel, extra time..extra everything! Of course, it is the search for convenience that drove the need for the extra packaging in a way and our busy lifestyles are sustaining the “to-go” economy.
But now we are in a vicious circle. Where is extra hard to avoid supermarkets, and because of this they will not change or disappear because a few of us are “avoiding them”. But we become dependent on them so they continue. Even if you do manage to shop plastic free at the supermarket, how many things are you depriving yourself of because are wrapped? And are we seriously fool enough to think that a few people not buying yogurt or not buying the packaged fruit will make any big difference? The packages are produced up top anyway. If the fruit doesn’t get bought, it will end jn the landfill together with the packaging. Honestly, I don’t know what’s worse. At least if i buy it i might try to recycle it…
So. What if instead of passively avoiding we did something more active?
I am not saying we should do an armed revolution. But maybe complain loudly, if we do it all together we may be heard. Plastic can be avoided from the top.What if while going plastic free we denounce on social medias, taking videos in the stores, emailing stores every day, calling customer services, being on them trying to get to the top people (again don’t get angry with the poor temp employee…) ? We might have a better chance to change things. I want to be hopeful..
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