8 Apr 2014


After watching the VICE documentary ‘Garbage Island: An Ocean Full of Plastic’, in which the VICE team tries to find the mysterious garbage island in the North Pacific, I was hooked. Because what they found is much worse than an island of trash. The Gyre used to be where all our biodegradable trash would break down to nutrients for fish and sea monsters.

But now the Gyre contains polymers of plastic that are so tiny that the human eye can’t even see most of them. And guess where these little plastic pieces end up? Inside the fish we eat.

Plastic is not biodegradable. So how do we remove it from our daily lives? Why do we even use it? I’ve been scouring blogs for answers. Some plastic-free bloggers take things to the extreme and believe plastic is bad for you and contaminates the food you eat. They throw away their Tupperware and don’t eat anything that has touched the P-word.

I just want to start small: and not produce plastic waste. But starting small seems like a momentous task.

So far I’ve come up with some solutions: I always take my own fabric bag with on shopping trips; I don’t use the little plastic bags for weighing vegetables but stick the price tag directly onto the apple (I have not figured out how to do this for smaller fruits); I buy vegetables in glass jars because pickled foods are good for your gut flora anyway. I want to go to more neighbourhood markets and buy fresh from the farmers who sell everything in crates.

But that’s where my ideas end. How do you buy products without plastic? Everything comes wrapped in this transparent film nowadays. My everyday things: razors, make-up, sweets, butter, cream cheese, fast food, and take-away coffee. If there is too much plastic around an item, I refuse to buy it. But what is the solution? Should shops and wholesalers use paper bags instead? Is that more environmentally friendly?

They should really put a tax on plastic.

I don’t want our ocean to be broken.