This past month I participated in #plasticfreejuly, as a way to be more conscious of what I consume and reduce the amount of plastic I use. I’ve been increasingly aware of my plastic consumption as everyday the global negative impact of plastics grows. In both my personal and business life I’m looking for opportunities to reduce my impact. (I started a daily ritual of picking up a handful of plastic trash on my walks with Kuma. This little project has had a huge impact on me. It's just crazy to see the very real presence and impact of plastic waste in my neighborhood.)
One way I’ve committed to reducing my environmental impact is by switching from plastic packaging to cellophane. Each kit was wrapped in a clear plastic wrapper and I felt so guilty each time I sent out an order. I eased my worry, by thinking, well it can be recycled, and then learned that plastic films, are not as widely accepted for recycling. I did a ton of research trying to figure out options to either redesign my all packaging altogether or to find alternatives that could work with what I have now.
I had recently invested in updating my packaging design (which is printed on recycled paper), and didn’t want to start from scratch again. I settled on cellophane, because it’s clear and most similar to what I currently use, but it’s 100% natural, made from cellulose found in wood fibers, like wood, cotton, and hemp. The best part is it’s biodegradable and compostable. It’s much more expensive than what i had been purchasing, but I can stand behind this and feel good about the decision from my business. FYI, often clear plastic films are called cellophane or “cello bags” but are actually made from acrylic, or polypropylene, aka plastic.
Reducing your plastic use is an eye-opening experience that’s often comical. I’ve learned that I just can no longer shop at Trader Joes. Literally everything is wrapped in plastic. While flossing my teeth one night my partner tells me he heard that birds are dying from eating dental floss, which is just nylon. (We swapped to this bamboo floss). I purchase a steel reusable straw to avoid plastic straws and then it comes wrapped in plastic. At the bar, I order a drink and yell over the loud music, “No straw please” as the bartender slides a straw into my drink. Heck, when I received this cellophane packaging, you guessed correctly, it came wrapped in plastic!
It’s a process, for sure! I feel great about making the effort and investing in more sustainable options. I'd love to hear about any sustainable swaps or actions you're making in your life.