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    • By COOLTRIKERCHICK 11th Jun 17, 12:34 PM
    • 10,417Posts
    • 58,321Thanks
    cutting back on plastic
    • #1
    • 11th Jun 17, 12:34 PM
    cutting back on plastic 11th Jun 17 at 12:34 PM
    I am going to try and cut back on plastic, but I have come to a few stumbling blocks where I need ideas

    One of them is how do i store things in my freezer?,

    I don't think it's possible to live completely plastic free??

    I sell on line and use alot of bubble wrap. And am looking for cheap alternatives for this too.
    Work to live= not live to work
Page 1
    • JimLad
    • By JimLad 12th Jun 17, 9:04 AM
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    • #2
    • 12th Jun 17, 9:04 AM
    • #2
    • 12th Jun 17, 9:04 AM
    I think the best thing to do would be to try and reuse as much as possible. You can use plastic in the freezer, but the same containers over and over again?
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    • Ben84
    • By Ben84 12th Jun 17, 10:17 PM
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    • #3
    • 12th Jun 17, 10:17 PM
    • #3
    • 12th Jun 17, 10:17 PM
    Plastics have a lot of negative ideas associated with them. Personally however, out of the available options, I'm ok with plastics, in fact I see some positives to them.

    They're typically much more resource efficient than other materials. A plastic bottle that holds one-litre weighs vastly less than a glass one. You can bag a kilo of rice or pasta in less than a gram of plastic. They also in every case I've looked up use less energy to make than comparable metal, glass and paper/card alternatives. Plastics may be solidified fossil fuels, but they normally still use less fossil fuels than alternative materials. Smelting metal, boiling wood to pulp and melting glass are high-energy processes in comparison. Plastics became so popular for a reason, they use less resources.

    Non-biodegradability is often brought up, but plastics aren't alone in that. Glass, ceramics and metals are not biodegradable either. What can be said for plastics in favour over these materials is that they're often smaller and compress better when buried in landfills. Plastic bottles squash better than glass ones. Like for like, the plastic versions will typically fill up landfills slower.

    However, a lot of people don't know where their rubbish goes. Knowing where your rubbish goes can help you make choices. It's no good avoiding plastic and buying paper/card because plastics don't biodegrade, when in fact your rubbish isn't even being landfilled. My rubbish goes to a waste to energy power station to be burnt. There's several around here in the surrounding county, they're all modern plants with very low emissions. They serve thousands of customers, yet each emit comparable pollution to a few cars - so with the exception of CO2, they are otherwise sending remarkably little up the chimney. As for solid waste, the ashes, which are much reduced in volume compared to the waste going in, are used for construction materials. With the exception of CO2, the rubbish virtually vanishes when it goes in to the plant. Feeding plastics to these plants makes a lot of sense as they produce energy, and it effectively destroys the plastic, negating the non-biodegradable issue entirely. So, we get to use the material twice, once for packaging or homewares, then to make energy. Although these plants are CO2 emitters, it's worth noting that using plastics in the first place saves CO2 by using less fossil fuels, and that at this point in time if we weren't burning the plastics like this, we'd be burning fossil fuels anyway in their place. The process also disposes of the rubbish. A future with more renewable and/or nuclear power going in to the grid could make burning plastics less attractive, but on the other hand a future with more bioplastics could make burning them a renewable energy source. The future will lead to different conclusions, but they're unknown, and for now burning the plastic looks like a preferable option.

    So, that's my conclusions. I don't inherently worry about using plastics. When you must have packaging, they're resource efficient to make, and as long as I bag them tightly and throw them out in the rubbish they will make it to the power plant, not get free in the environment as litter. I make effort to reduce the amount of everything I buy and use, and after that I choose plastics over other materials where possible as I have a very clean, efficient and easy way to dispose of plastics - I just put them in the wheelie bin. Bubble wrap is I think a really good example of an ideal plastic item. It's largely made of air, with very little plastic film used to trap it in place. It saves weight and space in parcels, and people often reuse it. I buy a lot of vintage items on eBay and almost all the bubble wrap appears to be reused. I also save it and reuse it for my own online sales.

    So, I think these plastic diets and things are misguided. At best they consume time and effort that could be spent on something that helps the environment more. At their worst they also encourage the use of materials that actually use more resources to make.
    Last edited by Ben84; 12-06-2017 at 10:19 PM.
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