As a regular attender at Fremantle Quaker Meeting, I find that in reading the Australian Advices and Queries I usually find one that speaks to my condition at the time. My favourites are:
- Try to live simply. A simple lifestyle freely chosen is a source of strength. Do not be persuaded into buying what you do not need or cannot afford. Do you keep yourself informed about the effects your style of living is having on the global economy and environment? (No. 45)
- Be patterns, be examples in all countries, places, carriage and life may preach among all sorts of people, and to them; then you will come to walk cheerfully over the world, answering that of God in every one. (George Fox)
In our efforts to live life more simply and consciously of the environment, our family gave up plastic in January 2013. We tried not to acquire any new plastic for a month, in the hope that our efforts would also encourage others to be more conscious of their own plastic consumption.
WHO ARE WE AND HOW DO WE LIVE?
We are a family living in Fremantle, Western Australia: Peter, Susan and young son Caleb. We have a 25-year-old Volvo car and no animals aside from our worm farm. Walking or riding is our main mode of transport; however, we use our car to visit family or friends and on excursions approximately once a week.
We try to buy organic food at local independent shops from bulk containers as much as possible. Our cleaning products are environmentally friendly, we recycle our rubbish, worm farm our food scraps, and try to conserve our water and energy. However, we still seem to acquire a lot of plastic each week, mainly in the form of food and body care packaging.
OUR GUIDELINES FOR OUR PLASTIC FREE JANUARY:
ONE MONTH PRIOR:
- Plan where food and body care products will be bought to lighten the burden
- Collect and record all the plastic acquired for one month prior to starting (Exceptions: medication);
- Start looking for alternatives to products consumed on a regular basis (learn how to make own yogurt, oatcakes, bread, hummus, brownies using ingredients that don’t come in plastic)
DURING THE MONTH:
- Try not to buy or accept anything made of plastic or that is packaged in plastic, collecting and recording any plastic that slips through;
- Shop locally at bulk supply and health food stores or from farmers markets;
- Take own plastic or glass containers to the shop;
- Look out for products that come wrapped in paper, in waxed cardboard cartons and in glass jars or tins.
- Consider not using petrol for a month as most plastic is made from petrochemicals.
Giving up plastic for a month was an exercise in plastic awareness. It was a bit more expensive and it was more time consuming; however, it opened our eyes to the large amount of plastic we acquire on a weekly basis. I am slowly finding alternatives to the products we use regularly and making little changes. For suggestions go to www.plasticfreejuly.org
AND REMEMBER: THINK BIG, START SMALL.
For more information about the Australian Quaker Advices and Queries, click here.