Practical solutions, upcycling ideas and exciting alternatives to plastic from Cape Town.
EPISODE 4 | Plastic Free Challenge
Scone Malone, Stories from the Southern Suburbs, Cape Town
Hello everybody, my name is Scone and I live in the cold and lush Southern suburbs of Cape Town. I live with three friends who are all doing postgrad work whilst I do a bunch of varying freelance work from journalism to legal work and building with mycelium.
We collect our water from the Newlands spring and so one change we implemented during Plastic Free July was to replace our clear plastic 25L bottle with brown glass bottles and a wooden crate for transport. We are fortunate to have space for a compost heap and try to recycle everything else. We do a pretty good job of avoiding single use plastic, especially the easy ones like plastic bags, straws etc., but still find others difficult. The thing is that often food comes in overly wrapped containers. One way to get around this is to only buy fresh things and try to buy from markets as much as you can; another way is to grow as much as possible of your own. Things like condiments and milk are also a problem as the containers they come in are discarded after use. There is the option of making your own almond/cashew milk and using glass receptacles; we find that simply upcycling things is another excellent option – washing and drilling holes in the bottom of an old mayo tub makes for a great planter for a bit of yarrow.
The ultimate problem is that we are still so reliant on plastic because manufacturers just see it as the go-to option – it is cheap to produce and so well accepted in society. There are great alternatives, like processing mycelium or agar into functional plastic substitutes,
the only problem being that it is more expensive. Herein lies not only the misconception of price vs cost, but also the fact that with enough momentum the anti-plastic campaign can change the perception of manufacturers that the public are okay with plastic.
It may be a good idea to be vocal about it (without being abrasive or curt, of course) in interactions with manufacturers, producers, retailers and their employees whenever possible. Tell them why you do not want the straw with a smile on your face.
Every little comment adds to the communal subconscious and we will save the planet from our folly. Good luck with your plastic free challenge now and beyond!
To find out more about mycelium as a plastic substitute and building material contact Scone and find out more about MycoMinded.
Follow our blog for all the episodes in this Plastic Free Challenge series.
Collective solutions from all our stories…every little thing we do adds up and it all counts…it’s not easy to change habits and plastic packaging is everywhere, but the more of us who say NO to single-use plastic the easier it becomes…living a healthy, plastic free life is really difficult and expensive, this needs to change and we CAN change it….and sharing our stories is powerful, we are not alone, we inspire each other and we can take back our power as consumers to create healthy communities and a healthy planet. Who’s in?
[You can search for places that are recycling or using eco packaging on Eco Atlas and here are some other plastic free wins you should definitely check out – GreenHome, StreamStraws, FreshBag, The Candylwood Store and more…]