Every Monday I post Real Life Minimalists, a profile of one of my readers in their own words. If you’d like to participate, click here for details.
This week, we have an inspiring contribution from Polythene Pam, who tells us how her plastic boycott is leading her down a minimalist path. Visit her blog to learn more.
Polythene Pam writes:
Boycotting disposable and unnecessary plastic has led me down some strange roads; I am now a composter, a jam maker and even, on a good day with the wind behind me, a crafter!! But lately, I have found myself wondering …is it possible …could I be …a minimalist? Let me explain:
In 2007 (incensed by increasing plastic trash that doesn’t biodegrade and lasts forever), I started my plastic boycott. One of the things I no longer buy is plastic packaged stuff. This means I don’t have a zillion hair care products or face creams. On the other hand I do buy the basic ingredients to make my own (simple) hair care products, creams and sun tan lotion. Far less bottles versus a cupboard full of Shea butter and special thermometers. Hmmmm. But I have liberated another cupboard. The one under the sink full of scouring, polishing and cleansing products. I have replaced them all with one bag of bicarbonate of soda. Bicarb is wonder stuff, you can use it to clean everything from your teeth to your carpet – just don’t use the same brush.
So far not so minimalist you might be thinking, and for sure boycotting plastic has meant the purchase of some new products – like my juice maker. I bought it so I don’t have to buy plastic lined cartons of juice, and the end result has been a reduced consumption of cartons. Less consumption has meant less rubbish, so while I have a machine in the kitchen, I have less trash in my bin. My bins are truly clutter free – check them out.
Because I don’t buy anything plastic packed (and did you know that tin cans are plastic lined?), and refill my bottles with homemade products, I have very little in my recycling bin.
Most of my rubbish is biodegradable so it goes in my compost bin. I have no icky food waste in my day bin, which means I don’t need plastic bin liners. I have no soiled plastic food wrappers or plastic disposables. As a result my rubbish bin needs emptying every 6 months (if that).
True, I had to get a compost bin and that gets to see some action but it is low maintenance. It sits in the corner of the yard, happily eating bucket loads of stuff. I have yet to remove any compost which suits me fine. I bought it to cut bin liners, (and my carbon footprint), rather then produce plant food.
I still use some plastics and I think they have an important role to play in future provision. We cannot supply all we need from natural resources – at least not without increased farming and so destroying what few natural habitats we have left. Man made plastic fibres for example are a useful complement to natural yarns and, in some cases, more appropriate. Think camping – I have slept under canvas and ughh, shudder! However, using either natural or manmade fibres to excess is foolish; the first destroys the wilderness, the latter becomes everlasting litter. So I use both of them as little as possible. I only buy the minimum I need and make it last. I do have a synthetic raincoat but I have had it forever. I do this with all products from plastic computers to wooden chairs. Minimalist!
To conclude, boycotting plastic leads to the purchase of some new, reusable products, but the end result is less consumption. Less consumption means less rubbish. My drawers might be rather too full, but my bins are barren. If you don’t buy many synthetic or natural products, you don’t have much new stuff. As things fall apart not to be replaced, my possessions are thinning out. On the whole I think I might be turning minimalist. That’s why I am submitting this for the minimalist of the week slot, on the best minimalist blog on line, I need to know….
You can learn more about my plastic boycott, source a whole load of plastic free products and learn how to make your own sun tan lotion over at www.plasticisrubbish.wordpress.com.