We have recently made a concerted effort to reduce the amount of plastic we bring into our home. Let me tell you, it is extremely difficult to do, and I feel our efforts to date have only made a minor dent in our consumption of plastic.
What we do:
I always take my own shopping bags with me, no matter what store I go to, they are not just for the grocery store.
In the grocery store I look for glass jars, cardboard or paper packaging, or cans when I need pre-packaged food. For example, marinara sauce, almost always is available in glass, the same with peanut butter. Ice cream, my husband is an ice cream addict, I only purchase the brands packaged in cardboard.
Being Vegan I purchase a ton of produce each week, thankfully many of my staple items can be purchased package free, and I never use the plastic bags that are available to put the items in. A lot of fruit can be purchased and it has not packaging, but berries and grapes are always in plastic bags or plastic clam shell containers. The plastic clam shell containers are eligible of recycling, so that is a very slight plus.
Household cleaners, they all seem to come in plastic.
With personal items I purchase soap that is either free of packaging, or packaged in paper or cardboard. But most other items we use are not in eco-friendly packaging.
I am pleased that it takes almost two weeks before we have a bag of trash to take out, but I am distressed that it basically contains only non-recyclable plastic.
Almost everything comes wrapped in plastic, is on plastic hangers, has plastic components and it is nigh on impossible to simply rid yourself of plastic. And I don't think I would want to, there are many benefits to plastic, it is light weight and very durable. I dropped a glass jar of strawberry jam one day when walking out of the store, the glass smashed and there was a rather hazardous mess created. If the jar had been plastic I doubt it would have broken. I am not sure we would want cleaning products in breakable containers, the damage caused by spills and breakage would surely negate the benefit of eliminating the plastic container.
I don't know what the answer is to all of the plastic waste that is generated, it appears that recycling is not the answer as almost none of the plastic is recycled and most is simply shipped to poor countries around the world to pollute their environment, which personally makes me feel sick.
What is the answer? I think we ALL need to do our part to consume less plastic, always opt for the most environmentally friendly packaging, and still recycle as some of the plastic is recycled. But don't fool yourself into thinking recycling is the cure all because it has become more and more apparent that it is not.