'A sense of humour lends you poise, it gives you balance and it helps you to bend without breaking'

(HH Pujya Gurudev Swami Chinmayananda)

MenOoWaC - Bandjoinery

Well, that couple of posts last week on the matter of plastics brought forth a lot of great comments and engagement. There is no doubt that everyone has some level of interest in trying to do better with minimising their consumption of plastic.

More than one mentioned shopping bags - a fabulous and simple place to begin. There is absolutely no excuse, now, not to have cloth bags or long-life crates to carry the groceries in. Re-purposing plastic trays for use under condiments in the kitchen or for under plants... sourcing product in glass or metal rather than plastic. On that, LBJ (Abby's mum) has provided a link to a skin-care range for the USA residents called Frangipani... that may be more practical for the American readers than the UK-based link I provided last week. For Aussie readers, there are quite a number of products, but one I know and trust is the Sukin range. It is affordable, excellent product, but in relation to our subject here, a lot of the product comes in glass and metal and when it doesn't it is in fully recyclable materials. For the ROTW, Grown Alchemist is a global brand, favouring mostly glass. Of course, there are plenty others, this is just to get you all looking around for alternatives.

One issue got raised, though, which was perfectly valid; Sandra was fretting (her word not mine) about the state of paper production in relation to forests. This is the thing, isn't it... environmental responsibility is like playing a game of Jenga!

Paper packaging is, without doubt, to be favoured over plastic for most situations. However, it is also used in excess in some places. The main thing about paper is that it can be recycled; a sheet of paper may expect to be repulped anything from four to eight times, depending on whether it is short or long-fibred grain in its first generation and then subsequent generations according to what it gets mixed with. What has started to happen now is that recycled pulp is bolstered with fresh pulp to lengthen the reusability and to minimise the new pulp requirement. Eventually, though, it breaks down altogether and then is just mulched.

With regard to the use of trees for paper, 'farmed' trees are mainly used for the production of furniture and building timber and it is what is left over from these processes which mostly goes to papermaking. This leaflet tells you more. What you will note on reading that, is that paper production is not particularly environmentally friendly.

There are many other products which make perfectly good paper and are rather more sustainably sourced. Recycled rags and fibres are often used to make paper. Plants like hemp and agricultural waste like wheat straw can also be used. Kenaf is another sustainable plant harvested to make paper, mostly in Africa. Here is another interesting article

Additionally, there is stone paper. Yes, you read that correctly. It has been developed in a number of different places, but this one is very refined - yet with good environmental credentials. Of course, it requires something to hold the powdered stone together and that comes down to a polyethylene... i.e. plastic. However, it is considered fully recyclable and I have been unable to find anything to refute this. (An aside...It's an OZ company, despite the American accent on the promo film!)

Another comment mentioned string bags. I'm a fan of those too and have made a few in my time. Have been working on a variation though... back tomorrow for what that is and with the last on this subject. For now. 


  1. Ohhh Aunty my peeps take 5 cloth bags to the store each week.
    What an interesting post today...as always!!
    Hugs Madi and mom

  2. I learned a lot about the growth and regrow that of forests when in Oregon last year. Paper is not perfect but I believe could be sustainable if done responsibly.

  3. A town near us has made it illegal for grocery stores to give plastic bags for free. Shoppers are required to bring their own reusable bags or else I have to pay a fee for plastic bags. It's amazing how fast it became completely normal to keep a bag with you at all times. On the subject of other uses of plastic, we were pondering the other night whether we could even get through a single day without using some form of plastic. We didn't think so. It's everywhere.

    1. Hari OM
      It absolutely is - and the recent momentum here has lots of news and current affairs shows selecting families to experiment with eliminating plastic. It's quite possible to reduce by at least 50% without too much effort, but then it gets exponentially harder. I have recently sourced bamboo-handled toothbrushes, so will be going with that on my next upgrade. The more we pay attention, though, the more we will be able to do. Thanks for dropping by! Yxx

    2. That is the same in Ontario, KB! We take our bags all the time.
      I figure that the paper bags are, at least, a renewable resource.
      We get many purchases, like electronics, that are totally overpackaged in hard plastic that you need a knife to cut into. That's to prevent theft.
      It is styrofoam that drives me nuts, those little 'S's.

  4. this is surely a lot to think about, hopefully the world will start to do all we can to save our resources and environment. all of this is a great place to start... will take a look around to see what can be cut from the plastic in our home.

  5. Hello, great info and post. We all need to do our part to make our world a cleaner and safe place to live.

  6. We take all our plastic, cardboard and newspapers to the recycle place. We also reuse some of the plastic containers that lunch meat came in (great for storing leftovers) and small TV dinner trays
    Hazel & Mabel

  7. Reusable bags, recycling and hybrid. Then our energy is supplied by wind power. Doing what we can.


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