This month I've been inspired by, of all things, a BBC blog. It's written by a woman who decided to avoid buying or otherwise collecting any plastic products for the whole of August. What I've found most interesting in a way is the debate that raged in the comments pages as to whether such lengths are truly necessary - and Chris, the blogger, joined in this theme by examining the pros and cons of plastic alternatives in her posts. But the main theme that seemed to come back again and again was that plastic is not a bad thing, it's the 'disposability' of many plastic products.
The eco-geek's motto is 'Reduce, Reuse, Recycle'. I'm pretty good at recycling and reusing, but never really gave the reducing part much thought. Putting the plastic debate aside, I send vast amounts of cotton pads and wipes to landfill just through washing my face - I have mega-sensitive skin and using water to wash off face cream brings me out in spots, so I wipe off the face cream with cotton pads or, if I'm in a hurry, use cleansing wipes. My bedroom bin is usually about 80% full of these items alone. I try to reuse them, perhaps to wipe excess cream off my hands when they've dried out or to wipe condensation off my window, but as they're covered in cream or some other cleansing product there's not many options to reuse or recycling. So, inspired by Chris's blog, I'm thinking up reusable alternatives. I might try using flannels, although they might be a bit rough and I'd need to remember to wash them often enough to make sure I didn't run out (a similar problem to that encountered by Chris with reusable nappies, only less icky!).
So in terms of environmental stuff, I'm sticking to my new year's resolution of learning more about the causes I support. But I'm still struggling when it comes to finding out more about ethical things - Fairtrade, the clothing industry etc. The problem is everything's so biased that I can't really compare like for like, might have to do more digging there.