Pens

So this is a weird topic, but I found myself thinking about pens this morning. Seems niche, but I realised I’ve never used up a whole pen: and then when you use it up, there’s still left over plastic.

I’ve never really thought about pens before. Where they come from, where they go, why are they so disposable?

I got given 2 pens for christmas – just the standard uniball needle fine point kind of pen. Nothing too fancy and loads of plastic. But I decided to make a committed effort to not buying any new pens until I use up these 2.

It’s weird to suddenly be so conscious of pens when I never have been before. Suddenly fountain pens are looking super interesting to me.

Something like this or even the real old fashion types are looking like something I might invest in eventually. Once I use up my current ones and any others that may be floating round the house.

Why buy new cheap plastic pens constantly when I could have 1 pen that I treat with respect, look after and keep for a long time? Why did pens become a disposable crappy item when writing and ink were such privileges for so long?

I bet after the initial investment it works out cheaper too.

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What next?

So I mentioned a while back that I read The Rogue Ginger quite a bit. I’m treading a path she (and many others online) have already broken in. I’m currently at a weird point as I’ve almost done all the first step suggestions made by people online.

  1. Take away coffee: well I don’t drink it and if I get a tea out, I take my cup with me or drink in house. From now on, I’ll only order tea if it’s loose leaf due to the plastic in teabags and I’ll make sure to ask first. Generally, I don’t order tea out as I find it quite expensive for something that is so cheap to buy.
  2. Saying no to straws: I have a metal straw, but I don’t tend to use it because I don’t care or don’t really need it. It’s a rare situation when I feel the need, so I no longer get straws out and always ask for drinks without them in bars
  3. food packaging: Pretty much down to nothing here too. Besides cheese, bread and a few other things, I’m done with that.
  4. Take my own bag: I always do this and have done so for the last 5 years or so
  5. No bottled water: I have a number of refillable water bottles: one at work, one at home and a spare that tends to sit in my car for car rides. I no longer buy bottled water or soft drink and seem to be well on way for kicking my coca cola habit

So besides the food packaging I’m well on the way to being done with no more plastic being in my life. It’s the next part that’s less clear and more vague about what to do and where to travel with it.

Plastic is everywhere. It’s in everything – the horror I felt when I read about the teabags was intense, but now I have to begin to work out my own way to do things. As things begin to run out, I’ll find another way to replace them or change them. The main guide points I’m already done with, so now we’re entering the big leagues – especially when I finish the food waste segment…

Start today

So today I made a concerted effort to bring in my loose leaf tea to work. A coworker has a couple of tea pots in the office and said she was happy for me to use them and to leave my tea in her desk (next to the kettle so I don’t have to carry stuff upstairs with me).

I used the T2 tea French Earl Grey which comes in a tin of loose leaf… But the problem? When I bought the tea to ensure ‘freshness’ it was wrapped in plastic inside the tin. I bought this tea last year (well over 6 months ago tbh) and I can’t taste any difference since it’s been open so long.

Clearly this is super frustrating as I would love to just refill my specific earl grey tin with their tea, but I can’t (especially since I would like it to match the label on the tin!). So once I finish it I will be stocking up at my local bulk bin place with their tea instead.

So I still am using up the last of my tea bags, but I decided to start today anyway. Building the habits takes time, so I’m hoping this will help ease the process.

P.S. It’s bloody hot in Melbourne. Probs too hot for tea tbh.

When to buy vs when not to buy

So the whole point of this year is to not necessarily not buy anything ever,  but to consciously think about and decide what I need in my life. What don’t I need. What is extraneous and what is holding me back from succeeding and meeting my goals.

Besides 1 plastic beer cup and 2 plastic water bottles (one of them I had to have at the blood bank) I actually have not bought more drinks that come in disposable containers in a week. I’m down from 1-2 per day. I’m a week off coca cola and feeling ok – like I’ve kicked the worst of it by now. 1 beer, 1 sports drink, 1 water. Otherwise it’s just been tea and water and drinking up my supply of soda water – my Mum bought some at Christmas and I’ve still been going on it.

And now I’m thinking about alternatives to plastic and how to keep my lifestyle. I was thinking about floss with a friend and she suggested buying a water pick. After doing some research, I can’t seem to find anything that categorically states that water picks are better for your health over floss. An alternative to floss might simply be cotton string (once I run out of my current floss supplies). Once I use it I can simply place it in my compost.

I also want to buy more containers for my nutribullet. I like food prep and to work out all the ingredients for 5 smoothies in a row and then blast them each morning would be a huge time saver and would avoid me being lazy, buuuuuut then more plastic. I do bloody love my nutribullet though. It is such a great device and you can continue to get parts on older models which is nice too. So do I buy them, or leave it? I can’t buy glass containers for it (I checked) so now I’m not sure what to do to fix the issue… Hmmmm

 

First decision to make – razors

So my friends would consider me a feminist. I consider myself an ardent one at that. Late last year I stopped shaving my underarms for a number of reasons and have found it incredibly empowering with the added benefits of no longer having a constant an incessant rash irritating me and also useful for grossing out old boring men on public transport, but I still shave my legs. I hate the feel of the prickle on my leg and it’s only been since Thursday (now Monday) since I last shaved, but it’s driving me nuts with irritation. I also have very dark leg hair and shaving makes me feel more comfortable in myself. I’ve come a long way with not shaving my arm pits, but not shaving my legs is not for me. Or at least not yet.

Like most women and men I know I use disposable razors. I would go through at least 12 a year (one a month is generous I guess) and they all end up in landfill. They are not recyclable. I previously used to buy the ones with replaceable heads (still plastic) and then change them out, but found the blades were more expensive than just the standard BIC style razor – especially since the body of the razor would often break regardless of replaceable heads. So then I was buying both products repeatedly per year. Shithouse. More waste in landfill and more stupid plastic bought.

So I have 3 options: wax, shave, or get the hair removed via laser processes. Laser is waaay out of my price range so that leaves me with wax and shave. Wax is less pricey, but I can’t do it myself and don’t wish to spend upwards of $50 per month on hair removal if I can save that instead. So that leaves me with old style razors like my Grandpa used to use.

I’ve been doing a lot of reading at Wicked Edge on reddit. They provide FAQs and many ideas for finding a razor and plan that will work for you. They also provide hints and tips for women – which considering we have a lot more area to shave with tricky angles seems wise to me.

The best part? The blades can be recycled! You just store them in a safe little container until you fill it (based on the size of the blades potentially filling it would take a year or more) and then you can drop it off! Easy! Whilst it’s not zero waste, it’s a significant improvement and one that’s easy to maintain and not too much of a change from my current lifestyle.

I’m going to invest in some products soon from the suggested kit from wicked edge and then I’ll report back with my findings and how I’ve found the process.