Trying to Run Away From Plastic
June 2022: Thinking too much, Toronto CA
I am experiencing a personal conflict of interests - brought to the forefront by Plastic Free July. My way of working through issues is by writing them down and I'm doing so in a place where they will always be seen and not forgotten in a journal. If I can see the conflict laid out, it becomes easier to manage.
I enjoy analogue photography which involves the use of chemicals, plastics and paper products, and I love nature but don’t want to contribute to damaging the lives of my furred and winged pals. So I've been adding these, in addition to other (non-plastic) impact reduction behaviours:
- Using reusable beverage bottles, or if I'm without them for whatever reason, walking a few steps to the trash/recycle bin to dispose of my cup instead of tossing it on the lawn/parking lot (thought Toronto had an anti-littering bylaw).
- As snacks, I carry veggies/fruits/nuts as much as possible and not prepackaged goods. A bag of potato chips is a once-in-a-while indulgence; my attempt to make some produced charred flakes - maybe lower heat will work better.
- Spurn plastic bags (do fruits/veggies need to go into a plastic produce bag, then again placed in another plastic grocery bag?); if I get a plastic bag, for hygienic reasons, that bag is repurposed.
- Switching product brands to ones readily available in stores (boycotting stores for their insistence on plastic bag and styrofoam use) to avoid the anxiety caused by seeing excessive packing of delivered parcels.
Although, I can't find bulk film (less plastic option) in stores. In the next post, I'll recount the ordeal of getting one roll of film at a physical location.
Feels like I'm being squeezed between a rock and hard place.
Considering I like to vote with my money, I try to research manufactures before purchasing from them to ensure they are not major polluters and deal equitably with their employees/partners. But is this hypocritical? Since the analogue process involves chemicals (like many other industries) that need to be disposed into the sewer system, photographic paper and spoiled film that is discarded.
I'm not sure, but along with mitigating production waste - posted here - I have been/will be doing these:
- Using the least toxic chemicals.
- Not developing at home because there is no equipment to properly remove residual silver for the legal disposal of chemicals; I rather not invite danger by keeping mixed chemicals in storage containers for later transportation and cleaning.
- Planning to donate a portion from photo print sales to a conservation trust, to help offset the environmental impact of packaging and shipment of photographs.
Is this enough? How much accumulated waste is one person allowed to shed? I can only continue with finding more ways to responsibly consume and be placated with the fact that my production waste amounts to 20-30 paper prints and 2-4 film rolls per year, which may qualify for the silver recovery and recycling process.
wish I could live like the birds,