This month is Plastic Free July so if you’re game to play, here’s 4 plastics you need to get rid of. As librarians we have a duty not only to save the planet but to help our clients too. In this game you get to do both. Here’s what to start throwing out:
- Shampoo bottles: If you’re working in client service you probably go through a lot of shampoo. We need to look our best, right? That includes clean, shiny hair (albeit in a bun). But if you’re still using plastic shampoo bottles you’re contributing to more than 850 million metric tons of greenhouse gases emitted by plastic production and incineration in a typical year like 2019, according to Martin Dorey in his book, No More Rubbish Excuses. The solution? Switch to a shampoo bar. They even have options for dyed and oily hair too.
2. Deodorant sticks: Yes, working with the public you also have to smell nice but that’s no excuse for killing the earth. According to WWF Australia 130 000 tonnes of plastic ends up in our waterways or in the ocean each year. Don’t enable this! You can get refillable deodorant cases or use deodorant that comes in biodegradable packaging. Smell good and help the planet.
3. Plastic shopping bags (including for fruit and vegetables): You know how you’re always running into clients at the supermarket? Set a good example and don’t be caught using plastic bags when you do. Keep reusable bags in your everyday bag and if you get stuck or can’t afford fancy produce bags use the paper bags they keep for mushrooms to put your vegetables in. No one wants their clients to think they don’t care about the environment. And you never know, you might inspire some change in them too.
4. Soft plastics: If your library workroom is anything like most, it’s littered with boxes of individually wrapped chocolates and half-eaten biscuit packets. These wrappings often constitute soft plastics and the good news is that they’re recyclable! If your library doesn’t already have a staff bin for recycling soft plastics (mine does) then, according to Planet Ark, you can take them to any number of RedCycle bins at Woolworths or Coles.
So that’s the game. Get rid of these 4 plastics from your life and you become a Super Save the Planet Librarian. Nice job title, right?
By Anne Reddacliff, ALIA Sustainable Libraries Group committee member