Plastic. Waste. Excess. Where do we start? Where do we stop? How will a ban on single use plastics change our lives? Living, as most of us do, in the bubble of our lives, in privileged, green, spacious, abundant Canada, it is hard to imagine that dire predictions about the fate of human life on earth as we know it could come to pass. Global political action and cooperation is required. Yes. But that usually starts with many acts of local impetus, occurring globally. So where do we find our part?
At Peches & Poivre, when we opened the shop in 2012, we made a conscious decision to use biodegradable ‘plasticy’ bags, even though they cost us a little more, than the plastic poly bags. Now, as nice as this may sound, I see a couple of problems: 1) Biodegradable bags are typically made from corn or potato starch; these crops, in turn, are heavy agricultural ‘feeders’ generally requiring large amounts of pesticides and fertilizers – not so good, eh? and 2) in order to biodegrade, these bags should be composted (after as many uses as possible, of course), rather than buried in landfill where they will not be able to biodegrade. Would you put a lime green or red, or blue or yellow ‘plastic-looking’ bag in your compost? Ideally, it could even be left out in the open and it would self-destruct in short order. But this looks like litter, and although perhaps ‘better’ for the environment, colourful bags floating around the urban streets and pastoral countryside would look worse – bad optics.
Another thing we have done for the now almost 8 years we have run Peches & Poivre, is to reuse the paper packaging that many of the incoming goods come wrapped in. Again, not as pretty as tissue, but at least the paper sees at least one more use before, hopefully, being recycled. We also take back glass jars that Shamrock Gardens (of Almonte) products come in – Jeff and Meghan of Shamrock Gardens are keen to reuse them and will pick them up at our shop. So please bring them, or any similar 250 ml glass jars, back to us.
So, Lise and I thought about what other changes we, personally and, as a small business, can and will make to help towards reducing our negative impact on the environment. We also reviewed what we already offer in the shop in keeping with this theme.
In an effort to keep up with the prevailing thoughts on what is best, we have decided to take several approaches. We will:
- encourage clients to bring their own bag or basket or box to carry their purchases home
- gradually switch from using biodegradable ‘plasticy’ bags to recycled paper bags
- sell lovely special edition cotton totes at the bargain price of $5.- each! (value $16.-) while quantities last
- give discounts on all other in-store cotton/canvas totes and nylon ‘shoppers’ on a sliding scale (with exception of Ulster ‘handbags’) (spend $20 – $30 get 10% off, spend $30 – $60 get 20% off, spend more than $60 and get 35% off totes and shoppers)
- for the month of OCTOBER get 15% off all items that reduce single use plastic and waste, for example: stainless steel and silicone straws, baking dish covers, nifty beeswrap, Swedish dishcloths, groovy stainless steel water bottles, fabulous lunch containers, thermoses, fun and cheery reusable lunch and snack bags (BPA and phthalate-free), produce bags, miraculous Jude’s miracle cloths, glass storage containers, the super-cool stojo collapsible travel cups, cloth napkins…
- run our ‘Do What We Can Contest’ whereby if you bring your own bag/container for your purchases or buy any tote bag, you can enter to win a tote full of items that help to reduce using single use plastics and waste (value more than $100.-)
So please drop in to Peches & Poivre in October and take advantage of our specials, a great time to stock up on ‘environmentally friendly’ Christmas gifts, and, enter our Do What We Can contest to win 100 dollars worth of great goodies. And remember, bring your tote!
I guess it’s just what wee little people can do and so we do.