It’s confession time. We are all addicted to plastic. Like all addictions it’s crept up on us. Whatever happened to milk bottles, paper bags and using jam jars to store stuff? These days nearly everything we eat, wear or use comes in at least one layer of plastic.
Plastics are not the enemy
Filmmakers are nice people, and here at Greenkit protecting the environment is at the heart of what we do. But it’s a work in progress and plastic is a great material if we use it properly. Strong, waterproof, reusable – lots of plastic products from insulation to hip replacements have made our lives infinitely easier. It preserves food, keeps us warm, and components in modern cars make them lighter and therefore more fuel efficient than they used to be. Ocean pollution and plastic dumping in the harbours of Indonesia and Malaysia have been highlighted recently, but this problem isn’t new. The Plastic Gyre in the North Pacific was identified as long ago as 1988. It’s just that now we have to face up to what we’ve done.
So how do we detox from plastic?
It’s not going to be quick, or easy and it would be idiotic to completely ditch a material that’s so useful even if that were possible. But as ever, like brushing your teeth or eating your greens, the right way is the dullest. We all know the three R’s, we need to learn to apply them, and in the right order.
Step 1: Reduce plastic
We all need to use less plastic, which is easier said than done. Here at Greenkit that means we’ve swapped to paper wrapped bamboo toilet paper from the fantastically named Who Gives a Crap. And while we’re in the loo, what’s wrong with actual soap, in a bar, by the sink? We love Friendly soaps, lovely scents, great name and no palm oil, so good for orangutans too!
Our Epson printer has refillable ink tanks, saving us ££ a year in plastic cartridges. We use washing up cloths and brushes like our grannies used to #grannyknowsbest not disposable sponges. Next time you pick up kit, ask us for one of our smart new Greenkit metal water bottles, now making an appearance on our Facebook page.
We’re constantly looking for plastic free solutions to lighting problems, and we’ll soon be posting some ideas of how you can reduce your use of poly on set. In the meantime there’s our biopoly, which is made from plant waste not fossil fuel, and has a much lower carbon footprint than traditional poly.
Step 2; Reuse plastic
We are fanatical here about packed lunches and personally I’m a big fan of the compartmentalised lunchbox that keeps your salad from going soggy. There are some gorgeous cool metal ones out there, but we’re not going to throw away a perfectly good plastic box because of lunchbox envy . See what we did there? Not to blow our own trumpet, Greenkit had reusable coffee cups before they were cool. If you don’t have yours yet, get in quick.
If you do order filter from us, it will come in a sealed bag which, until we use up our existing stock, is made of traditional plastic. You will notice that the bag is quite a bit bigger than the roll, that’s so that we can reuse the bag once you’ve opened it.
Step 3: Recycle
This is the hardest option as recent Indonesian plastic piles indicate, but it’s the one we often focus on. Most plastics can be recycled but unlike glass, aluminium or paper it is very rarely made back into its original form for reuse. Plastic is more likely to be melted and reformed into panels making furniture, or even fleece and in their turn, these things break down into microplastics that continue to clog our waterways and the digestive systems of animals, including us. So plastic that can be recycled is better than not, but think first if you can reuse what you’ve got, or avoid buying a plastic product in the first place!
Step 4: Reform!
We’re not perfect, and neither are you. We all have to choose plastic sometimes until big business and government catches up with us. But campaigns like #oneplasticfreeday and organisations like the Ellen Macarthur Foundation, that promote a circular economy are ready to help us shake our addiction. Now altogether now, ‘We are Greenkit, and we are plastic addicts!’