Plastic-free month difficult, not impossible for Thunder Bay family
'The hardest thing was toilet paper, because toilet paper usually comes in plastic'
The concept of living plastic-free for a month may sound daunting, but Matt Roy says it's possible.
Roy, along with his wife and young son challenged themselves to live plastic free for a month.
It meant that anything the family consumed could not contain plastic, or have plastic packaging.
"The goal was to not create any demand for new plastics to be produced. I have a two year old son, so it was OK for me in our rules to go to Value Village and get him plastic toys that were second hand, but not to go buy new ones and create that demand."
The concept came when Roy heard about microbeads and other plastics causing damage to fish and aquatic life, as the miniature plastics cannot be filtered by most municipal sewage systems.
"For an entire month, I just basically took pictures of anything I bought that had disposable plastic that I was bringing into the house."
Roy said after seeing how much plastic he was bringing into his home, he decided to take action.
"Honestly, it was easier than I thought once I set the habits in place."
Local businesses helpful
Roy said local retailers were very accommodating to his plastic-free month.
"So, for example, I used to buy bread in bags. So, now I have to go to Both Hands Bakery on Thursday or Saturday, or go to George's Market at the right time, or tell them I'm coming, in order to get bread."
Roy said one example of a retailer helping out his plastic-free month was the Bulk Zone, allowing him to use his own containers to buy bulk foods. Roy said some chain stores would only allow him to use their own disposable plastic bags.
Roy said the biggest challenge though, was something that is used by everybody, everyday.
"The hardest thing was toilet paper, because toilet paper usually comes in plastic."
Roy said he was able to source toilet paper wrapped in tissue, after going to local janitorial supply companies.
He said it after making some changes, he hopes to continue his plastic-free lifestyle.