I'm a PhD researcher, at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel, funded by the Research Foundation Flanders, doing in a trans-disciplinary research at the intersection of biological adaptability of mycelium composites, structural lightweight design and digital manufacturing technologies.
I gave myself the challenge to avoid all kind of plastic packaging on the products I buy. Therefore no tomatoes in plastic bags, no cookies, snacks or chocolate packed in boxes with triple layers, no frozen pizzas wrapped in plastic followed by cardboard followed by plastic.
The idea stems from my already strong engagement into buying organic food as well as my vegetarian – leaning toward vegan – kind of diet. I have come to realize that every time again I came home from the groceries, I bring plenty of products packed in multiple plastic layers which unfortunately goes straight into the bin. One can reckon how fast the "other waste" bin gets full compared to the one devoted to paper and cans. Simple, I no longer want to support the extremely reduced lifespan of plastic bags, labels or packaging.
I'm doing this for my own consciousness and entertainment. I'm green but not extremists trying to moralize everyone around me or detach from the Western lifestyle in a secluded forest. My goal is not to make the economy crash with this project, nor will recycling tomato bags save the world.
I just want to probe a series of options to reduce my footprint in the context of a modern city, namely Brussels in Belgium. I then wish to communicate my solutions and alternatives that can reduce the impact on the planet with simple and daily choices.
Trying to be a responsible consumer entails so many choices and a lot of research. Taking something on a shelf in a given commercial space subsequently raises the following questions : How was the product made? What is the product made of? Possibly, what were the living conditions of the workers? What is the packaging like? Was it fairly traded? Organically grown? Ethically sourced? Locally grown?
Of course we cannot always get clear answers but we nonetheless try to apply these filters as much as possible. Today it means that my cutoff is pretty high and oddly enough, I don't spend much more money doing so. In fact, buying organic products whole, nears the kilo price tag of conventional food in your regular supermarket. Look at lentils, rice, beans, biscuits, etc… and their kilo price tag, you'll be surprised!
At the end of the day it feels good to know you are caring for your ecological footprint and that, on an increasingly finite environment, you leave a smaller footprint.