I have made it my goal the past few years of my life, to try and live a green lifestyle. I have been moving towards this for many years, growing up with hippie parents who used to take me to second hand shops when I was a small child. I would trawl through the bric a brac looking for treasures. I remember I had a penchant for green glass. Thanks to a very old great Aunt and Uncle who had a magic cabinet and would give me a small china creature on every visit, I also developed a love of collecting. Sadly the only remaining item from this time is a lovely old wooden bear with a lightly damaged paw.
I do however, now have my own cabinet full of found and collected treasures, that give me great pleasure to look at and occasionally take out and hold. My sons also enjoy taking out special items and holding them in their small hands from time to time.
What this has evolved into over time, is a love of op shopping. Once looked down on as something only “poor” people had to do, vintage is now the in thing and many people frequent these places. Sadly this can mean in some cases the old op shop has gone and been replaced by a slick machine run by large charities who are essentially big businesses with price tags to match!
So here I am now, buying most of my own clothing from the large array of op shops we are lucky to have here in Adelaide. It just does not feel right to buy from the large department stores anymore…they seem like these sterile plastic environments, full of rubbish to me. I also find unique items, quality designer clothing that has been tossed aside for no known reason. I do occasionally buy something in a store if I am given a voucher as a gift but can not bring myself to buy anything that is not on special. Perhaps this is a throwback to my family migrant history. Perhaps it is part of my horror at the amount of waste we human beings create each and every day.
I also collect treasures when I see them and have been known to pick up a real bargain. I am waiting with bated breath for “Bargain Hunt” to come to Australia as I would totally rock at this! This includes toys for my children and last Christmas, that being the one we just had, I was able to buy all of their gifts from op shops, Ebay and garage sales. In fact I had a totally recycled Christmas and it was amazing. Not only did I find some interesting and beautiful gifts, but I saved a heap of money!
This brings me to the idea of “green healthcare”. As a person living with type 1 diabetes I create an amazing amount of rubbish! Every day I use countless numbers of blood glucose testing strips, little plastic strips that fall out of my monitor case and land all over the place. I am constantly sweeping and vacuuming the little suckers up! I then have little plastic canisters left every time which look so useful but are really quite useless.
Each time I change my Insulin Pump I leave 2 plastic packets, plastic tubing, syringes, needles and multiple little bits and pieces. Every time I finish a packet of tablets there are foil packs left behind. How much of this is recyclable?
I am guilty of not knowing. I do recycle any cardboard or paper from all of this mess, but what about the rest of it? And I am wondering how much medical waste there is in the world?
Are people thinking about how we can reduce this?
I am sure there are people, but at an individual level, are we thinking about it? Or just blindly throwing it all in the rubbish? As the great frog himself said “It isn’t easy being green”.