*Disclaimer: despite many re-writes I still feel there is a finger-wagging lecturey tone to this blog. Just a heads up that this isn't this case. This isn't meant to be one of those "I'm right, you're wrong - now do as I tell you" blogs, but the subject matter can come across this way. Rather, this is purely about OUR experiences about attempting to reduce the single use plastic in our lives. To put it simply, you do you, we'll do us. OK, as you were.
The sun has risen, bright and early. Clouds chase each other across the sky. The morning promises to be a hot one.
Steve and I grab our basket, produce bags and keep cups, pop the child into his trike and walk down the street to the markets. Breakfast and coffees are bought and eaten sitting in the shade while the little man alternates between stealing bites of our food and chasing dogs.
It's a fairly normal and enjoyable weekend for us, but an activity that still seems bizarre to people when we tell them about it.
It’s been four months since Plastic Free July finished, but Steve and I have found more than a few habits have stuck with us and we're consciously trying to live a more environmentally friendly life. Maybe it can be attributed to being parents and wanting to leave the world in a better way than we inherited it. Maybe it’s just because once we began to reduce single use plastic we found it was actually a lot easier than we thought it would be. Maybe it's simply habit.
Whatever the reason, on a daily basis habit sees keep cups thrown in our bags - sometimes accompanied by a flask of home-brewed coffee (frugal hedonism at its finest), along with reusable water bottles, cutlery and often produce bags.
However, as second nature as all this has become to us, I’m still finding that people raise their eyebrows when I mention both Steve and I try to avoid single use plastic.
“Wow, that must be really hard!” has been a frequent comment, or “You’re so good! I could never do that.” Or my personal favourite: “Do you really think that’s going to make a difference?”
I remember similar thoughts crossing my mind in the lead up to Plastic Free July : was this something that we could actually do? However, as Lauren Singer from Trash is for Tossers said – just start, just do something, and that's pretty sage advice to be honest.
Simply packing a keep cup in my bag each day was my start. Making my own skincare followed (which is actually simpler than it sounds. You can find recipes here or here, or make google your friend) , as did buying deodorant, shampoo and conditioner package-free, then getting reusable cotton rounds and produce bags, stainless steel straws... it all seemed to snowball.
However, for me it’s beyond trying to be “good”. I'm simply trying to make a difference, and if it makes someone think about their own impact on the planet then that’s a good thing. Finally, when I find my inspiration beginning to lag I check out The Rogue Ginger, Treading My Path, Trash is for Tossers, or I Quit Plastics and find that normally does the trick.
So, four months on what’s the take-away? For me it’s that some things are worth it. I may not be even close to living zero waste – or even single use plastic-free – but I've discovered life is a lot sweeter when you stick to your resolutions, and some things once seen can’t be unseen.
I asked Steve this too and his answer was along the lines of it's all about changing cultures. You change your own culture and you become more aware of your own personal choices in how you buy every day things. If you change just a small percentage of the plastic you consume you've done a good thing for the planet.
So now over to you - are you trying to live a more environmentally friendly life? What have your experiences been?