Almost two years into my journey in plastic use re-education and reduction – I thought it may be good to take stock of my progress so far. If you missed the beginning of the journey feel free to go back to the start with Plastic, Plastic – pt 2. The Problem and Plastic – pt 3. Solutions.
Embarking on this honest reflection part of me is thinking, “what’s the point because I’ve done barely anything compared to peeps who take this seriously and change their whole lives and stick to the tough choices for the long term benefits”?! But then I remind myself that I have changed and we all need to do what we can in increments that are workable for our individual lives… or in Anne Marie Bonneau’s (Zero Waste Chef) words:
“We don’t need a handful of people doing zero waste perfectly. We need millions of people doing it imperfectly.”
So I’ll start with the imperfect…
Things I suck at:
- Remembering to take a bag with me shopping. Got to the check out many a time and been like oh crap I forgot my ten reusable bags I bought the last 10 times I forgot my reusable bag. And I have ended up buying a cheap plastic one on quite a few occasions. I know shock horror!
- Taking my reusable cup everywhere with me. So instead I give into the desire to buy takeaway plastic cup coffee on all my outings.
- Grocery shopping in five different shops so I can get all my groceries loose/ packaging free and settling for one shop with majority plastic packaged items.
- Buying loose leaf tea as it makes much more mess and takes longer to wash / tidy up after. Not to mention is expensive!
The list could go on but you get my point. We use plastic so much because it is affordable and easy. And making other healthy and environmentally better choices are expensive and hard work. I have found the real positive changes have come in areas where the “choosing something other than plastic” is fun, easy and enjoyable!
Things I enjoy:
- Making myself a drink before I leave the house. I use my reusable cups most when I make myself a coffee, tea or smoothie on my way out in the morning. In practice I much prefer the way I make tea at home than buying it out and drinking out of a paper / plastic cup is not a tasty experience if we are honest with our tongues.
- Buying fancy toiletries. I love Lush and have really enjoyed converting to their package free shampoos and facial products. For peeps like me with sensitive skin I highly recommend their Trichomainia (coconut shampoo bar), Sleepy Face (solid cleanser) and Angels on Bare Skin (a calming exfoliator which comes in a pot but they reuse their pots if you take them back). I also found a great local soap maker Caurnie who sells their soap unpackaged at another great local find Locavore.
- Loose leaf tea. It’s a treat when I can afford it and can be bothered washing up after!
- Having a huge water bottle that is filled with free tasty Scottish water! Now I realise this option may not be available to everyone but I am fortunate to have great tasting tap water and save loads of money and plastic by drinking it in my reusable water bottle everyday.
- Grocery shopping based on what seasonal loose fruit and veg is available in the shop. I am not a meal planner and enjoy the challenge and variety of making something with what I have in the fridge. So I don’t mind changing what I buy from week to week based on what’s not covered in plastic in the shops.
- Products by Who gives a crap and Ecoegg. Now these are a few I am really excited about! I mentioned Who gives a crap toilet paper in my other blog and still love getting it delivered in its colourful, amusing and plastic free form. It is recycled paper produced by an ethical company that works on a subscription basis. Low mental load and high environmental gain.
- I switched to washing my laundry with an ecoegg over a year ago and have no regrets! It washes great and smells great. It also ticks those infamous boxes we find so challenging in making these changes – it is cheap! and EASY! I know this sounds like an advert and it is… but no one is paying me to say these things or use their products. I just think that there are enough difficult things we have to do in life so when I find things that make life funner and easier I like to share 😉
Things I plan to do over the next year:
- Subscribe to local veg box.
- Buy tissues in big cardboard boxes and decant into fabric pouch that I can put in my bag instead of using mini plastic tissue packs.
- Buy big can of olive oil and decant into glass bottle. Both container materials being recyclable. (Technically I’ve already been enjoying these benefits as this is what my flatmate does and I use her olive oil)
- Research alternative dental hygiene and sanitary product options.
- Have a go at make my own cleaning products in reusable glass bottles (first attempt will be a anti-mould spray which I am hoping will work wonders). This is not only great in reducing plastic use but also great in reducing the amount of harsh toxic chemicals we use.
- Take my reusable cup and bags with me places and use them! Revolutionary I know.
Suffice to say that having started out this review feeling somewhat sceptical of my own progress I am now buzzing!! I feel like I have made some great changes which I love and enjoy everyday. I am encouraged that there are increasingly more options out there to make better choices and in cheaper easier ways. I feel empowered to keep on trying, one thing at a time, to make my own life and our planets life fuller, lighter and purer. Hope you are inspired too!