My Hopes for Plastic Free July - The Good and the Bad

Note: I know we are already more than halfway through July when I posted this but I still wanted to get it up for anyone wanting to know my thoughts for next year!

Its that time of year when we can spread the word about becoming plastic free and challenge everyone else to give it a go! To let everyone else try it for themselves and see that it isn't nearly as hard as it sounds! But is it? 

To me, it really depends on two things: where you live and how much dedication you can put into it.

I've been moving towards a plastic-free life for two years now and while we have reduced our waste and plastic by about 70%, we still seem unable to reduce that last 30%! Gurrrr...

What are we still stuck on I hear you ask?

  1. We foster Guinea pigs for the RSPCA. The perfect vegan pets for busy people, but unfortunately they need fresh salad every day! My goal this July is to get my Veg garden truly up and running so we can feed our piggies plastic free!
  2. Online deliveries - Most of our online deliveries (apart from food) come in those awful plastic jiffy bags, so my goal is to try to go to local shops more to buy what I need, and if I can't then ask for every order to be in paper envelopes as much as possible. Does anyone know of how else we could avoid plastic bag deliveries?
  3. Junk mail - I've signed up to all the mailing lists to stop junk mail and even put up a sign on the door, and still we get all kinds of junk mail. The worst? Plastic charity bags! Still figuring this out... Any suggestions?

Don't get me wrong, 70% is a massive saving and if everyone could save just 50% of their waste every month, the planet would be a lot better off!

So why can't I tell you that its an easy change to make and that where you live can make it easier or harder for you to go green? 

Three reasons:




Convenience has made getting food or products easier and quicker than ever and for anyone who has read the book No Impact Man, know's that while convenience is meant to give us more time to do what we want in our busy lives, it actually just gives us more time to be busy. Which is why when, in our busy, busy lives, we are given the choice between some slightly inconvenient but green product over a none green (and often cheaper version) it makes our lives harder... Becuase the busy-ness doesn't go away until we choose to make room for a few inconveniences in our lives to save the planet and something that can help with that is where you live! if you live in London, Cornwall or Devon, lucky you! You have Englands first bulk plastic free stores on your doorstep! Otherwise, like me up north, we have to rely on Amazon and online bulk orders which take a few days to come, making shopping a little less convenient than popping to the corner shop when you are out of milk.

Advertisers are paid a lot of money to make posters, video's, banners, etc that very very hard for you to say no to. They place them in spots to catch you at your weakest and bombard you with colourful tempting images to wear you down. That super creamy coffee, with extra vanilla flavourings and all the toppings at 7am on your way to work, may look glorious at the time and you may even really deserve it after the week you've had! But with it comes a whole load of decisions that could catch you out this July. Did you remember your reusable coffee cup? Are you trying to reduce your dairy and do they have an alternative with that super special coffee? And if the company say they are reducing their waste, are they really? or are they just Greenwashing? All this to think about but you really just want the damn coffee! With all that advertising drawing you in, you are more likely to make a snap decision and get the plastic cup, the cows milk and look away from all the plastic being used behind the counter. But don't be hard on yourself, it is literally a mind game and all we can do is be strong and remember our reusable cup tomorrow.

And finally the energy it costs you to both make good decisions and plan ahead for them is sometimes hard to find. When you are faced with a missing ingredient for a dinner you are making, you need to think about how to replace it or where you can get it plastic free; If you really want that coffee with all the toppings, but forgot your reusable cup, it takes effort to turn away from that advertising; and when a company you are used to using is not as green as you'd like, it takes effort to work your way through the blogs and websites to find something just as good for you.

So what can you do?

Find your reason for doing all of this, and make it good.

Whether it be a poor turtle struggling to breathe with a plastic straw stuck up its nose, the video of the vast amounts of rubbish washing up on our coastlines, the new Blue Planet 2 documentary which begs us to save our oceans from toxic waste or something even more personal; make sure your reason for ditching plastic this summer is good enough to walk away from plastic ridden temptations and feel great doing it.

What is your reason for ditching plastic this summer? And is there any plastic in your life that you are stuck trying to get rid of?