Learning to Live Sustainably
Single use plastic
Over the last few months I found myself noticing the amount of unnecessary plastic that was being used for food & product wrappings, and it very quickly began to wind me up. I always felt like I was pretty good at not using single use plastic. Over the last year I developed certain habits; always using a re-usable water bottle, taking a tote bag with me when shopping, choosing meals packaged in cardboard rather than plastic when on the go. But I definitely became a little complacent about it.
So, for Septembers challenge I have taken a little inspiration from the Sky Ocean Rescue project. Current research is showing that not only does the eight million tonnes worth of plastic – which ends up in the ocean each year – harm the local wildlife, but can also have a harmful effect on our health as well. If you head over to the Sky Ocean Rescue site (linked below) you can keep up to date with all of the current research that is taking place and being published regarding oceans, plastic and health.
I decided that for the first week I wouldn’t change any of my daily habits and see how much single use plastic I use over 7 days. Initially I thought I would maybe collect a few pieces of plastic from food which needed to be packaged somehow, perhaps for transport reasons, or freshness. I did not however, expect to end up with left over plastic from near enough every single item I ate. I suppose because at the start of each week I empty all of my fruit out of packaging and into a food bowl, or pastas and grains into jars, I forgot just how much of it was picked up in plastic wrapping.
Over the week…
I collected 24 pieces of packaging from food; 3 pieces from medicine/vitamins, 1 plastic bottle, 1 plastic bag.
I also calculated the food which I used, but didn’t ‘finish’ throughout the week, such as spreads which added up to 7 items with packaging.
Some of the foods/packaging were WAY too messy to keep in my house for a week, and so I kept tally of the ones I re-cycled straight away (think fresh beetroot!), which totalled up to 12 items.
I then added up the number of beauty products I use daily/weekly and over the 7 days, used 15 items.
All together, in one week, I was left with 63 items of single use plastic. And if i’m entirely honest, it was a pretty quiet week; I didn’t buy any ‘convenience’ food whilst out and about, I didn’t have any takeaway coffees, I didn’t really buy anything wrapped in cellophane like magazines or DVDs etc.
It’s safe to say, I was pretty disappointed in myself considering I always classed myself as someone who didn’t use a lot of plastic…oh how wrong I was.
And so, with all of this being said, it is now time to try and live the next week without using ANY single use plastic. I’m anticipating it may take a little longer when shopping, having to go to local greengrocers, rather than one big convenience store. I may not be able to get the produce I normally pick up each week, and if I forget my water bottle one day – that’s it! I’m going thirsty!
Let me know if there is any one thing you notice within your daily/weekly lifestyle which you could try and cut down on, and be sure to check out Sky Ocean Rescue as it is FULL of helpful tips and important research!