1. What form of challenge did you do for Plastic Free July?
I’ve been conscious for some time of how much plastic I use in my daily life so I decided to cut out all single-use plastics, including: plastic cutlery, cups and plates; styrofoam cups and plates; disposable coffee cups and their lids; straws; disposable plastic packaging (for example, choosing loose fruit, veg and nuts rather than the packaged kinds and, if I bought processed foods, opting for those in cardboard or paper packets); plastic bags; plastic bottles. I pretty much avoided all of your “top four” plastic items — and then some. After all, Plastic Free July is a challenge! I did not, however, have a 100 per cent success rate … but I definitely cleaned up some of my habits. I’ve also been much better at avoiding plastics since July, which is important.
2. Tell us one important change you made.
Well, I go through phases where I get a takeaway coffee a day and, even though I generally bring my own travel mug, I used to forget. And still get a takeaway coffee. During Plastic Free July, I took to keeping my travel mug in my handbag and was actually given a second one — woohoo! — so I kept that in my gym bag. This way, I had a mug on hand when I decided to get a coffee. It’s such an incredibly simple thing to do but it really helped to nix the coffee cups. I did the same thing with my reusable shopping bag and that helped me avoid plastic bags.
3. What was the hardest plastic to avoid?
Packaging, without a doubt. I don’t buy much processed food but even “wholefoods”, like nuts, often come in plastic bags. It’s pretty crazy how much plastic packaging is out there. There’s a little sushi shop near where I work and each and every sushi roll is wrapped in plastic — so much waste! That’s why it’s great to have groups like you guys doing awareness-raising events like this — we all need to start thinking about how to cut down on our resource consumption.
4. How did other people react to you going plastic-free?
They thought it was awesome! At the same time, though, most people said things like, “Wow, I could never give up using plastic – it’s everywhere! I’d forget!” And so I did a fair bit of talking during the month, just trying to spread some awareness about how much plastic we use in our daily lives and how easy it is to give it up. It’s just about making conscious choices, after all.