Tammy Logan is the author of Gippsland Unwrapped, a blog committed to the pursuit of plastic free living. Based in Gippsland, Victoria Tammy combines her experience in conservation biology and community engagement with her dairy farming roots, to deliver a humble and honest approach to plastic free family life. Tammy’s passion for plastic free living started with the Plastic Free July challenge and since then she has been a woman on a waste reduction mission who loves to share her findings with the World! She is proof that participating in a seemingly small education scheme can have a big impact on your personal empowerment towards sustainable living.
Have you ever had a moment in your life where everything changed? I had one of those moments when I discovered Plastic Free July, which is to refuse all single-use plastic for one month as a way of raising awareness about the amount of environmentally damaging plastic in our lives. I’d never heard of PFJ until the day I decided to do it, and I had no idea at the time that this decision would be so defining. But it was. Completing PFJ was exactly what I needed. My craving to do more for the environment was satisfied, and my goal to establish environmentalism as a family value was bolstered. Importantly for me, I could achieve these goals without financial investment, and without taking time away from my family. I simply learned to shop differently and make a few things myself. I finally realised I could do something about a problem that I had recognised for a very long time, but which I’d previously thought I couldn’t do anything about.
The PFJ experience was so empowering that I now live every day plastic free and I have redirected my career to pursue my passion, my blog Gippsland Unwrapped. I have changed the way others around me consume and I have connected with many other like-minded people from around the world. I am the perfect example of how committing to a month long educational challenge can have lasting and profound impacts. Of course, not everyone will have the same experience, but it is possible this could be you too, so why not give it go.
Three Tips for a successful Plastic Free July
- Once you have decided the parameters of your personal challenge, tell people what you are doing. It’ll be great to have their support but also, putting it in writing on your social media channels will increase your commitment and desire to succeed.
- List the plastic things you want to refuse, then in a second column ask yourself if you really need each item. If you do, identify a plastic free alternative for your next shopping trip. Some plastic free replacements might involve making it yourself or changing the way you shop. I found this exercise helped me focus and use my energy wisely.
- When it comes to changing behaviours, we can talk all we like about the benefits, but if you don’t identify the barriers to changing your behaviour and how you can remove them, you will continue to hit road blocks. For example, a barrier for refusing plastic shopping bags might be that you keep forgetting to bring reusable bags with you. Now that you have identified that, figure out some ways to make remembering them easier, like always keeping bags in the boot of your car or leaving yourself a note on your shopping list. You will know what works for you.