To mark plastic free July we set ourselves a plastic challenge to see how much plastic we actually use on a day to day basis and whether it really is possible to live without it (or at least live with less of it).
The challenge was spread over 2 weeks. During week one we collected plastic and our target for week 2 was to reduce the amount collected by 50%.
Single use plastics can take up to a 1000 years to decompose and with millions of tons added to landfill daily it’s no surprise that it is having such detrimental effects on our planet.
David Attenborough’s BBC series Blue planet 2 highlighted the horrific realities that these plastics are having on marine life and our environment, with plastic waste dominating the most remote corners of the world.
During week one we collected a phenomenal amount of plastic, the result more shocking than we anticipated. Prior to the challenge we resigned ourselves to the fact that we would be inundated with food wrappers, milk cartons etc. We hadnâ€™t accounted for the plastic in mail, tablets and even sanitary products. It was an eye opener to the immense scale of this issue!
After all the plastic collected from week one we were ready to embrace the challenge in week two! Our motivation dwindled as it became apparent that we had not accounted for the plastic containers and packaging that was being carried over from the week previous, such as shower gels coming to an end and store cupboards essentials that were mummified in plastic.
The message was clear, going plastic free isnâ€™t something that you can just do in a week but requires preparation and changing our habits. We did however manage to reduce our intake by 50% by making some very subtle changes, here were some of our favourites, which were relatively, hassle free.
â€¢ Refilling water bottles
â€¢ Notes on mail delivery orders and switching to online banking
â€¢ Buying loose fruit and veg
â€¢ Preparing lunch and packing in reusable containers
â€¢ Taking reusable bags shopping
To have a realistic chance of reducing your plastic we have found that the key is not to try and everything at once, just enough to get started.
As a result of this challenge we have each done a plastic pledge where we change one thing.
If everybody makes one pledge imagine the impact that we could have!
Itâ€™s only one straw
Said 8 million people