Heyyy there everyone!! How’s it going?
So I’m not sure if you all recall, but one of my goals for this year was to be more eco-friendly. The global climate crisis is growing exponentially because we’re taking so long to realise all the harm we’re causing and implement sustainable changes. I know how hopeless it can feel though when you want to make a change. You might think – what on earth would my small actions do to make any difference? Especially if governments and big companies don’t seem to be doing anything noteworthy to try and save the planet and the world’s wildlife. What’s the point in me trying?
Well, I think there is always a point in trying. What you’re doing may not make a difference you can physically see, but it is a difference nonetheless. One person making a difference is one more than zero, a hundred people doing small things to try to live more sustainably is more than one and if everyone just does a little to try and live more sustainably or eco-friendly, that creates a ripple effect that we’ll actually be able to see the effect of.
As I said, I’m making it a mission to become more environmentally friendly. The way I’m going to do this is by setting myself a challenge each month. Every month I’m going to try and tackle a different part of my life where I can live more sustainably or be more eco-friendly, and this month I’m pitching plastic! Now I know that in society’s current climate it can be challenging to make significant changes like this (it’s not like the rest of the world is necessarily helping out like all the plastic packaging in supermarkets, straws etc.). The big thing I really want to do with these challenges is to make them sustainable and practical to slot into daily life.
Why pitch plastic??
Plastic has become such an integral part of our lives that it’s hard to imagine life without it, even though it didn’t exist a hundred years ago. However, as useful as it is in certain aspects of life, it’s awful for our environment because it doesn’t decompose!
Almost half of the plastic we use as humans are single-use plastic, so it’s used just once and then thrown away. The problem with this is that it creates so much waste and a never-ending cycle. Because plastic doesn’t decompose (all it does is break down into smaller pieces of plastic) and can only be destroyed if it is actually incinerated, that means all this plastic we use and then throw away is probably still there. This ends up destroying the environment, killing thousands of animals (one in three fish caught apparently contain plastic), and worst off, we aren’t immune to plastic pollution either! Microplastics that get consumed by micro-organisms in the ocean end up in the eco-system and more often than not, we end up consuming them. So … plastic isn’t so great …
Pitching plastic out of our lifestyles is undoubtedly tricky because plastic is literally everywhere!! Also, making these changes can be difficult because we need to integrate them into our lives and turn them into a habit. So for this month, I’m going to try to ditch as much plastic as I can from my life by making swaps or getting rid of things entirely.
- Reusable water bottles and coffee cups. Instead of using countless plastic bottles buying water in shops, or getting a new, disposable coffee cup when you get your morning fix, having a reusable water bottle and coffee mug is a fantastic way to be more eco-friendly. However, the critical thing to do is remember them, because having it is one thing but actually using it is another. I love my stainless steel water bottle (I have two actually!) So I keep one in my room, and one in my bag (or, now that I’m home, in my car) and I haven’t had a chance to use my reusable coffee mug much except for long car drives, but I plan on keeping that in my bag too, or using it when I head out and then keeping it in my bag. Hopefully this habit sticks – one thing you can do to help make sure it sticks is to make a pledge to forgo buying your coffee or new water if you forget your reusable mug/bottle. You’ll only forget it once or twice when you really need it before you never forget it again.
- Get extra reusable bags. Thankfully, I do think that using reusable bags has gotten very popular. When I was at uni, almost everyone I knew had their reusable bags, and in South Africa, the one grocery store we go to doesn’t even sell plastic bags anymore, only cotton/reusable ones. However, sometimes we can forget them, or if you find yourself popping out for a small shop and just need one or two things, you don’t have your bags with you because you weren’t planning on buying much. So, my mission is to make sure I have extra reusable bags if something like this happens. I always make a point of putting my reusable bags straight back into my car (or at uni, I make dedicated shopping trips, so it’s difficult to forget them then). I’m also planning on putting an extra, folded up reusable bag or two in my handbag and backpack just so that I’m never caught off guard with the need to get a single-use plastic bag.
- No straws. Sometimes a drink does feel so much more satisfying through a straw, but plastic straws are absolutely awful for the environment. Sooo the easy swap is to either opt for no straw (which is not impossible) or to get one of those reusable ones. I know that a problem with reusable ones is remembering to take them, and then remembering them at the restaurant, but maybe you can keep one in your bag and leave the container on the table? Personally, I’m going for no straws at all, and because I’m still addicted to bubble tea, I’ve invested in two big stainless steel ones to use exclusively for bubble tea.
- Utilise what you have. Okay, so there are plastic items that you may not be able to avoid or have plastic bags from before you swapped to reusable ones. What I’m going to do here is try to utilise what I have. For instance, trying to use plastic bags I have for other things (for example, reusing them with shopping, or taking lunches in them etc.). You can recycle all the plastic items you can’t help using if recycling is available, but if not, you can upcycle them. I’ve used plastic food/drink containers to store things around the house, or make crafts. There are plenty of other options so at the beginning of this month I’m going to try a plastic audit, then do it again at the end of the month to see if there’s a difference.
- Soda stream. I love sparkling water, but sadly in the stores they come in plastic bottles, and plastic bottles are a big no-no. So, we have a soda stream at home, and I’m going to make a serious effort to use it (we’ve even introduced plastic tax in the family so if I do end up caving and buying sparkling water, I have to put money in the jar). It’s definitely a great investment long term if you’re a fan of bubbly water like me.
- Stop single-use. Lastly, there are lots of other single-use options that you can avoid. For instance, I’m going to make a point to bring my own bag for loose vegetables when I go grocery shopping, so I don’t use the plastic ones. Another thing is buying your toiletries in bulk. It may still be single-use, but buying huge bottles that you can use to fill up your small bottle at home does still reduce your plastic consumption. Another great thing that I’m doing is supporting eco-friendly companies for any single-use plastic I do use such as for shampoo and conditioner. I swapped to Function of Beauty for my hair and body products and what I love about them is that the packaging is 100% recyclable, it is all cruelty-free and eco-friendly, and soon they are launching another initiative to become more eco-friendly.
And so there you have it! This is my pledge to make February my pitch plastic month, and I will be sure to let you all know how it goes at the end of the month. I bought this really fantastic book to help me on this journey. It’s called the sustainable(ish) living guide by Jen Gale – I would highly recommend it if being more eco-friendly is something you really want to do but aren’t sure how to implement it into your life.
Lastly, are there any plastic-free swaps you’ve made that I haven’t mentioned? What do you think about my plastic-free Feb? I challenge all of you to try and join me in these challenges as I go through them this year, so let me know if you plan on joining me!
Other than that, that’s all I have for you guys today! Here’s to trying to live more sustainably and doing what we can to save the planet and our wildlife!!
Lots of love
Blondey on a Mission xxx