At the start of this year, like practically everybody else on the planet, Skippy and I drew up a list of New Years’ Resolutions. Some (stop biting nails) were for me, others (listen to better music) were for him, and one was for both of us: to use less plastic.
We resolved to make this the resolution that we would keep (inevitably, my nails remained stubby and I still have to listen to Spotify’s “Chilled winter sounds” mix on a daily basis). Of course, we’re not perfect- but we’re only human and we’re trying our best*.
We started by”
- Only using paper bags instead of the plastic ones on offer when shopping for fruit and vegetables.
- Not buying ice-lollies and making our own instead.
- Making our own bread and yoghurt and not buying it.
- Buying products in glass or cardboard containers instead of plastic.
Then, a walk along the beach, during which we collected all of the rubbish in the above photos, made us realize that the “easy” changes we’d made weren’t enough- we needed to do more. We needed to start making the changes that would inconvenience us to start with but, one day would become as natural to us as packing our reusable shopping bags.
Once again, we reviewed our lifestyle and looked for areas in which we could reduce, reuse and recycle:
- Baking more: I have a sweet tooth and Skippy has the metabolism of a Formula 1 car. Consequently (and I’m not proud of it) we get through a lot of biscuits. Previously, this meant buying biscuits that come in a lot of soft plastic packaging, whereas the ingredients to make biscuits nearly all come in paper or foil packaging. So, we’ve started baking them at home. We’ve now nailed our routine and, every Sunday, I make a big batch of biscuits to last the week.
- Buy eco-friendly: We discovered Flora and Fauna and used it to order all the things that it’s hard to find sustainable versions of- toothbrushes, razors, dog-poo bags etc. Every single plastic toothbrush ever produced is still on this planet, but changing to a wooden one is an easy, effective step to take. They’re even available in some supermarkets.
- Wrap sensibly: Soft plastics like cling film are difficult to recycle but easy to avoid using. When we need to store food, we use tin-foil (which we try reuse if it hasn’t got anything on it) or put it in the fridge in a bowl with a plate over it.
- Shopping consciously: By far the hardest thing to do has been to shop consciously, particularly when it comes to buying our fruit and veg from a local vendor as opposed to the supermarket.
We still have a long way to go on all of these, and others to try to introduce. But the main thing and the reason why I’ve written this post is that we’re two normal people; we don’t have a lot of money to spend on expensive ‘eco-friendly’ products spun out of organic angel tears, nor have we made any drastic, sweeping changes to our lives (or it certainly doesn’t feel that way). We’ve made the changes we can make and are working to find others to add to these… if anyone has any ideas, I’d love to hear from you!