Thanks for joining me!
So, I’d made a decision to significantly reduce my plastic footprint, with the eventual aim of sending nothing at all to landfill sites; or going zero waste. Where should I start? After all, this wasn’t going to be an easy task. As I looked around the supermarkets, shops, cafes and restaurants that I used on a regular basis, I became more and more aware of this problem. I began to see plastic packaging everywhere; on dairy and meat products, fruit and vegetables, microwave meals, cleaning products, pet food, drinks…the list goes on.
I began looking for ideas. I wanted to hear about how other people had started to tackle this problem. I knew it wasn’t going to be easy, but having been made aware of the global impact it was having on our oceans, food chain, and environment generally, I was in it for the long haul. I decided to start by taking some small steps towards my goal, and to build on them gradually. I started by making 5 small changes. Those changes were:
1. Buying fruit and vegetables loose
Having had a good look around the fresh fruit and vegetables section of my local supermarket, I found that although a lot of the produce was wrapped in plastic, there were also a number of items that could be bought loose. So I started buying my fruit and vegetables individually. After all, did I really need a plastic bag to put my bananas in, only to discard it when I got home? It was such a waste.
2. Using reusable, eco friendly bags for shopping
This was something I’d already been doing for a while. After all, the 5p charge for a plastic bag had already been with us for some time. However, I hadn’t always taken bags with me for shopping, and it was all too easy to buy one at the supermarket. I started to get more organised. I made sure I always carried a foldable, eco friendly shopping bag with me in my handbag for any impromptu shopping. I put several shopping bags in the boot of my car, so that I always had some with me. This was such an easy change to make.
3. Refusing plastic straws
I was astounded to find out that we consume millions of plastic straws daily. What was even worse was that a large majority of them just got discarded, and would be very likely to end up in our oceans. Most types of plastics are not biodegradable, meaning that they would be around for centuries. Millions of straws floating in our oceans for hundreds of years after being used just once? This is senseless. So whenever I went into a cafe, bar or restaurant I made sure that I asked for my drink without a straw. It wasn’t necessary anyway.
4. Taking travel mugs with me
I already had 2 or 3 bamboo travel mugs. I started to carry them with me when out and about, especially when I was travelling to different locations for work. I found that most cafes were happy to fill my mug rather than use their single use ones. It felt good to know I wasn’t contributing to the endless amount of plastic cups that ended up in landfill after being used just once.
5. Starting to use compost bins and food waste bins
I didn’t have a compost bin, however, I knew several people locally that did. Since they were happy for me to use their compost bins, I started to buy compostable bags for food waste. So instead of sending food scraps such as potato peelings and banana skins to landfill, they went in the compost bin. Whenever I visited any of these local friends and family, I’d take the compost bin with me.
Since my local council also provided a food waste collection service, I began using this too. I recently found out that teabags contained plastic, and therefore aren’t compostable at home. Since they are through the council food waste collection service, I used this instead.
These were simple changes to make, and were really easy to do. I’m glad I made these choices.