A Plastic-free lent!

I’ve recently given up plastic for lent! Why? Well its all good researching into the many problems of plastic pollution and going out picking up litter from beaches,  however for me, I have to start by changing my own behaviour towards consumption of single use plastic. Quite simply, how can I not?

Read more about my motivation for giving up single use plastic here: How can I not?

Update, November 2020: It’s been 5 years since I first gave up plastic for lent in the first time in 2015, and again in 2017. Since then a lot has changed. The problem of marine litter is still ubiquitous across the globe. However, there is a lot more research and awareness of the issues – the sources of plastic litter, current distributions on our shores and in our seas, and consequences for wildlife and people.

The plastic problem has become mainstream news. Perhaps a turning point was David Attenborough’s Blue Planet II in 2018, of which the final episode left viewers with a powerful message about the impacts of plastic on our ecosystems [1].

I am encouraged that it’s easier to achieve a plastic-free lifestyle now than it was in 2015. Back then, I was frequently met with very odd looks when I took re-usable containers to the supermarket, greengrocers and butchers for re-fills. Now, I feel lucky that I live a 10 minute walk away from a dedicated plastic-free shop selling produce, re-fills and regular household items.

I would still urge anyone to try giving up single use plastic for a period of time. I found that it really highlights our dependency on plastics. It may be easier now, but there are still items that are very difficult to source. For example, my partner and I are doing a lot of renovation work on our home at the moment, and I think that it would be nearly impossible (or prohibitively expensive) to find everything plastic free (I’m thinking packets of screws, RAWL plugs, floor varnish, painting tools, electrical sockets… I could go on). Maybe there’s my next challenge: a plastic-free DIY task.

Unfortunately, many of the resources and links that I referred to in the original blog post are now non-existent. To find out more about going plastic free, a quick google search reveals a lot of resources online, both websites and books. If possible (and depending on where you live) my main recommendation, though, would be to search for your nearest plastic-free store and call in to support local businesses (Covid-19 note = ours is still open providing an essential service during lockdown). 

Nowadays, plastic-free goes hand in hand with eco-friendly, and I think there is a lot of scope for reducing our carbon footprint entirely whilst minimising single use plastic consumption. We are experiencing a climate crisis, and so, if in the position to do so, we have a lot of responsibility to minimise our impact on the planet – both our output of waste and use of resources.

[1] Gell 2019, The Guardian. Accessed November 2020

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