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 .
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.
 Gell 2019, The Guardian. Accessed November 2020