This week, EcoVibe’s Becky carried the ‘week without plastic’ torch, let’s see how she got on…
To kick-off, as we always do, we asked our latest plastic-free challenger to tell us a little bit about how they prepared for the big week.
Becky told us: ‘To get ready I purchased a few items I knew I’d need including a bamboo toothbrush, solid toothpaste, a shampoo bar, soap, deodorant and a tote bag. I got rid of (recycled as much as possible) any plastic packing from around the house – sooo much from the bathroom and kitchen; every cleaning product was in a plastic bottle! I bought compostable poop bags and some Beco recycled toys for my dogs, which they absolutely loved!’
Next up, we asked Becky what was the first thing that she noticed when starting out for the week. She said: ‘I felt a bit overwhelmed by the sheer amount of plastic everywhere and started noticing quite how many things can’t be recycled – from salad and snack packaging to tiny, unnecessary things like the care label on the plant I bought as a present for a friend! I had thought I was quite environmentally conscious, but this week proved me wrong - it was eye-opening.’
The cosmetic curse
On the first morning of the plastic-free challenge, it really starts to dawn on you how much plastic is in your life, it was no different for Becky, here’s what she found particularly challenging on the first day: ‘There were a few things I hadn’t accounted for and couldn’t replace, like I’d bought compostable poop bags for my dogs, but first thing in the morning I realised that their food is in foiled plastic bags, so that was a fail straight away.
Immediately after this I started getting ready for work and realised that how much of my make up and cosmetics are in plastic containers – almost everything.’
Next, we asked what Becky had to give up entirely, it wasn’t a short list!
‘I had to stop using most of my make-up and putting on sun cream every day. I also had to stop buying lots of things from the supermarket like salad leaves, sauces and non-dairy milk – this one was particularly hard, no coffee.’
A happier bank balance!
A surprising side-effect of reducing plastic is a healthier bank balance, who knew?! Becky made an effort to look out for ‘fresh or tinned food, rather than anything in plastic packaging.’ She went on to say that, ‘I also stopped shopping so much, which to be honest was good for my bank balance as well as my conscience!’
Moving on we asked Becky what the most surprising thing was that she learned during her plastic-free week. She said: ‘The thing that shocked me the most was how much single-use packaging can never be recycled. You shouldn’t be able to create something so unnecessary that can’t be responsibly recycled.
It’s great that consumers are trying to be as careful as possible, but companies, especially FMG ones, should be doing much much more to help combat the excess of plastic. Thankfully the single-use plastic ban came into force during my week, so that made me feel a little bit reassured, although 2021 is a long way off!’
The hardest thing to avoid was…
‘Food & drink packaging. There are so many items that are packaged in plastic in some way. I went out for dinner with some friends and the barman put a plastic straw in my drink before I’d realised and could say anything - so I took it home to use again!’
A doggy dilemma
We asked Becky if she had a slip-up at any point … ‘I did, quite a lot unfortunately! I couldn’t find alternatives for the dog food (they need specialist food), and then one of them had an operation and had to wear a plastic cone for the week! I also had to buy a birthday card for someone and only realised after I’d bought it that it was wrapped in plastic.’
The all-important takeaway
So, now the week is over, how was your experience? ‘It was really good actually. Much more challenging than I thought it would be, but it was great to be fully aware of the impact of everyday items on the environment. It’s made me much more diligent about what I buy and finding environmentally friendly alternatives. Everyone should try and do a Plastic-free Week, I think they’d be shocked!’