29: Watch your language!

yellow tassel

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Since setting myself this challenge of finding 365 different ways to reduce our use of plastic, the world appears to have gone plastic crazy. It’s like when you get a new car and you suddenly start seeing them everywhere. There are no more of them than before, but your brain has started looking for them…and there they all are.

I look around the house, I go shopping, I go and meet a friend, and everywhere I look I see plastic. Why didn’t I see it all before? Simply because I wasn’t looking in the same way. Also, it’s because I wasn’t consciously naming it. I would go shopping and say ‘I need some shampoo.’ I didn’t say, ‘I need a plastic bottle with some shampoo in it.’ And that’s when I realised that I was making a difference in my behaviour because I had started to make it CONSCIOUS.

Try it for one day. Name everything you see made of plastic – at home, at work, at the shops, on a night out – out loud to yourself (or in your own head, if you think people might point and laugh!). You will be shocked at how many times you say the word ‘PLASTIC.’ Then think about the things you can replace with something that isn’t plastic and you’ll be away. It will start to become conscious and (hopefully) you’ll feeel that you have to do something about it.

And while we’re on the subject of words, let’s stop using a big one incorrectly. And that word is…DISPOSABLE! Most things we call ‘disposable’ simply aren’t: Disposable fork, disposable lighter, disposable nappies, disposable coffee cup…most of these things are not! All we do is dispose of them out of our sight and shift the problem somewhere else. In fact, plastic will never dispose at all, it will just move around the planet or get buried to reappear some other time. Unless you can put it in your compost heap, or use it again, it’s not disposable. So let’s stop calling it that.

Language is a hugely powerful thing. Think about what you call things. Is that what they truly are? Make it conscious and you’ve started making a big difference to your life, to others and to the planet.

And so endeth a bit of philosophy for today. This blog is getting deep!

 

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20: A little less plastic on your holiday

beach blue car combi

Photo by Nubia Navarro (nubikini) on Pexels.com

Summer is here and the thoughts of many are turning to holidays. As the planet warms up (and the evidence for global warming is just mounting and mounting) thoughts might also be turning to our environment and what we can do to protect it – hopefully. Don’t let it spoil your holiday. Incorporate a little thought for the environment into your holiday instead. I’m talking about your travel toiletries!

This year, instead of buying those little plastic travel versions of the stuff you normally use (shampoo, shower gel, etc.), which you’ll probably leave behind at the hotel / b&b / campsite / friend’s house anyway, make a decision to replace as much as possible with non-plastic alternatives.

  • A bar of soap (as cheap or luxurious as you like) instead of liquid soap and shower gel. Wrap it in a face flannel and you won’t even need a plastic soap dish. You can cut slices off as needed so one bar will easily do a whole family.
  • Some bar deodorant instead of plastic bottles and sprays. Again, you can slice off as much as you need. It lasts longer than liquid deodorant too.
  • Bar shampoo and conditioner, same as above.
  • A bamboo toothbrush – which weighs about half that of a plastic one! And some powder toothpaste, of course.

All of the replacement toiletries above are non-liquid, so it means that nobody will take them off you at the airport. This is a great way to save money, as so many holiday resorts will charge you ridiculous prices for shampoo, deodorant, shower gel and all the rest.

Happy holidays!

 

6: You are not alone!

As I published post Number 5 and sent it out into the internet ether, I thought: ‘That’s 5 ideas down, 360 more to go – eek!’ That’s an awful lot of ideas to come up with, just about plastic. Maybe I should have settled on 25 or even 12.

But then something started to happen. People started to sendĀ meĀ ideas without even being asked to. Ideas that I hadn’t thought of, and info on other organisations and websites that were doing the same thing and with the same intention. Suddenly 365 wasn’t so scary because I realised I didn’t have to do this alone. None of us do. And now the challenge is not quite as overwhelming.

So today’s tip is: COME OUT OF THE PLASTIC CLOSET! Tell your friends that you want to reduce your addiction to plastic, especially single-use plastic. The chances are that they will say ‘me too,’ and then perhaps they’ll say: ‘Did you know about this or that? Have you seen this documentary? Did you know you can buy bamboo toothbrushes here?’ and many other useful pieces of advice. Whether we like it or not, we are all connected, and all we have to do to get the web moving is to start tickling our own little thread on it. (I’m talking about an analogous web and not the interweb!…although you can start there if you like)

Trying to give up any habit is difficult. Doing it with someone else cuts the struggle in half, it really does. Strength in numbers is a real thing. So here are a couple of great bits of sharing that I’ve received from friends on my own web in the last couple of days:

Did you know about Plastic Free July? A challenge to ‘Choose to Refuse’ single-use plastic for a whole month. They have lots of tips, and you won’t be doing it alone. The link is below, and thanks to Mairead for telling me about it:
http://www.plasticfreejuly.org

There is also lots of info on the BBC website, inspired by David Attenborough’s incredibly moving, award-winning ‘Blue Planet’ documentaries. There are tips, facts and advice on there, as well as plenty of inspiring stories from around the world. The link is below, and thanks to Sarah for sharing it with me:
http://bbc.co.uk/plasticswatch

So, don’t be shy. Tell a friend, or two or three, and we can each be responsible for one less piece of plastic choking our planet. Start tickling that cobweb!

Take Note: It’s a global thing – but you have to start where you live.

This blogger is writing this while sitting at a table in the UK. That means that, in some posts, shops and products will be mentioned and highlighted that might only exist in the UK. But the plastic problem is global, and even countries that produce very little plastic are seeing it wash up on their shores. If you’re somewhere other than the UK, you can help to make these posts more useful to people where you live. If you know of an equivalent retailer or product that’s available only in your country, please feel free to share that information under the relevant blog post. Thank you.