Day 9: Honeymoon Over

To all those who believed in me, I’m sorry: I bought some plastic. The bright-eyed honeymoon period, so full of hope, is over. But this is not the end!

Although I knew it was going to be basically impossible to go a whole 40 days without buying or disposing of any plastic at all, finally reaching that point of desperation was hard to accept. Pictured is the offending article.

Let me tell you my story of woe.

I woke up early to go visit a client and found that what was left of my £3 Waitrose bread was too stale even for toast. I have a very limited amount of food thanks to being able to buy virtually nothing, so had to have two kiwis for breakfast. I wasn’t particularly satisfied even straight after eating them, so an hour later in the car I was really really hungry.

I was also a bit concerned about lunch, since I’ve been eating tinned soup and I wasn’t going to have access to a microwave. I figured I’d have to wait to eat it until I was back in my office, which would be much later that afternoon.

I am not good on no food. Worried about how two kiwis on an empty stomach might impact my ability to do my job, I stopped at a petrol station to pick up a snack to tide me over. Of course, there was literally nothing that wasn’t wrapped in plastic, and I was in a hurry anyway. I grabbed an energy bar and went on my way.

The hardest thing about zero-plastic is the amount of planning that’s needed. I massively take it for granted that there’s shops everywhere where I can usually pick up anything I need. I normally don’t have to plan things carefully, working out when my bread will go stale and making sure I have an alternative ready, or having to think about a mid-morning snack the day before or even earlier than that. But when you’re avoiding plastic you can’t just nip out and pick something up. You can’t do last-minute, or spur-of-the-moment.

Not that this is necessarily a bad thing. We live in a society obsessed with convenience and an I-want-it-now attitude. That’s the exact reason plastic is so popular – it enables that lifestyle. The plastic bag and the single-use water bottle have become symbols of our wasteful consumerism. Packaging that allows us to have what we want, right now, without having to give thought to anything like long-term consequences. As long as it serves our immediate purpose, the fact that it is ultimately harmful is not factored in.

I’m not going to lie, I’m disheartened by the energy-bar-wrapper set-back, and I feel it’s only going to get harder as I start running out of stuff. But really this is just a lesson in planning ahead. I think I need to make some zero-plastic snacks…

Plastic so far: 1.5g

  • Energy bar wrapper

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