Time flies when you’re having fun and, for the most part, I actually am.
In case you haven’t been following; I’ve given up plastic for Lent. For 40 days in 2018, I’m doing everything I can to avoid purchasing plastic.
I’m making a stand against our downward spiral; every year in Western Europe the amount of plastic we use increases by 4%. That doesn’t sound like much, but it means that in 20 years we’ll have doubled our annual plastic use. I don’t want to be part of that, and that means doing something drastic.
Since I’m now halfway, I thought it would be good to check how I’m doing…
The average UK household (2.4 people) throws away 40 kg plastic per year. Assuming they use roughly the same amount each, that’s an annual consumption of just under 17 kg per year. Based on that, ‘normal’ me would have got through 931g plastic during the last 20 days.
I’ve used 104.5g. That’s 11% of a ‘normal’ level. Take out the one-off wiper-fluid purchase (which is a once-per-year thing and still really getting to me) and I’d be at 0.5%.
I think that’s a staggering reduction, especially considering that it hasn’t been particularly difficult. Imagine if the whole world reduced their plastic consumption by 90%! That would take over 300 million tonnes of plastic out of the equation per year.
For perspective, here’s some things that weigh around 300 million tonnes:
- The whole human race
- 900 Empire State Buildings
- 45 million T-Rexes
So, in pursuit of reducing my plastic dinosaur, what have been the best and worst bits of the first half of my plastic-free Lent?
The Best Bits
- The solid shampoo. Never going back.
- Shopping at farm shops; that is some middle-class fun right there.
- How much more wholesome your groceries look in brown paper bags.
- Finding that Gü does the most delicious puddings in glass ramekins.
- Discovering the Gü glass ramekin is the perfect size to be a soap dish for my solid shampoo.
- Realising I can still eat McDonald’s.
- Feeling all warm inside knowing I’m actually doing something good.
- Associated feelings of moral superiority.
- All the wonderful encouragement I’ve been getting; you’re keeping me going, guys!
The Worst Bits
- That first bit of plastic (nearly cried).
- The screenwash bottle (actually cried).
- Being quite hungry because of the lack of snacks (probably explains the crying).
- Expensive bread.
- Finding sneaky plastic after I’ve bought it. Why does a jar need a plastic cap hidden inside the metal lid?
- The frustration of pointless plastic. No one has satisfactorily explained to me why rice and pasta can’t be in paper bags like flour and sugar.
- How much more limited my choices are, in everything.
Overall, I’m feeling mega-positive about the whole thing, and I’m starting to think that I’ll be carrying on a lot of this once Lent is up.
Thanks for following me on my journey so far, I hope it’s inspiring you to make some changes in your own life! Stick with me, the end is in sight…
Plastic so far: 104.5g (0.0016% of a T-Rex)
- Energy bar wrapper
- Plastic window in the box of a Cafe Nero wrap
- Piece of plastic HIDDEN INSIDE THE LID of a jar of piquant peppers
- Thin sheet the lady at the deli counter used to pick up my chorizo before putting it in my paper bag (facepalm)
- Windscreen wiper fluid bottle