What if I tell you : you can’t fail at Plastic Free July ?
There’s no such thing as “failing” with Plastic Free July. There’s every reason to keep going. Started on 1st July, enthusiasm for the challenge is everywhere! But at the end of the second day of plastic free July I bought a packet of crisps…another fail. I realised, going plastic free is is a super tough commitment. It is so difficult to be consistent in using consumer power. I do it where I can. bringing my reusable helps, but I still fail to have a week with no plastic. I think I have failed, … and I think there’s no point continuing.
RELEVANT SUSTAINABLE GOALS
LESSON 1 : LET’S NOT LET PERFECT BE THE ENEMY OF GOOD
Over the past 10 years, the Plastic Free Foundation has invited millions of people to take part in Plastic Free July. Started in Australia, this now-worldwide event challenges everyone to reduce their reliance on single-use plastics and re-think the utility of these items that, unfortunately, probably won’t ever go away entirely. But while Plastic Free July isn’t new, for the last two years, 2020 and 2021, the movement it does take on new meaning – thanks to the covid-19 pandemic.
Heightened concern for safety, we started using more disposable goods in an attempt to minimise the potential spreading of disease across surfaces. Grocery stores banned reusable bags and containers for bulk goods; restaurants churned out more food packaging as people increasingly turned to take-out orders; and just about everyone cranked up their cleaning habits and disinfected every surface imaginable with single-use wipes and other cleaning supplies. This new normal is happening in tandem with a resurgence in single-use plastics. Disposability is going like crazy and seems that our modern society wouldn’t exist without the stuff—it’s just too damn useful, especially in the time of pandemic.
While plastic is so omnipresent in our daily lives that it is simply impossible to imagine a world without it, maybe we can start by changing our mindset. Instead of focus on the stuff you can’t change, pick some of other things that you can change.
Personally, the important thing I realised for me is to say YES to the future that I WANT, instead of only focusing on the present I don’t want. I want to empower those who provide food, clothes, shelter, jobs to be more sustainable & regenerative if they can. I want to be more vocal, inspiring more people to think about their practices as I do mine. This means taking care of myself, and allowing for slip-ups. Getting politically involved, understanding policy. Learning, un-learning and re-learning.
So however your plastic free July went, just remember that you have the power to shape your life, and that life can have zero-trash, and one day that will be really easy because we all want it, I hope that one day we will all want to live in a world where plastic is deemed as a resource not a waste.
LESSON 2 : CHANGE IN YOU IS CHANGE IN OTHERS
The best way to encourage change in others is to lead by example and take the opportunity to answer questions when they come up (naturally) in conversation. Plastic Free July is about changing habits. The first step in changing habits is realising that there’s a problem, and realising that there’s a better way. Nobody can fail at “being more aware”. While we might not be able to act on this awareness straightaway, but awareness is the first step to making change. The main thing to remember when it comes to sustainability is to keep it simple. It doesn’t have to be perfect, but by making small changes every day you can make a huge difference.
It’s the 31st of July and Plastic Free July may almost be over but that doesn’t mean we need to stop. Plastic Free July is about starting the journey (and hopefully continuing it) – not finishing it in 31 days. I humbly ask you to continue in believing and thank yourself for being part of the solution. Together we can make a real difference.
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