This year, the alliance introduced an action for every month, a simple step for you to live a greener life. For the month of February, our mantra was to ‘Refuse single-use plastic’ I decided to do the same as well.
The basic rules that I set for myself were that I would not buy any single-use plastics. Anything that I previously owned was good to go. SInce the challenge was to reduce single-use plastic, that is what I chose to mainly focus on.
Starting out, I thought this would be pretty easy to achieve, I have managed to phase the obvious single-use plastics that one may encounter in their daily lives. I don’t consume soda, or packaged drinking water and I don’t order food often enough to be worrying about plastic packaging. My approach was far more academic, and I essentially was planning to keep track of the opportunities to consume plastic presented to me on a daily basis. I also wanted to use this as an opportunity to analyze the amount of plastic that I use in my daily life.
The biggest realization over this past month, was that single-use plastic that we consume in our lives is more than just the odd plastic bag or bottle. Our lives are far more entrenched in plastic than we realize even. The toothbrush I use, the shampoo & shower gel bottles, the bag of milk that comes into my house everyday, all of it is plastic. These are elements that I hadn’t even considered as a part of my daily routine until I was trying to actively analyze how much plastic I consume in my life. While these items may not be considered ‘Single-use’ in the purest sense. they essentially serve the same purpose, once the product is used, they are discarded. The time for use may be longer than that of a bottle or a plastic bag, but ultimately they are the exact same thing.
The use of plastic is so entrenched in our lives that even aware citizens, who are actively trying to be green citizens, end up consuming (and subsequently discarding) single-use plastic. A sandwich covered in a piece of plastic, the odd gift to someone wrapped in plastic and so forth. Groceries & food packaging are a beast of its own.
What this month did serve as, was a necessary reckoning. The no plastic month was completely successful, I did manage to avoid single use plastic most days (not including the aforementioned toiletries). However, the realization, for me, was the plastic I had been ignoring all this while. Now that all of this has been laid bare in front of me, I am actively looking for alternatives. Bamboo toothbrushes, shampoo & conditioner bars are going to be my new replacements. I am also figuring out wholesale retailers, and ways to reduce packaging from my groceries. Hopefully, the next time I attempt to do the No Plastic Challenge, I will fare better.