Plastic Free July: A First Timers Real Life Experiences Going Plastic Free

Plastic Free July.

Plastic free July has come to an end, and what a month it’s been. But if you took part, you probably were hit by some harsh realities of trying to go plastic free.

Compared to others I live a pretty sustainable conscious life, but this was my first time going completely plastic free.

The reality? It’s not all just using your keep cup and rainbows.

I began the month optimistic, apprehensive but positive.

This optimism went in waves, up and down throughout the month. I suddenly started experiencing some realizations.

What are the real life realities of going plastic free?

Plastic is everywhere. Yes that is an obvious one, I know. But seriously, once you start wanting to stop purchasing anything with plastic or using any form of plastic altogether you start to see it everywhere.

Shopping is hard. Going to your local supermarket and coming out with 1/3 of what you came in for becomes a weekly struggle. Everything is wrapped in plastic. Have a headache? Good luck finding some paracetamol not wrapped in plastic. Fancy some rice for dinner? Let me know where you find some not wrapped in plastic, sometimes they are even wrapped in a brown paper bag, (yay!) BUT then have a tiny plastic window, (boo!) why?!

You can’t always eat what you want if you go plastic free. I live with my boyfriend and he patiently put up with me umming and ahhing over whether we can eat what we really want each night. Right now we live in a small town, we don’t have the luxury of getting certain staple foods not in plastic. Such as rice, pasta, wraps, bread. I didn’t say the month was going to be easy, but supermarkets sure know how to make it difficult hey.

A lot of people still don’t care. Sometimes just because you care so strongly about something you think others automatically will once you tell them. Wrong. Going plastic free is a minority choice. People still don’t get it, I had people laugh at me, curiously ask me how I would live and others who just weren’t bothered at all. Everyone may have heard that we should use our own bags at the supermarket but they don’t care that you’ve taken the step to oust plastic from your life. Turns out others don’t experience the inner turmoil of what to buy due to it’s contents being concealed in plastic like I and I’m sure so many others do. In all honesty that can dampen my spirits sometimes.

The reality is although I am fully whole heartedly ready to stop using and purchasing plastic, the world is not.

It’s the sad truth that has me questioning whether I really need to eat pasta because it only comes wrapped in plastic or whether to live off just fruit and veg and that’s it, every day of my life (I am a carb lover, can you tell?).

All jokes aside, it’s been a hard month. I have come to the realization that this is going to be a long process. Yes, it starts with us, and yes we can make the change, but for it to become the norm we need to shout about it a bit more.

This month has been a great start; the positives do outweigh the negatives. I thought I was pretty sustainable before but you know what, we all have so much to learn.

I already use my own cup, my own water bottle, flask, bring my own shopping bags, use a bamboo toothbrush and try to buy as ethically and locally as possible, but there’s more we should be doing.

Here are the things I have changed about my life this plastic free July and I am proud of.

My shampoo and conditioner.

I love Ethique, discovering their shampoo and conditioner bars have changed my life. The best thing? Once they’re gone, they’re gone.

My moisturizer.

Same as above, it was hard for me as I have eczema and pretty dry skin. But I’m trying a butter block and so far my skin feels, and smells good.

My shower wash.

Shower wash was always something I didn’t even think about buying, but I started seeing it every day once I vowed to go plastic free. Switching to a soap means I am still clean and it is good for my sensitive skin but once it’s used I don’t feel guilty.

My deodorant.

Again this is something we use every day of our lives. I started to think, how many have I purchased so far in my life?! It was quite daunting. So I finally made the decision to try making my own, this way I can use the same container every time and I know what’s going into it.

I have heavily focused on an area I think a lot of people forget. Our toiletries are things we really use daily. I made the switch to a bamboo tooth brush earlier this year and that really kick started my own toiletry revolution. By changing small areas of your life bit by bit it doesn’t feel as daunting. There are lots more things to change but now I feel positive I can make those changes.

What have I learnt?

One major feeling to come out of this month is that there’s so much more to do, in our lives and in the world around us. It’s time to take stock, using your own cup, bringing your own bag is just the start, that is merely scratching the surface. Each area of our life is deep rooted with plastic, it’s there and it doesn’t want to leave. Many of us don’t even think about all the plastic we use and come into contact with everyday that is never going to leave the planet.

But instead of being overwhelmed about this I’ve finished the month on a positive. Realizing this is the first step to changing it. Making little changes in my  life make me realize it can happen, and it will happen, little by little. Teaching and inspiring others along the way needs to happen too, everyone needs to be on board. Now instead of letting the cynics bring me down I’ve decided to use it as a way to change their minds, make them see what I do, inspire them too.

So let’s shout about the positives.

Let’s talk about how this month has kicked off the plastic free revolution in our own lives!

I have made sacrifices. I have made personal compromises. We are all only humans trying our best.

But I have made conscious decisions, taken conscious actions, I have realized more than anything that this is not just one month. This is my way of choosing to live. It’s going to take time and I’m going to give it time.

So my final thoughts for plastic free July? Let’s use this as a stepping stone, a learning curve, the beginning of something amazing.

In my opinion, nothing worth doing comes easy now does it?

Did you take part in Plastic Free July? How did it go for you? Comment below!

‘Til next time. 💚🌏

– Bee Wanderlust

 

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