Plastic Filled Holiday Confession

So the Holiday Away was amazing – experience other cultures is always incredibly. Seeing friends get married is always special. Meeting and making new friends and acquaintances is good for the soul.

Going abroad to a place where the tap water is undrinkable (we never were anywhere with a filtered tap) and on a long haul flight is Hell for someone trying to be plastic free.

So, we did terribly. Truly awfully – after having had not plastic in our hands, bought by our money for months we were suddenly surrounded by it. And as my friend on the plane said to me – “I am now feeling stressed for you”.

So our long haul flight was as predicted plastic loving. Below is one example of one meal on our flight. All were fully, lovingly wrapped in plastic.

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I managed to say no to the plastic cup of water but only because I already had my two litre version (I figured the lid on a bottle looks like it involves a lot of plastic so went for volume but without any real assurance this made it less plastic).

Food out we found was variable. Some places did really well like the veggie place that wrapped their cutlery in paper rather than plastic (most other places felt the need to wrap their cutlery in plastic – we assumed the wrapping was due to not wanting flies to go on them). But overall eating out plastic free in Brazil was more of a challenge than in Britain but that may be due to our lack of knowledge.

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Knives and Forks wrapped in paper…everywhere else we went it was plastic. 

Some places we found glass bottled drinks but more often cans which obviously isn’t great though better than full on plastic bottles. We tried some local drinks which came in a variety of plastic and glass beakers.

In and around Rio and Sao Paulo we sometimes saw bins which claimed recycling was a thing such as this:

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Photo taken at the bottom of ride upto Christ the Redeemer

However, according to locals no one can actually be sure where this waste goes. Brazilians I found to be very open and honest people, with sharp understanding of politics (at least all those we chatted to). It was refreshing to meet people so engaged with how stuff actually works in a country even if this meant being honest enough to admit that “even if it says recycle it doesn’t mean it actually will”.

One cheeky, totally unnecessary buy, were a pair of havaianas which has a plastic on it. I cannot justify this other than they looked awesome and are incredibly comfy – to be used for as long as possible (and a month in they are still being enjoyed).

My holiday was definitely a holiday for me. I can’t say it wasn’t and I know that my enjoyment has definitely been good for me in many way. However, it has made re-adapting back to plastic-free living a challenge but one we are both happy to return too. Our lifestyle may not always be that easy and at times we do break our aim of being completely plastic free but we are always trying. It just made me more aware of how lucky we are in the country we live in as I suspect in other parts of the world living without plastic is just impossible.


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Just one holiday snap (Sarah, Lol, Me and Steve) 




One comment

  1. Some airlines (like Finnair) use a lot less plastic than they used to … And have shifted towards paper/card based wrapping and materials. Post 9/11 however cutlery is plastic not metal, and it’s only in business class they use glasses rather than plastic tumblers. However they will serve your drink in your own cup if you ask!

    The way I get round buying bottled water at airports is by asking the cafe to fill my container with tap water. In the EU (including UK) they are obliged to do this – and some more civilised airports have water fountains /dispensers where you can refill your bottle /flask. It’s perfectly OK to take empty bottles (regular plastic ones) through security …so while this might not help be plastic free it does mean you don’t have to buy yet more plastic.

    When travelling it’s bottled water that’s hardest to avoid. Yet in the 80s-90s I travelled extensively – and used water purification tablets in a large container each night. That method isn’t terribly fashionable on city trips (still popular when doing wilderness trips) but worth considering as one way of cutting out waste.

    I think my bug bear at the moment is plastic cutlery …so unnecessary in most situations. I like the attitude in south Germany (backed by local bylaw) that people take own cutlery cup plate etc to picnics and eg church cafes OR can hire them (real ones for a refundable deposit) for the event. This is done to reduce the use of disposables. Makes such a lot of sense to me, and I’d like to see a shift like that in the rest of Europe. (Won’t happen in UK if Britexit prevail …I’m afraid we will then see a huge shift away from environmentally friendly issues)


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