The first few weeks of trying to live without plastic can feel exhilarating and exhausting in equal measure as you try to get to grips with what fruit and vegetables suddenly become less easy to find like blueberries, blackberries, strawberries and typically non British Winter Veg. It may, also, be a time when you suddenly discover how much Tupperware you own and exactly how many plastic freezer bags there really are in your spare draw(!) that may indeed take years to use up (we still have some now that we wash and reuse).
It can be a strange time of feeling like you’re doing your best and yet still seem to be surrounded by plastic as you use up previously bought objects like your shower gels. The reality is that you do have to use these up before you have the “need” to go and invest in alternative solutions. However, you may be worried because all your friends know you are giving up plastic, and your home in no way reflects this if someone was to step inside it.
Indeed, it can be a very strange time.
Although it is over two years since we started to live without plastic in our lives, we still experience times when we feel quite like a pair of frauds. The month after Christmas often feels like this as we enjoy gifts of food and drink (tea bags) and sometimes bathroom products that are wrapped up in plastic. (We obviously receive a lot less, but it still happens and we aren’t ungrateful in regards people giving us whatever they choose).
We haven’t bought these goods but to the the eye of someone walking into our home that is not what it looks like. From the outside our home can look not so “plastic free”.
This can feel like a pressure, particularly as we host a lot of people. However, somewhere along the line of living with less plastic we have had to acknowledge it is not about “looking right”. It is about doing our best with what we can and where we can. Some things are beyond our control and sometimes our lives have times where how things look and appear are very different from the reality.
This acceptance that this lifestyle is not about how it looks can be very very challenging, particularly in the world of social media where the power of image seems to be growing ever stronger. And yet, real change comes from within the self – a change in attitude – not primarily from outward signs, although I can’t deny these are an indicator of a lifestyle (but only “an” indicator).
I hope for those of you beginning this journey, embarking on this “new” lifestyle are able to worry less about how it looks to the outsider than perhaps I did in the first few months. As you use up old single-use plastic don’t feel the pressure to get rid of any re-usable plastic. Getting rid of plastic because you are worried how it looks does no good. I would encourage you to embrace what you have and make wise choices when consuming in the future. Make sure the change you are hoping to produce comes from within and not pressured by how things look from the outside.
Well done for trying.
Image – Accessed 14th January 2018 from: http://eco2.greenlivingonline.com/guide/life-without-plastic