On July 3rd we challenged you to do a plastic free day and it is only fair that our staff here at Ocean Helper took on the challenge too. So, Katy, our head of communication took on the challenge and wrote about her experience in trying to be completely plastic free for a whole 24 hours. Here is how her day went and what she has learnt going forward in how she can further reduce plastic waste:
My morning started at 6:30am, I rolled out of bed and went to brush my teeth. I use a bamboo toothbrush, but this in itself isn't fully plastic free as the bristles are made from a type of nylon. I have previously researched a natural alternative and they are out there, however some research has shown that these natural options such as animal hairs don't last as long, which can actually create more waste. My other problem is the toothpaste I use for my sensitive teeth comes in a plastic tube, thankfully there is a terracycling option for toothpaste tubes, so I know that I can recycle it through there. If you are looking to ditch this plastic completely there are options such as dental tabs which come in refillable bottles and are a great plastic free option. After brushing my teeth, I washed my face with a flannel and some water before properly starting my day.
The next part of my day is taking my dog out for a walk, we are out for about an hour and a half, I take with us a refillable water bottle to keep Luna (my dog) hydrated and a pouch of treats. Currently I haven't found a good brand that do her treats and food in plastic free or refillable packaging but it is something I am looking into, as well as recipes for making our own treats at home, here is a one recipe that caught my eye and that I want to try out soon! Along our walk I collect litter that I find into an over the shoulder bag on my side, I use a repurposed gardening glove as we are still in the midst of a pandemic and simply slip it on to pick up the litter and off again to continue our walk. When I get home I sort the litter into what is recycled and what goes into the bin, frustratingly today I found a large amount of broken up polystyrene. Then I begin work.
Whilst working I drink from my refillable water bottle and an occasional can of diet coke, I try to avoid snacking, but if I am peckish I will treat myself to an apple. When shopping I try to purchase packaging free options where possible. In our house we do enjoy a sweet treat every now and again, we collect chocolate wrappers in cardboard boxes ready to drop off at the nearby terracycling points, once they open up again. If you are living in the UK you can check out the Terracycling scheme here.
At lunchtime I made myself spaghetti hoops on toast, if I am unable to get fresh made local bread, which has been very difficult recently, then I do get shop bought bread that comes in a plastic bag which thankfully can be recycled at larger stores. My spaghetti hoops comes in an aluminium tin which can be full recycled. I then continue with more work.
In the evening my partner and I prepare dinner together, we have jacket potatoes, I ate mine with the rest of the spaghetti hoops left over from lunch with some cheese. Unfortunately my cheese does come in plastic packaging, but I will look in the future to go to a local market where I can buy cheese and bring my own container to take it home in. My partner had homemade tuna mayonnaise with his potato, the tuna came in a recyclable aluminium tin can and the mayonnaise we use comes in a glass jar which we will either reuse for food storage or recycle with other glass. After we have eaten we treat ourselves to one of my homemade cookies. We get a lot of our baking ingredients from our local refill shop, we take our glass reusable jars down to the shop to refill the flour, sugar, rice and pasta, along with a few other bits.
I had to nip to the shop to get some more milk as we had run out, I take my backpack so that I don't need to get a plastic bag at the store. Unfortunately it is too late to go to the milk refill station but I can buy local milk in a plastic carton which can be recycled.
When I get home I do our dishes from the day, I need to look into a refill for our washing up liquid, as we currently use standard Fairy bottled liquid but we have recently switched to reusable cotton washcloths which drastically reduces plastic. When I come to clean down the kitchen, I have been waiting to finish our current stock of cleaning stuff before attempting to make my own. When the time comes I intend to make my own multipurpose spray and toilet cleaner. I have found some great, simple recipes online here.
Today was a very standard and slow day at home working, I really enjoyed taking a closer look at my routine to see where I can improve. Now I intend to carry on my plastic free journey throughout July, will you join me for Plastic Free July?
Share your stories with us of how you did in the plastic free day challenge, what changes are you going to make and how well have you already done?! Head over to Instagram, Facebook, Twitter or even send us an email - firstname.lastname@example.org - our team would be happy to help you with any questions or any assistance you might need in assessing or improving your goals to be more plastic free.