We’re delighted to be featuring the incredible Mary and Teresa from Sisters Against Plastic on our blog as they share how they managed to reduce their plastic consumption by 91% in just one year! Read on as they tell their story and share their top tips for how you can go on a plastic diet too.
We always understood there was a plastic problem, but we never really knew what to do about it. Then one fateful night over a glass of wine we concocted our New Years resolution; “let’s go on a plastic diet!”
We came up with the idea of parodying a diet where we would save and weigh all our plastic waste each month with the aim being to reduce that weight each month. To spur us on we even introduced a trophy to be awarded each month to the sister who had reduced the most!
We decided to live our lives as normal in January so we could get a baseline of how much plastic we actually use and where it’s all coming from. By the end of January we were in shock – how did we ever manage to use that much plastic and not even realise? It was definitely time for action!
We set ourselves areas to tackle each month. February was doing the obvious stuff – have a reusable drinks bottle, take a tote bag to the shops, buy loose fruit and veg. Just by doing this simple stuff on a regular basis made a huge difference to our plastic waste! We went on each month to tackle different areas; toiletries, household cleaning, packed lunches. By slowly picking off one problem area at a time we were reducing our plastic waste significantly and making these changes to lifestyle habits.
In December 2018 it was time for the final weigh-in. How much plastic waste weight had we lost? Mary weighed in first with an amazing 91% reduction with Teresa weighing in with a respectable 73% loss.
It’s impossible to go completely plastic free. There will always be something where there isn’t a solution, or that you just can’t find a good enough alternative for. Don’t despair. Sometimes it’s beyond our power, but every little thing we do adds up to create a big message that will eventually be heard.
So how can we all reduce our plastic waste? First of all, do it slowly. Don’t underestimate how challenging this can be, and if the whole problem is tackled at once it can be overwhelming. Choose one thing at a time to reduce. It might be the takeaway coffee cup you buy every day or the clingfilm you wrap your sandwiches in. Find an alternative solution to the problem and turn it into a lifestyle change. Once you’ve tackled one, you can take on another. Before you know it, you’ll have eliminated so much plastic from your life and not really noticed any extra effort.
Our top five tips:
1. Always have a water bottle and tote bag with you!
2. Plan your meals. Shopping last minute and for convenience can result in a lot of unexpected plastic
3. Don’t fall into the trap of replacing plastic unnecessarily. Use what you’ve got, and if it’s plastic make sure you take care of it and squeeze every last drop of use out of it. When it really has come to the end of it’s life, make sure you dispose of it correctly.
4. Shop around and try new things. It’s easy to stick with your familiar brands, but have a look around and you can often find a great plastic free alternative for things like dishwasher tablets and soap.
5. Don’t worry if you fall off the wagon, it happens to all of us. Dust yourself off and try again, it’s always worth another go.