Meet the Team: Throughout Plastic Free July we will be introducing the Last team and sharing our own personal journey to plastic free living. Next up – Cora.
1) How long have you been on your plastic free journey?
I probably started trying to cut back on single use plastic around 3 years ago.
2) What motivated you to start your plastic free journey?
When I went to Indonesia, I saw what a problem plastic waste was on the beaches there. These beautiful paradise beaches that are just strewn with all kinds of plastic—bottles, crisp packets, chocolate wrappers etc. I realised that even though we don’t see where our plastic waste goes, it’s piling up somewhere. It really made the issue tangible for me, so when I got home, I tried to reduce the amount of plastic waste in my life.
3) What item(s) did you start with and why?
I already had a reusable water bottle and a tote bag. Next, I bought zero-waste shampoos and conditioners and a bamboo toothbrush. I also tried to not buy things in the supermarket that were wrapped in plastic, or only bought plastic packaging if it could be recycled. This meant some foods were totally off-limits, which was a struggle!
4) What are some realisations, good and/or bad, you have had while on your personal journey?
I got a real rush from seeing how much less rubbish I was producing as an individual. It was great to see my bin filling up with just organic waste—no plastic packaging. But I also felt sad sometimes in the supermarket looking around at everyone else buying things wrapped in plastic and just realising how big the problem is. It definitely falls to companies to make some serious changes. It can’t all be down to individuals. But it does feel empowering to play your part—and ‘vote with your pound’ to show that you don’t want plastic waste in your life.
5) What has surprised you about the plastic free journey?
I was surprised by how many plastic-free products are actually available once I started looking. There are so many great companies out there making these creative and innovative solutions to plastic waste. A lot of the products are also natural and organic so it feels like you’re doing good things for your health and body too.
6) How did you feel at the start of your plastic free journey in comparison to how you feel now?
I feel much more informed about plastic these days. I am starting to learn the meaning of all the different recycling labels and I rarely buy anything without checking first whether it can be recycled or not. Also, going plastic-free wasn’t as challenging as I thought. It’s just a question of making a few simple swaps and trying to find alternatives. Discovering a store near my flat in London where I could take Tupperware to fill up with produce was a real game-changer.
7) What do you wish you knew when you started your plastic-free journey?
I wish I’d known that it doesn’t have to be all or nothing! You don’t have to completely eliminate plastic straight away. That’s too overwhelming and you’ll just get exhausted and fed up. Instead, focus on a few small things, and try and expand every few months or something. These days I’m a bit more relaxed about plastic which makes it easier to keep up my plastic-free pledge.
8) What would be most helpful to you on your plastic free journey and why?
It’s would be great to have access to a wider range of plastic-free products. The more choice you have, the easier it is to find a product that works for you. Also, any information about how much money you’re saving is always helpful and persuasive!
9) What are three beliefs you had about going plastic free that turned out to be incorrect?
One, I believed that it would mean giving up ‘nice’ things. Not true! There are some really lovely plastic-free products out there.
Two, I believed that it had to be all-or-nothing. It doesn’t. Every little helps.
Three, I believed that I was in a minority on my plastic-free journey. But in fact, it’s a movement that’s getting bigger every day. And that’s super encouraging.
10) What are three pieces of advice you would give to anyone considering starting their plastic free journey?
One, start with small things and don’t get discouraged.
Two, definitely invest in the shampoo bars. They last for ageesssss.
Three, plastic-free products make great xmas and birthday presents if you’re trying to spread awareness!
We’d love to hear about your plastic free journey. Leave your comments below!