Our plastic free journeys: Monique

Meet the Team: Throughout the summer we will be introducing the Last team and sharing our own personal journey to plastic free living. Next up – Monique

How long have you been on your plastic free journey?
I have been on this journey for approximately four years.

 What motivated you to start your plastic free journey?

Short answer- I was inspired by observing my daughter go plastic free

Long answer- I have been interested in the environment for many many years and a member of Greenpeace. I try to use pubic transport if possible, I buy second hand clothes, furniture etc, I take recycling very seriously, I have been mostly veggie for years. But to my embarrassment I have been really slow to avoid plastics. I suppose it just sort of crept up on me and then seemed impossible to do without. When my daughter started Last I felt I had to take myself in hand and not let the side down.

What items did you start with and why?
I started with a bread bag. If I am honest it was because it seemed like the easiest change to make without too much effort on my part since we don’t really eat that much bread!
Next was a water bottle. We were buying water bottles everywhere we went-when we went walking, to the theatre, on the train, on car journeys, to the gym, to choir, etc and I was becoming very aware that we were putting a lot of bottles in our plastic recycling.

What are some realisations good and bad that you have had?
It does actually make you feel better about yourself avoiding plastic. Even though I am only one person taking a small action it is better than just talking about the problem and expecting others to do something about it. I also think it encourages others to  follow suit .
There are times, however, when I “lapse”and feel really guilty. Also you do have to be a bit more organised. 

What has surprised you on your plastic free journey?
I really notice plastic everywhere now, especially single use. I think I was blind to a lot of it before.

How did you feel at the start of your plastic free journey?
It felt very daunting. I think I had this idea that it had to be all or nothing. Now I realise that every small action is worth it and I give myself a little pat on the back each time I introduce another swap for plastic.

What do you wish you knew at the start?
That it’s okay to take tiny steps – you are still making a difference and influencing those around you by your actions rather than just your words.

What would be the most helpful to you on your plastic-free journey and why?
I hope that the government keeps introducing laws to make the plastics and packaging industry take the issue more seriously and are discouraged to produce single use products in the first place.

What are three beliefs you had about going plastic-free that turned out to be incorrect?
I thought that it would be really hard to change my habits but I actually enjoy the challenge of each change.
I believed it would be too time consuming. In fact, mostly the extra time is spent thinking about the change. Once you have swapped, it becomes routine.
I though that it would be more expensive but I buy less of certain things or buy in bulk.

What are three pieces of advice you would give to anyone starting their plastic-free journey?
Just start with one thing that you know will be easy in your particular set of circumstances .
You could maybe analyse your shopping bag or recycling bin to help you decide where to start.
Seek advice from someone who is further along than you.

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