Our plastic free journeys: Louise

Meet the Team: the next instalment of our series of interviews introducing the Last team and sharing our own personal journeys. Next up is Louise our social media assistant.

1) How long have you been on your plastic-free journey? 

I started my plastic-free journey towards the end of secondary school, roughly two years ago. 

2) What motivated you to start your plastic-free journey?

I have always had an interest in sustainability and been mindful of the environment. Learning about climate change in secondary school increased my awareness of the planet.  From there, I researched more into environmental issues, including the damage caused by plastic.  
3) What item(s) did you start with and why?
I started with a reusable water bottle and shopping bags. They are really simple swaps to make and I have been an advocate of them for a while. 

Another change I made was taking a packed lunch with me to school in a reusable container and bringing my own cutlery rather than using the plastic ones in the canteen.  

4) What are some realisations, good and/or bad, you have had while on your plastic-free journey?

I was aware that plastic was harmful, but additional research gave me a deeper understanding of the problem.  For example, I knew the physical impact of plastic waste, but I hadn’t considered the toxic chemical impact it also creates. Harmful chemicals are released when they reach the guts of marine species and leaches into the environment.  https://link.springer.com/article/10.1186/s12302-018-0139-z

5) What has surprised you about your plastic-free journey?

Being on a plastic-free journey has allowed me to try new products that I hadn’t previously considered using.  Before reducing my plastic consumption, I would never have thought about using a shampoo bar or beeswax wraps

6) How did you feel at the start of your plastic-free journey in comparison to how you feel now?

Ifeel very different when I am out shopping. Even though I already used reusable shopping bags, I was happy to buy a plastic bag if I forgot. Now, I feel guilty and would rather carry my shopping than buy a plastic bag! 

7) What do you wish you knew when you started your plastic-free journey?

You don’t have to completely transition at once.  It can just delay the start of your plastic-free journey and it is much easier to #startwithonething. 

8) What would be the most helpful to you on your plastic-free journey and why?

It would be helpful if more retailers get on board with the plastic-free movement.  There are lots of plastic-free options available, but the backing of retailers would increase the choice and help make plastic-free more mainstream.

9) What are three beliefs you had about going plastic-free that turned out to be incorrect?

  1.  I thought going plastic-free would be more expensive. In reality, the cost is balanced out by the quality and durability of items. 
  2. I thought people would be dismissive when I brought up a conversation about being plastic-free. Instead, most people are interested in reducing their plastic consumption and eager to try plastic-free alternatives.
  3. I was worried that some plastic-free items wouldn’t be as good as the products I was already using. For instance, I wasn’t convinced about soap bars and shampoo bars but now I love them!

10) What are three pieces of advice you would give to anyone starting their plastic-free journey?

  1. Be open to learning about the plastic-free movement and don’t beat yourself up for not knowing everything. 
  2. Being prepared makes being plastic-free much easier. For example, taking a reusable cup with you when you go out for coffee and remembering to bring a tote bag shopping.
  3. Enjoy making the changes rather than putting unnecessary pressure on yourself.  It’s an exciting journey!

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