Apple blossoms

Life with plastic, it’s NOT fantastic

End of March a local initiative spontaneously started a plastic fasting challenge and our appartment house got invited as well. Caring about sustainable living and because I’m naturally curious what I can improve, I decided to join:

Sharing sparked conversations sparked learning (sparked change)

First of all, sharing this challenge on Twitter and with friends at home was really valuable. I got a lot of curious questions, people told me about their experiences and a couple of good conversations spawned.

So my learning started immediately, and change followed as well! For example, I didn’t think about plastic free office items before (only reusable things like refillable markers). Now I do.

On the other hand I let other people actively know, e.g. in my local grocery store, that it’s plastic fasting time for me and this is why I bring my own paper- and textile bags. There I triggered conversations and hopefully I – at least – inspired others. Time will tell if change will happen there.

Comparing with myself over comparing with others

The main goal of the challenge was to collect all the plastic waste for four weeks and to compare the waste bags with other people. The one who had the least plastic waste should win a prize.

I didn’t want to do that for two reasons:

  1. I don’t have enough space in my flat to store my waste for four weeks
  2. and – more important – I didn’t want to compete with others and win a prize. I wanted to compete with my yesterday’s self.

As I wanted to keep things lightweight, I only put up a sticky note in the kitchen to write down all the plastic items I used/dumped. This was the list after two weeks:

Keeping the record sparks change

I noticed that the sheer jotting down of the plastic(containing) items changed something. It raised my awareness! For example I now was extremely happy that I recently decided to produce my own milk because I had much less packaging because of that.

On the second half of the challenge I e.g. learned HOW MUCH plastic plain old throat-soothing candies usually have. And how easy it can be to get other candies if you are aware and watch out for them.

My main take-aways

  • Putting all the things I still had in plastic bags (e.g. nuts) in storage glas jars is helpful as it reminds me to rebuy it from the local ‘unpackaged store’ (i.e. a type of store that sells good for daily usage like food and hygiene articles without the usual packaging and people bring their own jars and bottles) once the glass gets empty. Bonus: easier access and you can get creative with the glasses! And btw.: I don’t buy glass jars, I reuse cucumber and jelly glasses.
  • Learning to DIY things like milk or cosmetics is not only much cheaper (and you know what the ingredients are). All in all it also produces much less plastic waste. And it can be fun as well!
  • Don’t push yourself too hard – especially if you are a want-to-get-better-everyday-person like me. It is okay to do little steps. The sum of the small steps count. Every little step counts and might spark change that you cannot foresee yet!
  • Sharing is caring – and it’s fun as well.

Life on this planet is fantastic…

… so: let’s change this world together! Step by step, bit by bit!

“It’s not necessary that some people do ‘zero-waste’ perfectly, it is necessary that _millions_ of people change their consumption imperfectly.”

(unknown author)