Words: Charene Labuschagne
It’s all-consuming – the consequences of humanity’s century-long carelessness and ignorance with regard to our environment. We’ve surely all had a hand in the negative impact. A footprint that is, unfortunately, irreversible. It’s not a dead end road, however. There’s a light at the end of the tunnel – we have the opportunity to put a stop to the pollution of our oceans, land and atmosphere. What a privilege to be entrusted with such a big responsibility. We can’t all go out and buy Teslas, so instead, we are going plastic-free this July. It’s certainly a lot more complicated than dedicating a single month to reducing our use of plastic, but migrating from a plastic-purchasing to a waste-reducing consumer simply requires us to start with baby steps. It’s much more sustainable and cultivates a lifestyle, rather than a fad.
Truth be told, I forget my reusable shopping bags at home every other time I go grocery shopping. I cannot explain the guilt I feel when the cashier is packing my goods into another single-use plastic bag. What I’ve found is that if you leave your reusable bags by the door once you’ve packed out your groceries, it’ll be easier to remember to put them back in your car for next time. Don’t tell me I’m the only person who only remembers things when I trip over them…
Plastic straws are an absolute no-no. I refuse to accept any drink or beverage with a straw. In fact, tell the waiter you don’t want the straw – as sometimes they unwrap and submerge it before your order gets to your table, at which point it doesn’t help to throw a fit. Some drinks seem to ask for a straw, but you know what’s even better? A planet that won’t spontaneously combust at any given moment.
When grocery shopping, those flimsy little plastic bags we pack our fruit and veggies in can become a bit of an issue. Larger items like butternut and fresh ginger really don’t require to be packaged. If you do, however, intend on buying a bunch of sweet potatoes and onions, reusable is once again the name of the game. Try sourcing a lightweight alternative for your fresh produce.
A few other examples of minimising plastic use:
At the end of the day, it’s the combination of minimising our use of plastic as well as the proper disposal of all our goodies, that makes the difference. We have some bad habits to kick, and we all know how difficult that is. Keep in mind that we’re working with a metaphorical ticking time bomb, so it is of the essence to get going – and what better time than during Plastic-Free July.