Day 19: Plastic Free July 2014

In my last post I mentioned that I have just come back from a short holiday. I’ve been trying to work out the best way that I can write about this, without simply making it a log of all of the plastic we encountered and consumed which runs the risk of being dry, not to mention depressing as – believe me! – there was plastic everywhere…

I quickly gave up on the idea of trying to tightly monitor the plastic we accepted on holiday. It really wouldn’t have been fun for anyone (me, my family or the hotel staff), plus sometimes you have to make a big effort to avoid small amounts of plastic, and is it really worth the hassle in the bigger picture?

Bare with me!

We did avoid plastic where we could, for example, we brought our own picnic lunch with us on the first day, and we packed our bar soap, shampoo and conditioners from home. I had tucked my entire collection of foldable and reusable Onya bags into my suitcase, which I dutifully used instead of plastic carriers. The new tea strainers and tea leaves came along for the holiday, so we avoided using a single tea bag in the hotel room.

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On top of that we did other ‘green’ things like bring home the pile of paper waste that we’d accumulated, to be recycled.

The point I’m making, however, is that for all of the small things we did to play our part in Plastic Free July, it felt like a drop in the huge ocean of plastic that was being used in the hotel.

If you are reading this and thinking but every little piece of plastic saved makes a difference! then rest assured that I agree with you. Small actions add up and over time, or with lots of people doing small actions, big changes can be made. Somehow though for this holiday, it didn’t seem enough for me.

The best way that I can think of that I might make a difference to the way this hotel runs, is to email them with suggestions for changes they can make that will have a positive impact on the environment.

Now, I have to admit that a part of me is sighing at the thought of sitting down and composing that email! It will be time consuming and, during Plastic Free July I’ve been taking part in a fair amount of time consuming activities such as cooking, baking, juice squeezing and making special shopping trips for plastic-free products. However, I’m pleased with my progress and I really want to have some things to show for all of my work. If nothing else, my email will have to be read by someone at the hotel and hopefully I will receive a response. This will involve someone thinking, even just a little bit, about what I’ve written.

Some of my fellow bloggers have been illustrating through their writing, the impact that their letters and emails have made during Plastic Free July. Rita day got an amazing response here to an email she sent asking for plastic packaging to be left out of a product. Nicola wrote to Tea Pigs to find out if there is plastic in their tea temples and they emailed her back here, and Zoe wrote to Dairycrest and tweeted Kallo here about their stock cube wrappers. I also tweeted five companies to ask if they use plastic in their tea bags and got an answer from two, which you can read about here, and I tweeted the Ethical Superstore to ask if they could label relevant products as ‘plastic free’ which they agreed to do.

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Hopefully all of this shows that consumers have a voice, and that sometimes positive results are actually achieved!

I will therefore dutifully sit down and write my email and I will, of course, keep you up to date. In the meantime, if you have contacted a company about issues related to plastic, then I’d love to hear about it. If you have been considering writing about a product then why not do it now! A tweet can take less than one minute but still make a huge impact :-)

10 thoughts on “Day 19: Plastic Free July 2014

  1. I love the idea of companies stating whether something they sell is plastic free. In my quest for plastic-free sunflower and pumpkin seeds it’s terribly frustrating to visit a website and not be able to see any of the packaging… just a picture of some seeds! And not to have any indication of how they are packed.

    • I agree, I’d never given it much thought until someone posted a comment on here about it! It would definitely be a deciding factor for me about who gets my business.

  2. When I started so few people were talking about this issue let alone blogging! I have seen a huge change. When I started FB page planet trash to document plastic pollution and those fighting it I knew all the plastic boycooters by name – now there are too many to list Change is happening and we are making it happen! Well done you x

    • It’ll be interesting to see how things change in the future. Plastic Free July seems to be a growing movement and once people have their eyes opened (I speak for myself!) it’s hard to close them again…

  3. I know you are in the UK, and I am in Australia, but I have been following your Plastic Free July journey via your blog. I am also participating in Plastic Free July here, and am learning so much along the way. I read with interest your blog about plastic in tea bags, and thought “there’s no way there is plastic in my tea-bags over here”. BUT, I thought I should follow it up, just for my peace of mind. I buy an Australian grown and owned brand of tea called Nerada which is packaged in a 95% recycled cardboard box, with no inner or outer plastic film unlike so many other brands on the supermarket shelves! Anyway, I decided to email the company and ask them, as there was nothing on their website that mentioned plastic in the bags. To my amazement, and to their credit, I received a response within half an hour. The low-down……. Yes, there are cellulose and thermo-plastic fibres in the bags which are necessary to seal the product! Gobsmacked, I was. Their bags are however, made from manila hemp, which has been oxygen whitened, not treated with chlorine or chlorine based compounds, so that is a big bonus. Anyway, we live and learn, and do our best to individually and collectively raise our awareness of these sorts of hidden issues. Keep up the good work!

    • Thanks for your comment – it really touched me. It’s very disappointing to discover something like this especially where a company goes to great lengths to cover all other bases! It’s hard not to see it as deception. I agree that we live and learn – it’s the best we can do.

      On another note, it’s good to know that we can now get information so easily through email and social media. If we can find the right questions, we can make progress x

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