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 :-)