Motivation for our #plasticchallenge. This is the result of one quick beach clean!

Motivation for our #plasticchallenge. This is the result of one quick beach clean!

A week or so into the WiseOceans Lent #plasticchallenge we thought it would be interesting to take stock and see how the challenge is going. It’s fair to say it has been just as challenging as we thought but we’ve been committed to it and dare I say even enjoyed it?

As expected, there were areas we found really challenging but we also had some wins.

Working away from home

Whilst working away from home at the Dive Show in London, Abbie & I made sure than in addition to our reusable water bottles (that we always use) we took a reusable travel mug to get our cups of tea in.  Most outlets were more than happy to serve our tea in these mugs although one did refuse (we are contacting them to get some feedback on why this is there policy).

We took our own food for the team to eat each day and whilst we were able to minimise some plastic (taking our sandwiches in reusable containers, buying loose fruit) it was quite tricky to be entirely plastic free when trying to feed 8 people when you’re not in your own home, have limited access to shops and very little time. Where we did buy things like crisps/popcorn we bought them in large packets. We also resisted the free sweets (in plastic wrappers) that abounded at the show.

On the way home one evening after the show I did take my reusable container to the Chinese takeaway though and they were more than happy to put my order in that rather than their disposable, non-recyclable containers.

The amazing coconut oil (with plastic wrapper)Plastic free shampooToiletries/beauty products

I am now the proud owner of a large (glass) jar of coconut oil and am in the process of discovering how much I can do with it. Full disclosure: My jar of coconut oil had a plastic sleeve around the jar top (the lid also contains plastic – more on the perils of online shopping below.) So far, I’ve used it on my hair as conditioner, as hand lotion and on my face as a moisturiser and I love it. I’ve also swapped to a shampoo bar which is ….OK….but doesn’t quite leave my hair how I’m used to. However, I’m going to give it time and also try some others (I will share my reviews at the end of the challenge)

Plastic packaging from my glassesShopping online

We’ve all got used to the convenience of online shopping but you do lose much of the control over how much plastic is used in packaging.

I bought a pair of glasses online, which came in 3 separate bits of plastic!

A member of the team received some clothes through the post (bought before the Lent challenge), which were wrapped in copious amounts of plastic.

Plastic bags from 'bagless' online shoppingAnother member of the team who has a small baby, does her food shopping online (in her words…baby + supermarket = hell). Valiantly she tried to do her best when ordering her weekly shop. She ordered loose vegetables where possible (which cost more) and chose the ‘bagless’ delivery from the supermarket, but still ended up with these bags.

The positive thing about this challenge, regardless of wins and losses is the conversation it brings about. I’ve had daily conversations with friends and strangers about plastic and so many people have said to me that they hadn’t really thought how easy it would be to make some of the changes. The challenge for us though is of course to go beyond the reusable water bottle/reusable bag etc…

Next week’s mission is finding my local weigh and save shop, trying a home made deodorant and finding more ways to use my lovely coconut oil!