I was recently approached by The Midcounties Co-operative and challenged to do something that at first sounded pretty gross and after some thought, a little scary. My challenge was simple – I was asked to set aside all single-use plastics consumed in my household for one week and then take a look at it and document my thoughts.
So I did – and the first thing I noticed before I had even finished the collection was how bad my family are at correctly sorting waste – it actually took quite a lot of (dirty) work making sure that all of the single-use plastic was syphoned off into a separate collection unit and I was often fishing recyclable plastic out of our general waste. That was problem number one.
And then the week was over – and there it all was right before my eyes and a pretty sobering sight it was.
There are five of us in our family. The children, arguably the most at risk of the effects of a planet strangled by plastic, have very little awareness of the effects of basic choices that they make – I was really surprised at how many convenience plastic bottles they were picking up in a week.
But my husband and I need to take a long look at the way we consume and dispose too – interestingly I actually spent most of the week feeling like we were doing pretty well – and then our weekly food shop arrived and I noticed with horror just how little attention I pay to the packaging that my fresh fruit, vegetables and meat arrives in. After all they don’t exactly shout about that on the shopping websites.
Our continued purchasing of milk in plastic containers frustrated me- I know there is a better alternative and I only need to make that call to change it – my milkman is ready and waiting (that call has now been made!)
The coffee pods…. chilling. There are probably usually more for us but we had both worked away from home but I know we could so easily go back to the simplicity of a cafetière – they weren’t so bad!
My brilliant friend and fellow MumBoss Raechel runs The Liminality – a fantastic service helping businesses get more sustainable and she’s always recommended living like your Nana. Think back to the typical 1950s housewife – you don’t need to use cling film. Just put a plate on top of a bowl! It’s so simple yet I’m still (judging from this massive pile of waste) not yet doing it. There’s another change for me.
So in summary it’s a challenge I’m really pleased I accepted and I now pass the baton on to you – collect your plastics for a week and share the results with me? I’d love to see that other people can be inspired to make 1change and we can all sign up to pledge what our one change will be at the The Midcounties Co-operative website. I’m making two – I’m calling in the milkman and I’m chucking out the cling film – longterm I’ll be ditching the coffee pods too.
Whilst I’ve been working on this campaign I was particularly impressed by one of The Midcounties Co-operative’s own pledges or targets (they have a few but this stood out to me) – their ‘Next Generation’ target is to engage fifty partner schools and education establishments in a ‘plastic is not
fantastic’ education campaign by 2022, and ensure that all their Co-operative Childcare Nurseries maintain eco schools status – this is great work and I look forward to confirmation that it happens.
Baby steps Mamans – the situation is scarily close to becoming irreversible – 1change made by a million people will really make a huge difference.
This is a paid partnership with The MidCounties Co-operative