June – Plastic Free Challenge

So – at the start of this month my niece Beth set Rosie and I a challenge to change something in our behaviour to begin to address the dreadful state of our oceans (not to mention landfill and general rubbish) by reducing our disposable plastic consumption June Challenge.  We decided that it had to be one step at a time – so we pledged to give up buying plastic drinking bottles for the month – with a view to stopping them altogether.  This is where we are up to half way through the month………….

I didn’t make a bad start and got through the first 10 days with no plastic bottles.  Rosie had one disaster – desperate for a drink when shopping in London and could not find an alternative to a bottle – so that’s one down…….  On 10th June we came away for a week to Kefalonia in Greece.  We planned well and brought our reusable bottles with us – but it is a real challenge here!  Tap water is still not recommended for drinking – so its bottled water or boil everything in a travel kettle – no doubt wasting endless energy resources and spending all our days in the kitchen.

So this is how we’ve handled it:

  • No single bottles of water/coke etc. – we fill our bottles or buy cans
  • No litre bottles for general use – we lug the 5 litre ones up the hill to our apartment and refil.  At least they do recycle plastic waste here (at least the plastic that makes it that far). So far we have bought 4 of these.
  • Eating out is tricky as you automatically get given a bottle of water and neither of us is ready to insult these lovely hospitable people by telling them we don’t want one (besides which we are thirsty and need a drink) – so that’s one plastic bottle a day………….. but I have refused plastic straws.
  • Postscript to the above – sparking water comes in glass bottles so we’ve switched to that!

Other things we have done:

  • Shampoo and conditioner bars – plastic free and great for travelling – from Lush
  • The only face and body scrub and moisturiser you could ever need – both from Lush – in plastic pots – but Lush do take them back and reuse them
  • Plastic free bags provided by our tour operator – so we refuse plastic bags from the supermarket – but even this is a challenge as your shopping is packed for you before you have a chance to say – into plastic bags……….

What makes this heartbreaking is that coming to this lovely island makes you aware of the devastation that plastic is having on the ocean and our sea life.  The dive centre has the skeleton of an enormous Cuvier’s Beaked Whale – washed up dead on one of the beaches and revealed to have died from plastic consumption at post-mortem.  Our snorkelling day showed us plastic lying on the ocean floor – and our skipper and first mate (also concerned about plastic) have been cleaning the beaches since the beginning of the season – on one tiny beach we collected two black bin liners full of plastic.  They recently released a loggerhead turtle caught up in a discarded plastic fishing net………..  And it is on the beaches wherever we go.

Finally – Rosie informs me that the best thing we can do for the environment (and animals) is to eat vegetarian – as she does all the time!  That – for one – is turning out to not be a hardship!

I for one am never going to manage to go plastic free – it’s just too difficult – but this month has really raised my awareness and I will continue to make all the small changes that I can!

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