Hello, and thanks for taking the trouble to come on over and read my blog. As this is my first post, allow me to introduce myself. I’m an English girl who’s been living in Western Australia for a little over a year. I’ve always been interested in the environment and sustainability, but in the last year things have really started to change for me.
It began with Plastic Free July 2012, an initiative of the Western Earth Carers. The idea: attempt to buy no plastic packaging in July for 1 shopping trip, 1 day, 1 week or 1 month. The purpose: to raise awareness of the amount of single use disposable plastic in our lives.
I signed up for a month. I mean, how hard could it be? I considered myself pretty environmentally friendly. I diligently recycled. I took my own bags to the supermarket. I bought all my fruit and veggies loose. I only took a plastic bag when I knew I needed one to line my bin…
My epiphany (let’s call it that) came when I saw Bag It! The Movie, which was being screened by the Earth Carers at a community event to promote Plastic Free July. Until then, I don’t think I’d actually considered how much plastic was in my life.
Once I started looking, I saw plastic everywhere. In my grocery cupboard, even the cardboard packets had plastic inside them. In the bathroom almost every bottle was plastic. Glass containers had plastic lids, plastic seals, plastic pully things… it never ended!
It was then that I realized that for me, this challenge was about more than going plastic free for a month. It wasn’t about stockpiling all the plastic-wrapped things I felt I could not do without on the 30th June, and then sitting the month out. And it wasn’t about going without. It’s about finding alternatives, changing habits, and trying to make my life that little bit more sustainable. And not just for July, but permanently.
Plastic Free July may be all about reducing single use plastic, but for me it has ended up being so much more. It inspired me to make positive changes to my life in a way I would never have imagined. It has led me to look at my consumption, change my shopping and eating habits, open my eyes to the power of community, meet some fantastic new people and learn new skills. And the most exciting part is that it’s just the start of my journey.