This week guest blogger Jildou shares her first ever Plastic-Free Tuesday. Would you also like to share your plastic-free experiences here? Please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
When I read about Plastic-Free Tuesday on my friend’s Facebook one evening not so long ago, I was immediately enthusiastic. Although I must confess that I’m always up for this sort of bottom-up positive initiatives, for example; I’ve tried post-crossing (which I can recommend everybody (Google it!)), I must also admit that when my friend contacted me a while later and asked me if I wanted write about my Plastic-Free Tuesday experience for this blog, I was at first a little hesitant. What would I write about? I mean, going a day using as little plastic as possible would be a piece of cake, right? Reading Marlies’ story was already an eyeopener regarding all the non food related plastics used on a daily basis so I decided I would just focus on using as little food related plastics as possible. As it turned out, plastic free breakfast and dinner were quite easy and both incredibly delicious. Lunch and snacks without plastic proved to be more of a challenge. What I really liked experiencing was that, in really focussing on not using plastic at all, I got a good look at everything I am consuming and throwing in the waste bin each day, and yes many things are wrapped in plastic! All in all, I have seen groceries and food from a complete different perspective. And in doing so, have become aware of some important things! I’ll tell you about it later, first I will describe my Tuesday.
My Tuesday starts at 7:30 am with an alarm clock and a full day of work ahead of me. As my priorities focus mainly on my warm bed and remaining in it as long as possible, breakfast is usually hurried and to-go. Today however, I managed to get myself up a little early and have breakfast with my boyfriend. Mainly, to plan this special day and make this photo. Conveniently, my boyfriend bakes his own bread. A perfect opportunity to go without the plastic bag in which store-bought bread is normally found. So no plastic there. However, in overanalysing the situation, I must confess that the yeast is packaged in plastic. But, as a normal size bread contains 4 grams of yeast, and we buy the yeast in 500 gram packages, the plastic waste is at least reduced considerably. So maybe a little plastic there, but overall, I’m doing great. Tea is without plastic and so are the chocolate sprinkles (paper box). Good start of the plastic free day.
Got to work without consuming plastic. I drove by car, which is filled with plastic, but, leaving other environmental issues aside, convinced myself that trains and busses have more plastic and starting my day with a bike ride of 2.5 hours would not make for a happy story. So driving was permitted.
Work. At work I usually drink tea. For every cup of tea I used to use a new teabag. When I was a student, I used to reuse my teabag, but somehow I forgot about that habit. Plastic free tuesday made me realise this again. Quick win. As a pre-lunch snack I ate a banana. It’s the only fruit we have at work that doesn’t come in plastic bags and thus kept my plastic score nice and low. At lunch time things became difficult. At work, on Tuesday, it is custom for my colleagues to have lunch together. As we have a lunch lady who goes shopping for lunch items almost every day, lunch is always very delicious with fresh bread, fruit and vegetables. There is also a large variety of things to put on the bread (chicken curry salad, all sort of meat, jam, chocolate sprinkles etc.). However, very few things don’t come in plastic. Even the cheese slices are wrapped individually. Basically only the chocolate sprinkles and jam come in plastic free packages. Since, from the enormous abundance of choices left for plastic-free-me, only chocolate sprinkles is something I can enjoy, lunch was not that good. I ate a few slices of bread and another banana. By 3 pm i was craving for something other than banana. And while I was seriously considering combing plastic packaged ham, cheese and ketchup and making myself a tosti, I decided to remain plastic free and I ate a knackebrod cracker with jam. Healthy for sure! But not my favourite. Not by a long shot. So if this plastic free tuesday is to become a plastic free week/month/year, some preparation will be necessary to get the lunch I like without the plastic I don’t.
Dinner was a lot of fun! Of course, first I got to go shopping. When you get out of work at 5:30 pm, there is no time to go to the market which would obviously be the first choice for plastic free shopping. But a supermarket would have to do for me. And maybe this would be, in it’s difficulty to keep my low plastic score, an enjoyable challenge. Which proved to so when I encountered ‘the carrot problem’. Which is basically me looking for a carrot not wrapped in plastic. My local supermarket contained exactly zero plastic free carrots. So, I went to a different supermarket just to get my plastic free carrot (yes, by car, but only this one time to make a plastic statement).
After this, I hurried home to prepare for diner. I like cooking, but on a week day I don’t want to be in the kitchen longer than 30 minutes. However, as I had a friend coming over, I had to prepare a proper diner. So, fast but good. I decided on risotto with carrots, beans and celeriac. Which is quite easy, delicious and a perfect winter dish. During diner we enjoyed a nice cool glass(!) of beer (which is probably why I forgot to take a picture). This finished my Tuesday.
All in all I think my plastic free Tuesday was quite successful. It made me more aware of exactly how much of my daily food is packaged in plastic. And how much needs to change in my daily routine before I will consume less plastic. While breakfast and dinner can for me be quite easily realized snacks and lunch are more of a challenge. Fortunately, it is not my goal to go plastic free cold turkey. For me, every week another step will do. And my tip for you: try it some time, but when you do plan and be creative.