Updated: May 3
Almost a year ago I wrote this blog about my journey to reduce the plastic in my life. I thought it was time for it to be updated as I have continued on that journey. I hope you like what I have discovered.......
A while back I was in Heirloom Café in Edlesborough1, a village close by. It is a wonderful little shop not far from the green. I had stopped to get a sandwich and a drink and as I waited for my order, I looked around the shop. There was a wide range of plastic free goods there so I thought I would try a bamboo toothbrush and some toothpaste that was in a glass jar. Very slowly and gradually in the months during Covid I had become aware of how much plastic we use every day and how difficult it can be to stop using it.
How does this relate to yoga I hear you say? There has been lots of research done about the effects of breathing and, of course, in a yoga class we do focus on breathing. When we slowing the breath, we can change the way we feel, it can lower our heart rate and our blood pressure, reduce stress levels and combat anxiety.2
Slowing our breath can also reduce pain and even help our decision making. This is where I am making the link. Maybe, because I practice yoga regularly, and by default I practice breath awareness, I have given myself the space to recognise the impact of plastic on our environment. This has then enabled me to try ways that are reasonable for me to change how I shop. Over time, it has turned into a journey to reduce the amount of single use plastic that I use.
I began by looking around my house to see what I could change and tried out soap for shampooing and conditioning my hair. For me, it was a success as I found they lathered up pretty well and my hair didn’t look and feel that different. I know that soap bars are not for everyone as they can irritate the scalp. This means that I have lost at least two plastic containers in the bathroom.
A good friend recommended ‘The Good Life’3, where you take along your container for what you want to buy. I visited their market stall in Dunstable but they also have a stall in Leighton Buzzard and an online shop. They can do deliveries if your order is over £10. They supply dried goods like beans and lentils, couscous and quinoa.
My daughter introduced me to Smol,4 they deliver cleaning products to your door eliminating plastic wrapping and packaging. I switched to using their dishwasher tablets and laundry capsules, my only concern is getting into their child deterrent boxes, they are extremely effective. You do need to sign up to regular deliveries which can be concerning when you are putting your details onto yet another website.
Then I joined Green Peace and began to learn what we, in the UK, are doing with our waste plastic, we are sending it to other countries like Malaysia and getting them to burn it.5 The air has got so bad in these countries that the local populations are developing severe medical problems. It is good news that the government are supporting research and development to reduce plastic packaging.6
The latest part of my journey has been to have milk delivered again.7 I am now having milk delivered to my doorstep three days a week. I have found it quite exciting to open the front door to a couple of pints of milk, some yoghurts and, wait for it!! One day a week I get fresh, organic fruit and vegetables! I do realise that this isn’t for everyone, it is of course more expensive to do this way and not necessarily affordable when you have a family to feed. That was the reason why I moved to buying milk from the local shop way back when my children were at home.
The vegetables and fruit come packed in a cardboard box so no plastic at all. The milk and yoghurt are in glass jars which I wash and return, just like the old days. I used to take the milkman for granted but now I certainly don’t.
Has my little story inspired you to make a few changes? If you are already on this journey are there ideas that I could also try?
Since writing my original article I have continued to cut down on my use of plastic and I have also joined The Big Plastic Count from Green Peace. Here is what Green Peace says about their initiative:
I’m joining #TheBigPlasticCount – the UK’s biggest ever investigation into household plastic waste. For one week, 16–22 May, people all over the country are counting their plastic packaging waste to help gather new, game-changing evidence of the true scale of the plastic problem. The results will show the government what really needs to be done to tackle it, and the more people who take part, the more impact we'll have. Will you join me? Here’s the link: https://act.gp/3iOmgvD
Would you be happy to join? I have also included some links below (8,9) to help you.
Trying to reduce my use of plastic hasn't been easy at all. When I visit the supermarket they still have lots of packaging on all the fresh items that I like to buy, like apples and satsumas. In some supermarkets they do provide loose produce and weighing scales so I use these when I can. I am now growing my own lettuce and tomatoes but it will be a while before I can actually get a tomato to eat!! I have also switched to cream deodorant in a glass tub and toothpaste tablets which I store in a metal case.
I have also found a lovely YouTube channel called Go Gently with Bonnie Wright. Bonnie is famous from her Harry Potter days and she provides a different spin on how we can all help with the challenges of climate change.
I hope this little update has inspired you, let me know.
2. ‘Take a breath’ Just One Thing podcast with Dr Michael Moseley found on BBC Sounds
3. The Good Life https://www.thegoodliferefill.com/
8. Video of the Big Plastic Count How it works | The Big Plastic Count
9. The Big Plastic Count Sheet The-Big-Plastic-Count-Tally-Sheet-Digital.pdf(thebigplasticcount.com)