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PFJ – The Results

The results are in. Plastic Free July has come and gone, but how did it go?

Well, unsurprisingly there is the good, the bad and the ugly. Firstly the good, that seems like a nice place to start. My goal had been to reduce the number the horrible little black plastic bags that seem to make their way into our home. They are given out, all the time, when you buy anything, from food to clothes, paper products or fresh fruit, all come on these little blighters. Well the good news is that we managed to virtually irradiate them, but it wasn’t easy. We had to actually hand them back to people giving them to us, I had to get over any embarrassment as people laughed at my efforts and explanation was met with blank stares. I guess not having plastic bags is just another strange thing some mzungus do.

The biggest element to success or failure was unsurprisingly being prepared. By nature I am not one for preparation and organisation, but 5 years of motherhood have taught me that, in some situations preparation is key, like having a nappy bag available, you forget at your peril. Applying the same logic and fear of not having the necessaries has been invaluable. One of our favourite go to lunches is Rolex, a street food made of omelette rolled up in a chapati. These little lunch time treats are wrapped firstly in a clear plastic bag and then in one of those wee black blighters. So we needed to take an alternative. Obviously on my first attempt I forgot to take a box so borrowed from a friend. Harmony, the Rolex guy, naturally laughed at me, but was obliging enough.

The Bad: With all the gusto that a 30day challenge brings we merrily took our boxes to the cafe we occasionally get take away from, in advance of the evenings culinary joy. Feeling pleased with ourselves for our forethought, we were then disabused of our self congratulations when the food arrived, in the boxes but… in foil and plastic bags, in our boxes and then wrapped in a plastic bag for the journey. Hmmmm, well, lesson learned.

The Ugly: We have travelled a lot this month, which means that we have also switched to disposable nappies of doom for the journeys. Cloth nappies on the go without access to a washing machine felt like a step beyond my current capabilities, but perhaps that’s an excuse. They really are truly awful things, but wonderfully convenient. Ultimately that is the rub. When it comes to it, how much are we willing to give ourselves more hassle when our days seems hassle-filled enough. I guess the answer is how much do we care? We care for our cubs and so expect that hassle (and joy) that having children brings. Because we love them, value them and we know that it’s worth it.

Do we care about our planet? I hope so, and so the hassle should be worth it. The lazy, cheap option is actually the expensive option in the end. If we truly love our children it’s also probably worth trying not to destroy their futures and the world they’ll live in. I guess when we are asked by future generations “why is the world is the way that is it?” the answer that it was too much hassle to do things differently, is probably not going to cut it.

So my Plastic Free July will certainly not have saved the planet but it has continued my journey to being more thoughtful about my actions and purchases. How was your Plastic Free July?

Oh and my Number 1 lesson is definitely: Be Prepared!