Bristol-based animal-lover and environmentalist. I work in Communications at the School of Education, University of Bristol.
My challenge
A plastic free month - eliminate single-use plastics from grocery/household shop

As I look back over the past 30 days, I feel a mixture of emotions. I’m feeling inspired by the other ambassadors and our sharing of this experience together, achievement at having broken some long-time habits and relief that the month of March is coming to close (catching Covid half way through meant this month has been at points less than enjoyable). 

I have made steps towards my declared goal of eliminating single-use plastics from our household groceries but I am far from achieving it completely. There are many fantastic alternatives to plastic-ridden supermarkets (zero waste shops, local delis, Milk & More etc) that I have embraced and will continue to use but there are so many smaller habits engrained within us that the wall we seem to smack up against repeatedly is one built by desire for convenience and lack of planning (being too busy!).

Naomi, another cChange / SoE ambassador said in their day 30 blog post:

‘So I’ve learnt a lot more than I expected to, and done a lot less than I imagined’

and I don’t think I can sum it up any better than that. 

I haven’t achieved what I’d hoped to – at least not entirely, but there have been smaller wins that have shown me that change is possible and worthwhile.

I can’t believe another week has flown past! It was lovely to catch up with some of the other ambassadors taking part in the challenge in our weekly catch up on Thursday. Listening to the stories and experiences of others was interesting and inspirational, I came away definitely feeling inspired to cook more, (thanks to Caroline and her tales of vegetarian cooking!).

We are having a treat tonight, as it’s Friday! I went to Aldi today to get some shopping for a neighbour and was pleasantly surprised to see dog treats in a cardboard box, so picked some up for our pup – along with a vegan dessert for us!

I’m pleased with these plastic-free purchases and looking forward to the weekend!

My househould is having leftover vegetable soup tonight as I forgot to do the grocery shop (ie I didn’t leave enough time – something which I am learning is going to be key in this challenge!)

Perhaps mindfulness is as key as effort, consideration and thought both vital to breaking unhealthy, environmentally damaging habits. I need to make more time to adapt to this change – not only as we are running out of frozen leftovers helping me avoid the food shop!

A week in to the challenge and although Monday mornings are not always a source of joy, I opened the front door this morning to find my delivery from Milk & More had arrived! (Oat milk, orange juice & laundry detergent plus fabric conditioner – all in glass bottles.)

The weekend was easy in terms of minimising waste, my partner and I stayed in a hotel with family so things like household waste, meal prep and grocery shopping were distant memories. We collected some fruit & veg from a farm shop on our journey home and are planning a trip to Zero Waste tomorrow to do a weekly shop. 

Day four and there have a been a few obstacles pop up on this path already! Food shopping hasn’t yet become too problematic although I asked my partner to pick up some bread on their way home and when they arrived with a loaf of Hovis (complete with it’s own plastic bag) I realised if I am going to make last-minute requests for groceries, I need to include the reminder about no-plastics each time! 

Rather than berate myself for this, I am going to take inspiration from Mario’s day 1 blog post, and re-use this plastic bread bag for something else when the bread has been consumed!

I want to reverse my habit of buying single-use plastics whilst shopping for household groceries and as an individual. I own a metal water bottle and reusable coffee cup but will often forget them when out and about and am prone to buy lunch last minute (and in environmentally unfriendly packaging if nothing else available).
I’m planning a trip to my local zero-waste supermarket this weekend, whilst my partner has committed to using our local deli and butcher rather than on the ‘big 4’ supermarkets. I will need to work on my organisational skills for this challenge (more prior planning required – less convenience shopping!) but am looking forward to the month ahead.