I know some of my readers are taking part in Plastic Free July and maybe by now, the reality of how difficult giving up single-use plastic can be is starting to sink in. I know how we felt in January when we realised just how difficult buying everyday things, such as washing-up liquid, was.
We went cold turkey when we started to live plastic free, and it probably was not the best strategy.
A few years ago, I did the local evaluations for Dry January (the campaign that asks you to give up alcohol for the month of January). Those who managed to stay dry for the whole month, often drank far less after the campaign had finished. However, I quickly realised that for some people, staying dry for a whole month was a massive challenge and if they fell off the wagon, they often did not bother to get back onto the wagon – i.e. they carried on drinking. Of course, this is not what the campaign wanted people to do. If they did start drinking alcohol again one night, they wanted them to think ‘OK, never mind, tomorrow is a new start’. But sadly they often did not.
Interestingly, Liverpool did not do Dry January, they did Drier January….I won’t comment on why they decided to go down this route, but I think they were correct to do so. Even if people reduced their alcohol consumption a bit, that was much better than feeling like a failure and stopping the challenge altogether.
So, if you do fall off the plastic-free wagon, don’t worry. Just keep calm and carry on! Imagine, if you just manage to reduce your plastic usage by 10%, there are over 10,000 people apparently signed up to do Plastic Free July – so if that number all reduced their plastic usage by 10%, think of the impact we can have.