Deniz goes plastic free — Week one in which I more or less miserably fail

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This July (and a bit), I am joining the Plastic-free July Challenge and going plastic-free; trying to refuse what I don't need, reduce what I do need and reuse what I consume.

I started off my plastic-free journey thinking that in some aspects of my life, I am already following plastic-free practices. In no particular order other than the order I just thought of them:

  • I always carry a reusable water bottle with me

  • It’s a rare occasion that I go impromptu grocery shopping, so %90 of the time I have my own cloth bags with me

  • My office has a coffee machine and real cups, it’s very rare that I need to get takeaway coffee.

  • I don’t really drink soft drinks, thus no plastic bottles

  • Similarly, I rarely drink milk, and when I do it’s in my coffee, which is made by the magical elves in the coffee machine. So I don’t buy milk in plastic cartons

  • I’m not an Instagram “influencer” so the drinks I order at bars usually come in pint glasses — no straws

Sounds pretty promising right?

Well, that’s what I thought and started off the week pretty cocky. I (mistakenly) believed I wouldn’t need to make that many lifestyle changes — foolish girl. 

The bad news is: I am not nearly as plastic-free as I thought I was. What I thought would be an easy week turned out to be a week of me cursing under my breath about yet another thing wrapped in plastic I used and bought.

I managed my first faux-pas on day one, although I only left my house for about 3 hours. I decided to go see a film at a nearby cinema by myself as the independent adult woman that I am but wanted to get snacks (ie: candy) because I am not really an adult. I not only bought candy (which comes in plastic bags) but also a (plastic) bottle of water because I had left mine at home.

See, the thing is, I didn’t even realize what I did until I got home and emptied my bag only to see the results of my sin. Throughout the week I did this, mindlessly purchasing things I “needed” wrapped in plastic, several times.

I also bought things I did need, groceries, wrapped in plastic. In my head, I do my grocery shopping once a week, usually on the weekend, somewhat planning what I’m going to buy. Because in my head, I am an adult person who has her shit together. While this might be true some weeks, this past week wasn’t one of them.

I made five trips to the grocery store in seven days. You know what is usually wrapped in plastic in grocery stores? EVERYTHING. I thought I would be fine in the grocery department. At this point, no one is surprised I was extremely wrong.

Lettuce, carrots, tomatoes, celery, cheese, bread wrapped in plastic wrong. I gave up on few things, like a single cucumber wrapped in plastic because that’s just silly, but a girl’s gotta eat.

Photo: Alamy via Independent

I also forgot I had cheese at home and bought cheese on three different occasions. Which, of course, comes wrapped in plastic.

Cheese and plastic party at mine anyone?

All in all, my first week going plastic-free was a humbling lesson on how “not-so-simple” going plastic-free was going to be. I realised carrying a Dopper bottle around and shoving my groceries in my backpack was a tiny step for both me and humankind.

This is going to take much more planning and being conscious than I thought. That’s probably why it’s called a “challenge” and not a “carry on with your life just making small changes.” But take my word for it, next week I am going to get back to you with much better news.

Until then, stay cool as a cucumber not wrapped in plastic.

Not sure what the Plastic-Free July Challenge is? Read more about it here

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