PUTTING THE “ISH” INTO SUSTAINABLE
During Plastic-Free July I thought a lot about the concept of "plastic-free" and how it feels out of reach for most of us (including me).
Although I'm hugely passionate about the need to reduce our use of plastics (both our own use as a family, and as a global community) I can't confess to living anything like a plastic-free life. For us as a family, I'm not sure how achievable "plastic-free living" actually is. There are the inevitable compromises that come with kids, and with living with a partner who although supportive, isn't quite on the same page as me.
If it was just me on my own, I would be quite rigid, dare I say, even draconian. I would forgo sweets and crisps, and anything else packaged in plastic.
But do you know what? Sometimes my kids want a packet of sweets. OK, pretty much anytime of the day or night my kids would quite happily scoff a packet of sweets.
When we do our supermarket shop they love nothing more than hanging around in the magazine aisle longingly eyeing up the latest tat encrusted offerings. And there's only so many times I have the resilience to say "No". Sometimes I will confess, I weaken. I try to direct them to the 'least bad' option, but sometimes I just can't face the tantrums.
So when I was putting together my e-guide to help people reduce the amount of single use plastics they are using, I didn't want to call it a "Plastic-Free" e-guide. Because it's a bit off-putting isn't it? The pressure, the expectation that after reading it, you'd be living this perfect plastic-free life. That you would have easily embraced all things re-usable and would be happily skipping around your nearest zero-waste store (making the massive assumption that you have a zero waste store near you to skip around..)
And that all your waste for the year would fit into a mason jar.
We all know that that's super unlikely to happen, no matter how great my e-guide is 😉
So I went with a title of The Essential Guide to a Plastic-Free(ish) Home, and the whole "ish" things is something I am loving!
It works for everything:
- plastic-free (ish) kids, home, family, camping etc.
- zero-waste (ish) baking, travelling, back to school
- sustainable (ish) fashion, food, celebrations.
It's acknowledging the fact that for most of us, there are no absolutes.
That it's ok just to get started and to have to make compromises.
To not be perfectly "plastic-free" or "zero-waste", to not live a 100% "sustainable life".
It's about working out the bits that you can do, and then doing them.
Instead of feeling overwhelmed and like you could never be plastic-free, or zero-waste, or perfectly sustainable, so why even bother starting.
We need to start. We need to focus on progress, not perfection.
So maybe you want to find alternatives to bottles of shampoo, but you just can't get on with shampoo bars. So you end up buying 5L bottles of shampoo and using them to re-fill your smaller bottles. It's a plastic-free(ish) solution. It's not perfect. But it's progress.
The "ish" means getting started. It means picking your battles. Figuring out what works for you and your family, which in all likelihood isn't the same thing that works for young singletons living in large cities. And in all likelihood probably isn't even the same thing as your friend down the road.
But we all need to do what we can if we are to have an impact on climate change, or plastic pollution, or fast fashion.
It's a journey. It's your journey. It's a journey that might not even have a destination - you may never even reach the nirvana of "a sustainable life". I certainly haven't.
But you can be "sustainable (ish)" and "plastic-free (ish)" and "zero-waste (ish)" right from the moment you decide to take action and make a difference.