The #plasticcap challenge (summary edition)
First off we want to thank everyone who supported, participated, and encouraged us throughout our plastic-free/plastic-tax September. It was an interesting and educational ride, and we’re happy we didn’t have to go it alone. With that being said, CHEERS! We made it to October. SO, how did it go? And what did we learn along the way?
As a reminder, the #plasticcap challenge was originated to raise awareness about plastic consumption and over-consumption. theDIHEDRAL along with several friends pledged to limit their plastic consumption, and tax themselves $1 for every item of plastic they bought during the month of September. We selected Access Fund as the non-profit to donate our accumulated plastic-tax at the end of the month1.
Total Tax: $47 My goal was to try and limit myself to $1/day, I wasn’t close, but at least I was in the ballpark.
What I learned: I wasn’t really surprised how hard it was to avoid plastic, but at the same time I was really surprised. A friend of mine tried to avoid buying a plastic toothbrush, and so bought a bamboo toothbrush, the problem of course is that it was packaged in plastic. So if you’re willing to look, you can (why isn’t there a conjunction for ‘you’ and ‘can’, do you guys think ‘yuc’n’ could become a thing?) find non-plastic alternatives, just be prepared to have them wrapped in plastic. Another thing I learned is just how motivated very young people can be when they recognize a problem, e.g. Molly Steer’s “Straw No More” movement, and how kids relate to goals in such a non-partisan manner. It sucks that the youngest generation has inherited damaged goods, but it’s uplifting to see them rise to the challenge, and this motivates me to do and be better!
How I’ve changed: The chance that I’ll ever use a plastic straw again is slim, the chance that I’ll ever use a plastic bag again is slim as well. I’ll avoid using one use plastics such as sandwich bags, and plastic wrap. And I will also bring my water bottle with me everywhere I go. I’ve acquired a healthy sense of guilt when I use a plastic object that could have been avoided, and while I recycle, I’ve learned I need to put a heavier emphasis reduction. I’ve learned is that if you store glass jars of natural peanut butter upside down, they are much easier to stir #lifehack! One of the most important lessons I’ve learned is that sometimes a simple idea among friends can lead to something truly amazing. With an idea and a little motivation yuc’n make a difference!
I’m honored to have been a part of the #plasticcap challenge, and I’m grateful to all those who have participated along the way!
Total Tax: $33
What I learned: The #plasticcap challenge taught me how difficult it’s going to be to eliminate the amount of plastic waste we discard, but it also gave me hope for the future. There are SO MANY alternatives to wasteful plastic products that people make up every single day. As more and more people try to cut down on plastic by buying these products, this will incentivize more and more awesome reusable things to be invented.
How I’ve Changed: Growing up in the typical Texas family probably means you haven’t been raised to care super deeply about taking care of the Earth. My home is a stone’s throw from cattle ranchers, who still burn their trash and use outhouses. (Probably not actually true but you get the idea). We’ve got plenty of room for landfills down here, so my family was never one to care too deeply about our carbon footprint. However, things ARE changing. I saw my mom come home with a box of metal straws last weekend!
I think I will definitely be drawn to use things like metal straws, reusable paper bags, and other sustainable products. There’s really every good reason to switch over. It’s economically positive, and Earth friendly!
Gaia & T…
Total Tax: $40 (more or less) I lost track the third week and was at $30.
What I learned: It is crazy to realize how much plastic we use even when we are aware of the process. This makes me wonder, how much do we even spend on plastic when we are not paying attention to this? If by avoiding the products and seeking for alternatives I still spent a decent amount of money, I don’t even want to imagine how many plastic products I bought on August, and July, and the month before that throughout many, many years.
How I’ve Changed: My son accepted the challenge as well and was constantly remembering me that we couldn’t buy plastic or straws -emphasis on this-, although he sometimes succumbed as well. We are very compelled to reduce our dependence on plastic, even more now than before. We have always been recycling advocates and have constantly picked up trash to put in the respective bins. However, after this challenge, we started to pay even more attention to the amount of plastic products there are out there and the neglect to dispose them in the right place. My son wants to make sure the turtles are safe and the earth is healthy! He said: “We need to write a paper that says -No More Plastic!-”
Grateful for this challenge, we’ll have to do this again next year, let’s do it together! (Also, let’s try to avoid plastic all year round as well hehe)
- For the original #plasticcap challenge article click here.
- A quick thank you for all the support, ideas, recommendations, and encouragement. If you participated, let us know how you did and what you’ve learned along the way. If you have any advice on how to maintain a life with less plastic, please comment below!