Plogging & Plastic Free July

I will open this post by admitting that I am unsure whether I ‘passed’ or ‘failed’ plastic free July.  This was not through lack of effort or commitment; I am a strong minded individual, and very rarely give up on a goal I have set myself.

For those of you who may not be aware, plastic free July encourages people to eliminate the use of single-use plastic. I was inspired to take on plastic free July by Hortencia; I witnessed him (or her) throwing a Shnookle* in the bin, and I genuinely ran after him (OR HER) to question his behavior. His response was “oh I don’t really care and global warming doesn’t exist anyway” – an attitude which completely blows my mind.

I found plastic free July fairly simple when I only had myself to consider as I was taught from a young age to be environmentally conscious; my Dad has always drilled this into me. I’m also very lucky in the sense that it’s relatively easy to live plastic free in London, which I’m sure is not the case for many other cities!

However, cooking/eating/working with others has been a lot more challenging in terms of eliminating single use plastic. For example, a friend recently cooked for me using vegetables wrapped in plastic packaging, and there was no way that I was going to say, “oh sorry I’m not eating this meal you just spent over an hour preparing for me.” Perhaps I could have challenged her, and perhaps I SHOULD have challenged her, but in this situation I feel that would have been both rude and ungrateful.

Whilst this may mean I technically ‘failed’ plastic free July, participating in this movement has taught me two valuable lessons:

  1. I genuinely had no idea that most tea bags contain plastic**. I’m a massive tea drinker and therefore am rather embarrassed about this one, as it shows a lot of naivety on my part, but of course this new-found knowledge can only be a positive moving forward!
  2. So many running events are an environmental disaster. Of course, I was completely aware of this, but taking part in plastic free July forced me to confront it. Most of the races that I partake in are small, local events, therefore are inherently more environmentally friendly. Nonetheless, there are definitely a few things I can implement to become an eco-friendlier (is that a word?) runner. These include MORE PLOGGING, actually recycling my running shoes rather than clinging onto them until they smell like the actual fiery pits of hell, etc.

I would love to hear your feedback on plastic free July! Did you take part, and if so, how did you find it? I am also looking for recommendations for organised plogging events in and around London – please do let me know!

*A Shnookle does not exist. I made this up to protect Hortencia’s identity. I can confirm that this Shnookle was a re-usable item which absolutely did NOT need to be thrown away.

**Yorkshire Tea pledged to introduce a fully biodegradable tea bag by summer 2018 – does anyone know whether this has been implemented yet?

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