Month 3 – plastic-free, eco-friendly living

This is now my third month attempting to live in a more eco-friendly way and cutting down on single-use plastics. During the previous 2 months it has all been relatively easy sailing until this month when, faced with the scale of the problem, I began to wonder how much of an impact I was having. Two things made me question what I was doing.

The first was seeing an area near where I lived full of litter, having only weeks previously, litter-picked and completely cleared  it of rubbish. I felt like Sisyphus pushing that boulder up a hill, only to see it roll back down again. Then, as I was taking a walk through a beautifully wooded area near to where I live, I came across a massive pile of rubbish that had been fly tipped. The sheer amount, not to mention the brazenness of what I was witnessing, made me really stop and wonder if I was doing enough.

Fly-tipping in my local area

As fate would have it, I received an email not too long afterwards from Stockport Council asking for volunteers to be part of their new Keep Britain Tidy Campaign. It would mean having my photo taken and used for their publicity material.

At first I was reluctant. The thought of so many people seeing my face and making a complete fool of myself was a daunting prospect. But then when I sat down to really think about it, I decided that if I was going to make more of an impact and really encourage others to cut down on single-use plastics, recycle more and generally live a more eco-friendly, sustainable existence, the best way to do so was through education. The Keep Britain Tidy campaign has the ability to reach far more people than I ever could alone through this blog and social media. So I decided to volunteer and this week the Keep Britain Tidy team arrived to take pictures of me recycling.

One of things we discussed was the low rates of recycling in flats. This wasn’t something I’d given too much thought to before but then reflecting on my own experience living in flats, I couldn’t help but acknowledge that living in a flat does make it difficult to recycle. You have to hold onto all the things you want to recycle in your flat which doesn’t look good and it all has to be carried through your flat, down stairs and out into the communal rubbish area. It’s easy to see why the majority of people just end up putting it all in one rubbish bag and throwing it all away. I took it for granted living in our previous house and now it’s something I really have to make a special effort to do.

Back to the photo shoot and it turned out to be a lot less glamorous than you might imagine (Vogue won’t be calling any time soon I wouldn’t imagine) and I now have a greater appreciation for models and their ability to keep smiling for long periods of time whilst their face aches, people stare at them and you wonder if the camera is capturing all your double chins.

It was fun though in a strange way and I’m pleased I did it, if for no other reason than I say I did it and made a contribution. A vanity project it was not! I will however, let you all know when the campaign goes live and share with you the shots, even it is cringingly embarrassing for me because I want to spread the word as much as I can.

If you’re interested in seeing how I’ve been getting on so far you can read month 2 here: Plastic-free living month 2 and my first month here: Plastic-free living: my first month

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