Pledging Plastic Free July and being caught in the midst of the lockdown has given me the time and impetus to do what I love - science - all the time. I have dedicated the entire month to expanding my pitiable awareness and practice regarding single-use plastic at home by identifying all of the problem areas and then actively researching the many exciting ways to solve them as I can and testing out a few options.
My contribution to the environmental cost of single-use plastic consumerism at home has, as a whole and until now, felt relatively insignificant, especially in comparison to the sheer mountains of plastic waste generated on a daily basis in my lab. I was somehow able to detach my regular lifestyle from my professional one where my tolerance for excessive waste generation has been diminishing at a much more rapid rate. Last year, I was finally spurred on to pioneer the introduction of LEAF in my lab to work towards achieving more sustainable practice, with surprising success.
Realising that I have the capacity to transform the behaviour of those around me awakened me to the obvious truth that everyone, everywhere, has a crucial role to play, no matter how big or small. Ironically, it took this innovation and a pointed question of whether I was up to pledging to Plastic Free July to trigger greater awareness in my day-to-day life. I was honest with myself in that I knew that as easily as I could go from my comfortable, instant gratification, consumerist-driven lifestyle on 30 June to shedding as much involvement in plastic consumption as possible on 1 of July for a month, I could just as easily revert back to previous comforts come the start of August.
A month is not long. A month with ample spare time and high levels of lockdown-induced boredom is even shorter-lived, especially with the much anticipated resumption of ‘normal’ life. As we are now halfway through the month, this post is a prelude to documenting my overall experiences and advice that will come at the end. It serves also as a reminder and encouragement to everyone reading to try their best to make any positive changes possible!