I am really trying to cut down on the waste that I produce. Since taking part in Plastic Free July last year I have been a lot more aware of the prevalence of single use plastics in everyday life. On a personal note I have tried to cut down on my own use of plastic straws, plastic single use cutlery and disposable water bottles.
BUT there are also many times when I’ve been caught out when eating out and kicked myself for not being more prepared. For example I often use our local Waitrose cafe in Bath because they have very little disposable products. The cups are china, they have metal cutlery and even the sugar comes in lumps, rather than packets. Imagine my disappointment, then, when I had a coffee in another branch and everything was disposable. Even the cutlery was plastic and came wrapped in plastic as well!
After this incident I vowed to be better prepared. Eating out and travelling waste free requires a lot of pre-planning which I am starting to get to grips with:
1. I have bought some metal teaspoons from a charity shop so I now put one of those in my bag, wrapped up in a cloth napkin. No more wooden stirrers or plastic spoons for my coffee.
2. Last summer I invested in this brilliant water bottle from Lakeland. I have tried many reusable water bottles for myself and the kids but this is by far the best (I promise I’m not sponsored by Lakeland!). It’s completely leakproof, keeps cold drinks cold and hot drinks stay hot.
3. Having recently had a couple of dining experiences where the cutlery was single use plastic (and wrapped in plastic) I invested in some sporks. While they are plastic (although I had intended to buy some bamboo ones) they can be used again and again. This summer we will be travelling in mainland Europe and I wanted something I could take that would reduce our reliance on throwaway cutlery.
I recently went away for the weekend and took my trusty water bottle with me. I was delighted that the hotel room had a glass bottle of water to fill up from. I was also self-disciplined and didn’t open the small shampoo bottles in the bathroom. However I failed when ordering a cocktail which arrived with a stupid plastic stirrer and two straws! I guess I need to be more assertive as well as being better prepared.