A smart man once told me “done is better than perfect” and I am applying that extraordinarily powerful advice to all kinds of things. Plastic is one of them.
Being more focused recently on trying to do my part to be better to the planet, when I heard from a blog called Less Waste Today that Plastic Free July was a thing, I figured I would check it out.
I followed the link and clicked the “Yes! I will take the challenge! button. I balked a little at the questions asking how committed to this I was… would I avoid single use plastic? Target takeaway items? Or go completely plastic-free?
I felt like I had already been working on the first two:
I recently went to the supermarket and once again left my reuseable bags in the car (a selection of the 400 bags I must own because I NEVER remember to take them into the shop) and asked the check-out chick if I could put the groceries back in the trolley as she scanned them so I could unload them into the bags once I was at the car. Of course she was fine with that idea. I am pretty sure this was not the first time she had heard this request but I was right chuffed with myself for thinking of it and not buying another 6 bags or taking more single use bags.
I took a keep-cup to work so I dont use takeaway cups anymore. Last week when someone asked me if they could buy me a coffee I declined. I would normally have gone with them but didn’t because I was on crutches (that’s another story) and I thought it unreasonable to ask them to carry my lidless cup back 3 blocks from the good coffee shop and the alternative would mean ordering in a takeaway cup.
I started baking bread and made my own yoghurt to save on plastic!!! See my other posts to see how entertaining that was.
So to continue with option 1 & 2 seemed not to really embrace the challenge, but the third seemed a significant jump which I felt guilty about not wanting to select. I did select it though, wondering how on earth I could keep that promise.
Then the choices of how long I was going to do this for… a day, a week, July, or from now on?
It seemed like I would be a bit of hypocrite if I didn’t sign up for “from now on”. After all, my motivation here is to be better to the planet, what is the point of only doing that for a day or a month?
Well, I decided that the point is to try. The point is to do better. A little bit better is still better. It’s going to be much better if I get in there and have a reasonable bash at this than if I don’t sign up because I put too much pressure on myself to do it perfectly.
Another point is to accept the fact that I am going to “fail” at this challenge. In fact I already have, if you want to look at it that way.
How I am choosing to look at it though is that it is perfectly ok to fail at this challenge. Let me explain…
I think it is highly unlikely that I am not going to ever use plastic again. If that is the benchmark for failure then all those people you hear about who only send a half full jam jar of rubbish to landfill every six months because they manage to recycle and reuse everything else also failed.
I choose to focus on being intentional. I intend to try. Intent is important. Perfection is not.
If I manage to not use 1 piece of plastic that I usually would have, that’s one less piece out there and that is a good thing. If I could do that more than once then I have doubled my success!!! Anything over and above that is great…Scale it up to one a day – 7 per week, 31 this month, 365 pieces a year.
So while lots of blogs will show you the perfect side of things, I am going to also show you how I “failed” because even the fact that I now recognise the failure is an improvement on what I was doing before. It’s a step in a better direction that means maybe next time (or the time after) I could do something different.
Last week, I brought breakfast to work from home in reuseable containers, and mostly bought sandwiches for lunch because they were wrapped in paper.
I did however, on one particularly cold day decide that an asian soup would be good for my soul. There is something about asian soup that feels wonderful, you can feel its healthy goodness absorbing into the cells of your body. Bad news was it came like this…
I don’t think you could fit all that plastic in the jam jar if you tried. At least the chopsticks were wrapped in paper.
I learnt from the experience. This week, if I want asian soup I will come up with some alternate plan to make that happen. Maybe as simple as eat in.