Making a change for the better by Susan
I’m a big believer in ‘do what you can’. In all aspects of life, we have limitations linked to our personal situations in terms of things like our current skills, money, time and let’s face it, headspace: there are only so many things we can manage at any one time. ‘I’ll do what I can’ has become something of a mantra as I try to reduce my plastic footprint and find more sustainable ways to live and means that I have small and achievable goals to work towards.
For example, having read the somewhat alarming statement that every toothbrush I’ve ever owned if probably still somewhere on the planet, dental care felt like a quick win. However, although bamboo and other natural material toothbrushes are now a familiar solution, I had recently bought a new electric toothbrush. It felt wasteful to abandon this, given the energy and resources involved in making it. So for now, I’m doing what I can: sourcing recycled and recyclable toothbrush heads which are not packaged in plastic. There’s still the problem of using electricity to charge it, so I’ve swapped my electricity tariff to a fully green one.
For me, (like my colleague Klaudia and her Grandparents), doing what I can means I can make small steps that make a tiny difference and will hopefully add up to big strides in the longer term. This plan also has the bonus of being addictive – if you can find one successful change, it might spur you on to another (non-plastic dental floss in a glass or metal bottle) and other (resusable cotton cosmetic pads instead of disposables) and another (resuable sandwich wrappers to replace bags and clingfilm).
If you’re looking for an easy starting point, I highly recommend changing to bar soap instead of liquids. This was a ‘cheat change’ for me as I always tried to buy nice bars of soap from interesting places I visited. Now it is an established habit, and given all the extra handwashing over the past year or so, I’m glad it is. However, the important thing is to find something a small change that works for you and feels do-able as that will help to make it stick. Some suggestions are below, but I bet you have your own ideas. Please tell us about them – it might be just the thing I need for my next small step.