How hard could Plastic-Free July possibly be after passing last year’s challenge with flying colours?
These were my exact thoughts when I was preparing for the 2016 challenge.
But just 11 days into the challenge and already Ben and I are off to a poor start, largely through no fault of our own which is the frustrating part. Here are the major catastrophes that have occurred so far…
Day #4 – Plastic-Free July Challenge
Ben and I went to the local RSL for dinner after another stressful day running our businesses. I ordered my usual drink: vodka, soda and lime and specifically asked the waiter for no straw. He nods in acknowledgement. A few minutes later he returns with my drink. Guess what was in the glass? A friggin’ straw. I asked him what the deal was and he sheepishly apologises and tells me he forgot. Annoying that he’s operating on auto-pilot and not concentrating. I decide not to rant at him for he was only a young fella and instead snapped my frustrations away (if you’re on Snapchat, make sure to connect, my username is ecowarrprincess).
Day #6 – Plastic-Free July Challenge
Ben and I decide to have lunch at a local cafe. It’s our chance to take a breather and get away from the mountains of work we’re required to complete. We’ve eaten at this particularly cafe many times before and the waitresses recognise our faces. We take to eating outdoors so I can bask in the sun in my attempt to repair my Vitamin D deficiency. We’re offered a bottle of water and some glasses to drink by a waitress we’re not familiar with. Ben orders my meal at the counter and returns to the table. We get to chatting to the owner. Lunch is going like clockwork. Or so it appears.
Related Post: Could You Live Plastic-Free?
Ten minutes later the waitress arrives… with my meal in a styrofoam type container. Taking deep breaths, I utter some profanity that only Ben can hear. I ask Ben to handle the situation as he is accustomed to by emotional outbursts over other people’s careless actions. He makes his way to the counter to order a side of chips to improve upon the single use disposability issue and to bring attention that we are regular customers who dine in. Not once in the past six months have we asked to take away.
Day #8 – Plastic-Free July Challenge
AM: Ben attempts to buy bread from the local bakery but the bakery assistant is unwilling to hand over the bread as is and instead insists that he wrap it in paper due to “food laws”. While better than plastic, completely unnecessary.
PM: Ben and I decide to have dinner at the recently opened local Japanese restaurant. While ordering my cocktail, I completely forget to ask for no straw. I only realise my mistake when my Mojito arrives… with a plastic straw.
Related Post: 20 Steps to Plastic-Free Living
Day #11 – Plastic-Free July Challenge
As I’ve been busy trying to manage business deadlines and project deliverables, Ben has taken on the responsibility to do the shopping. As we spent the last weekend in Noosa with the extended family, we didn’t get a chance to return to our farm to pick up produce and homemade supplies. So Ben has no choice but to go shopping. Ben decides to shop at the local IGA supermarket as the organic grocer located below our office doesn’t stock deli items (unlike me, he has no qualms about eating meat).
Related Post: Divorcing the Big Supermarkets
Ben returns to the office and I’m impressed that he listens to my cautionary advice to “watch out for plastic!” I compliment him on his mindful shopping skills, impressed that he has carried back a box of groceries. I notice the ketchup sauce and powdered milk tin and decide not to nitpick. I am just grateful to have a fiancé who tries to carry out my sustainability wishes. But then Ben shares how he had asked the deli assistant to wear the same pair of gloves and make sure to just wrap the ham and sausages in nothing but paper. The deli assistant remembers to avoid the plastic… but forgets about the gloves and uses three of them in order to handle the deli goods. Ben pulls him up on it and like the hospitality workers before him, apologises profusely for the error in judgement.
So not even half-way through Plastic-Free July 2016 and Ben and I have encountered some annoying dilemmas. But we’ll continue on. We know it’s not about having a perfect plastic-free life but a more mindful one. I’m just hoping that the second half of this month I encounter hospitality workers that are much more mindful. Because I really don’t want to be known as the crazy eco girl who loses her shit over plastic.