This summer, our Sustainability Team pledged to tackle the single-use plastic in their lives by taking part in Plastic Free July.
Some aimed to cut down on certain products, some decided to try out more eco-friendly products and others challenged themselves to go plastic free for the whole month! For all, the aim was to raise awareness of our overreliance on plastic across our colleagues, occupiers and suppliers. Sustainability Consultant Siân Morgan said of her experience ”I wanted to do Plastic Free July to open up conversations and get people to think about how much plastic there is in our lives…I hope that the small habits people have created will be long-lasting as even small changes can add up to a lot.”
Several of our team reported that they had made such a change, including our Facilities Management Support Coordinator, Sharron Taylor, who swapped out her plastic milk bottles for a more sustainable alternative. ”As a family we go through at least 8 to 10 pints per week, all in plastic, so I tried and tested a service which delivers fresh milk daily in glass bottles and is only 31p more expensive than its plastic counterpart. It’s locally sourced, fresh every day and the milkman takes away the empties to be washed and re-used.’
Some were shocked when they realised how much plastic they got through in a month. Managing Director Andrew Wraight decided to collect all his household plastic waste for the month and was ”staggered” by the volume when he saw it all laid out, saying ”When it is hidden away in a bin outside and collected every two weeks, it is very easy for the volume to be invisible. The good news is that a lot of what we used is deemed to be fully recyclable, and we can only hope that this is what happens after it is collected from our homes.”
The month also raised several issues in terms of accessibility when it comes to reducing your waste, such as the more sustainable options often being priced higher and the lack of stores providing options such loose, unwrapped items to buy or refill stations for supplies.
Summing up the month, Andrew said ”My challenge in the coming weeks is to look at the plastic-packaged items which we will always need or want to buy, but for which there seems to be no easy alternative. It is something that our sustainability team at Ashdown Phillips are going to keep on the agenda, so that every one of us can continue to make our own individual impact.”