Travelling this summer in Europe (Spain actually) I was shocked at the preponderance of bottled water. Plastic bottled water everywhere. I carried a water flask. But that didn’t help at restaurants and it was hard to find places to refill it. By the time I was home I’d had enough.
When I got home friends were sharing the campaign for a plastic free July. See here. “Joining the challenge is quite simple…choose to refuse single-use plastic during July. Plastic Free July aims to raise awareness of the problems with single-use disposable plastic and challenges people to do something about it. You’ll be joining a million+ people world-wide from 130 countries in making a difference.”
Why? There’s been lots in the news lately about the environmental impact of plastic and I’ve been feeling pretty doom-y and gloomy about the future of the planet and our continued existence on it. This was something I could do. See A million bottles a minute: world’s plastic binge ‘as dangerous as climate change’
“A million plastic bottles are bought around the world every minute and the number will jump another 20% by 2021, creating an environmental crisis some campaigners predict will be as serious as climate change. New figures obtained by the Guardian reveal the surge in usage of plastic bottles, more than half a trillion of which will be sold annually by the end of the decade.”
It’s not that I think individuals taking action is the answer but paying attention to my own actions connects me to the larger cause and keeps the environment in my focus. I also feel less helpless.
I decided to make single use plastic take a way items my focus. No more water bottles, plastic cutlery, and plastic cold beverage containers. I’d already bought washable cutlery and cold beverage washable tumblers and considered myself ready to go. My summer purse (or “hippie side bag” as the kids call it) is starting to feel like a giant picnic hamper around my neck but I am managing.
Straws are an issue and people keep handing them to me. Some people have made the elimination of plastic straws their focus. Sarah bought us each a reusable one and we’ve been carrying them with us. At least they don’t add much weight to the hippie side bag.
So far I’ve faced two challenges, one fitness related and one not.
The non-fitness challenge is ice cream. It’s vaguely calorie and food related. I don’t like ice cream cones and years ago I decided they were empty needless calories. Also, when ice cream is in cones I tend to eat it too quickly because I hate drips. But now I have the plastic cups and spoons to deal with so, for July at least, it’s back to cones. (I’ve been feeding them to my dog.)
The fitness challenge is food and drink during bike rides. I’m not about to start filling my jersey pockets with reusable cutlery and cups. Twice now I’ve landed at a bakery after a long ride and had to use plastic cups. I wasn’t about to not drink iced coffee. After I thought about it having it put in my cycling water bottle but that’s not a good solution either. I wish places used non-plastic cups. It’s not like we were taking the coffee to go.
Here’s our bikes at rest at the Black Walnut Bakery, a favourite place to stop after rides. Here’s hoping they start offering cold beverages in glasses.
3 thoughts on “Sam’s plastic free July and the fitness challenge part of it ”
It’s great you’re bringing this to our attention! I decided to take the no-plastic July challenge, too, and got completely stymied with the ice coffee (for me during ride break) problem. Also, I hadn’t thought about gatorade (my cycling energy drink of choice). I’m switching to powder, but of course it comes in plastic, too. Still, it’s a really good reminder of how much we use plastic, and how a few changes (like glasses for non-to-go ice coffee) could make a difference.
A lot of coffee places I go will use ceramic and glass cups if you’re staying in house. It’s really nice.
When I moved to California it was strange to me that restaurants require you to request water and don’t just bring it out to everyone by default. Makes sense though from a water conservation perspective since people who order other drinks don’t also want water.
I’m pretty boring, I just drink from my plastic cycling water bottle. If I don’t have it or enough of it, then I like natural fruit juice as an energy booster/thirst quencher. For reasons I can’t even explain, I never liked buying bottled water. Or maybe I’m a cheapie at heart…..just to buy bottled water when most of our tap water in many places in Canada is just fine. I really urge people to think: your municipality spends ALOT of money managing and providing water to you, for daily use. Why bother buying bottled water especially at home? (I’m saying this…since part of my job is dealing with engineering drawings of water ultilty infrastructure. You would be amazed by the level of serious security and testing to protect the public with its water supply.)
Honest, I’ve never tried energy drinks and I’ve done some multiple hundred km. long cycling touring trips with loaded panniers. It’s water, water, water from my cycling water bottle or juice or coffee.
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