Being plastic-free is a huge part of what we do at The Green Woman.
In our ‘Where does your plastic waste go’ blog we highlighted the need to refuse plastic where we can. Systemic change requires the companies that are producing the millions of tonnes of single use plastic to change. But the more we choose to refuse plastic and support businesses and initiatives that give us alternatives, the louder our collective consumer voice will be.
We’re proud to work with many like-minded businesses who, like us, are giving people plastic-free alternatives. Anything But Plastic is a fantastic example. Their online shop helps people contribute to a world with less plastic.
We caught up with founder Jenny Derry about her vision behind the company and Plastic Free July…
What inspired you to start Anything But Plastic?
"I started Anything But Plastic (ABP for short) because I, like many other people, was fed up with the rising amounts of litter accumulating everywhere, the increase of plastic litter was worryingly obvious. I was also working in retail at the time, and we would get through an insane amount of plastic packaging every day from new stock and restocking items, as everything was individually wrapped in plastic. There was a lot of downtime at that job when there weren't any customers, so I had plenty of opportunities to stare into space and work out what I could do about this... Anything But Plastic grew naturally as a working idea from there. "
What can we as consumers do about the problem of single-use plastics?
"The problem of single-use plastic is ongoing, there have been big improvements over the last few years but we are still on an uphill struggle to change how single-use plastic is used and viewed. As eco-friendly consumers, we all try to make the right choices and avoid single-use plastics where possible. It's easy to backslide though, we are all busy and it is hard to keep up with everything as it is, let alone going out of your way to buy plastic-free items. I'm occasionally guilty of this as much as the next person! That's why I think challenges like Plastic-Free July are a good idea, as even if you don't actively compete in the challenge, it nudges you to think about what areas you could improve on, and pushes you to try a bit harder to keep up with changes you have made in eliminating unnecessary single-use plastics from our daily life. Plastic-Free July, along with similar events and challenges, help to give your brain that little bit of extra focus on the problem of plastic pollution just by being aware that the event is going on. It's also a great excuse to raise the topic with friends and family who maybe aren't quite as on the ball with eco-friendly habits and maybe engage them a little more with the topic which might even encourage them to make some simple planet-friendly swaps at your suggestion.
As for what we can do as consumers - why not write to companies that you buy products from frequently and ask them to use less packaging overall and push them to only use sustainable materials to package their products. There are now plenty of solutions out there, so this is no longer an excuse, and we need to keep driving these companies to change. It is also important to contact your local council and MPs to request change. Waste management needs to be massively improved, and for all the innovation in eco-friendly packaging we have seen over the last few years, we are still lagging behind on things like large-scale composting for all the new bioplastics that are out there, so everything still goes into landfill as the infrastructure is lacking. It will help if we use our collective voice to show that we won't stand for this inertia and lacklustre efforts at managing waste."Jenny Derry, Founder, Anything But Plastic.
Businesses such as Anything But Plastic are doing a wonderful job making plastic-free consumer goods more accessible. You can visit their website at anythingbutplastic.co.uk.