Kate and Sim’s great plastic challenge
Friends Kate Hook and Sim Madigan have taken up the challenge this Plastic Free July to help teach others how to reduce their dependence on plastic.
Plastic Free July is a movement that raises awareness of the problem plastics pose to our environment and encourages people to reduce the amount of plastic they consume and dispose of, particularly single-use plastics like shopping bags, straws, water bottles and coffee cup lids.
For their part, Kate and Sim, will be on either side of a locally-organised challenge that aims to highlight just how much plastic we really consume.
“With the plastic challenge, we're asking households to get involved either by aiming to be a zero plastic user in the month of July, or we are asking households to carry on as usual and have a look at how much plastic they usually use,” said Kate, a member of Orange’s environment and sustainability community committee, who are behind the challenge.
“So, I'm going to be aiming for zero plastic waste... making my life really hard by trying not to use plastic bags, plastic straws, any food that comes in plastic packaging, glad wrap, anything like that. Sim is going to be doing what she normally does and for her it is going to be a learning exercise to have a look at the end of July and see how much plastic does her family use.”
The idea is not to shame people for their use of plastic products, but rather educate the community on just how much plastic we all consume and share ways of reducing our dependence on it.
our use of plastic will soon be second nature”
“Maybe you'll say I'm surprised I used this much plastic and then what we'll do is analyse what's in the boxes and say how could we possibly have avoided that,” said Kate.
“It’s about people sharing information and everyone just trying their best. It’s not about judging who had the most or the least plastic, it's just about learning and all realising that the problem of plastic waste is just becoming huge globally.”
“I hope I'm not horrified at the end of it,” said Sim, “but I see the importance of having a comparison during July, so it will be really interesting to see at the end.”
To learn more about the plastic free challenge join the Plastic Free July Orange NSW Facebook group, which is full of tips on how your household can go plastic free.
With the problem of plastic waste gaining great attention the world over, Kate believes taking these steps to reduce our use of plastic will soon be second nature.
“I do think it will get to the stage where you just won't leave the house without your keys, wallet, sunglasses and then reusable coffee cup, reusable water bottle, and reusable shopping bags,” she said.
“I think it will just become habit for everyone — because it has to.”
Like so many issues that require people to change old habits, the plastic issue, and particularly with plastic shopping bags, will no doubt come in for a lot of discussion, criticism and also support. Knowing the damage plastic bags do and the fact that they apparently last forever and given that other states have all survived well without them, I think it’s a no brainer. Kate says above, being more plastic responsible will become second nature and I agree. I would however, like to see someone solve the benchtop food waste caddy bag issue. How much easier and effective it would be if there was a bag to be used in these rather than the onerous effort required to use paper.