How I used only seven plas­tic bot­tles in 2018

The National - News - - ARTS & LIFESTYLE - FARAH AN­DREWS

For­get the Year of the Dog, for me 2018 was the year of plas­tic. Well, the year of the plas­tic prob­lem.

Sin­gle-use plas­tic be­came a com­mon turn of phrase so com­mon, in fact, that it was named the Collins Dic­tio­nary word of the year. And boy, did it es­ca­late. Peo­ple us­ing straws were given dirty looks, ev­ery­one got them­selves a Keep­Cup and we all found out that bam­boo tooth­brushes ex­ist – who knew?

It was a band­wagon for a cause and I, for one, was happy to jump on board. Like many oth­ers, my 2018 new year’s res­o­lu­tion was to cut back on my plas­tic con­sump­tion. A year on, I’m nowhere near per­fect and my shop­ping trol­ley still makes me feel guilty as I leave the su­per­mar­ket, aware that there is plas­tic some­where on so many of my buys. But I now make shop­ping de­ci­sions based on the pack­ag­ing and source of the prod­uct, whereas in the past I was all about the price.

My main bat­tle, how­ever, has been with sin­gle-use plas­tic wa­ter bot­tles – I’ve been guilty of go­ing through mul­ti­ple 1.5 litre bot­tles a day.

So, I chal­lenged my­self to go a year with­out us­ing any sin­gle-use sin­gle plas­tic bot­tles. Did I suc­ceed? Not en­tirely, but I got to March with­out us­ing a sin­gle one, and in the whole of 2018, I used only seven.

My main take away from my tiny chal­lenge is that there are drink­ing wa­ter foun­tains ev­ery­where in the UAE. So as long as you have a re­us­able bot­tle, you’ll never go thirsty. And very few beach clubs or restau­rants ac­tu­ally have a prob­lem with you pitch­ing up with your own wa­ter sup­ply.

I started us­ing gyms that I knew had plumbed-in fil­tered wa­ter sup­plies, rather than 500ml hand­outs, check­ing what kind of bot­tled wa­ter would be served in restau­rants, and in the process find­ing out that the tap wa­ter in the UAE has been deemed drink­able by the World Health Or­gan­i­sa­tion.

I bought a Brita wa­ter fil­ter, mak­ing tap wa­ter my go-to. There is al­ways a jug of cold, safe-to-drink tap wa­ter in my fridge, and on a blind taste test, a friend of mine was un­able to iden­tify which glass of wa­ter came from my tap and her Masafi bot­tle.

Brita fil­ter jugs are avail­able to buy on Souq.com from Dh220, and re­place­ment fil­ters cost Dh80 for a pack of six. The fil­ters should be changed ev­ery two to three months, so as well as be­ing more en­vi­ron­men­tally friendly, it works out cheaper than buy­ing wa­ter bot­tles in the long run.

This year, more eyes seem to be on plas­tic con­sump­tion than ever. #MyE­coRes­o­lu­tion is an In­sta­gram cam­paign, which has been loudly backed by Cara Delev­ingne.

In an In­sta­gram post from Jan­uary 12, the mod­el­turned-ac­tress wrote, “#MyE­coRes­o­lu­tion is to give up plas­tic bot­tles and plas­tic straws!

“Even though I may never be ‘per­fect,’ I am mak­ing the res­o­lu­tion to start mak­ing pos­i­tive changes to the way I live in or­der to help pre­vent cli­mate change, en­vi­ron­men­tal de­struc­tion and men­tal ill­ness,” Delev­ingne con­tin­ued, be­fore en­cour­ag­ing celebrity friends Ken­dall Jen­ner, Mi­ley Cyrus, Jared Leto and Rita Ora to also go pub­lic with their own eco res­o­lu­tions.

For 2019, I am keep­ing my plas­tic ban go­ing, adding in cof­fee cups and shop­ping bags, and keep­ing a tally of my usage in the notes on my phone.

See­ing how much you have used in black and white re­ally helps with keep­ing on top of un­nec­es­sary plas­tic con­sump­tion, and I am now on a mis­sion to use even fewer than seven bot­tles in 2019.

I started us­ing gyms that I knew had plumbed-in fil­tered wa­ter sup­plies, rather than 500ml hand­outs

Alamy

Switch to a wa­ter fil­ter to limit the use of plas­tic bot­tles

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