Whether religious or not, many people take the opportunity to give something up for lent. This year, Bristol’s City to Sea are asking Bristolians to join them for a plastic challenge, to see how many single-use plastics they can give up over the 40 days between Wednesday 10th February and 27th March.
What does it involve?
Taking part in the Lent Plastic Challenge could be as simple as giving up coffee cup lids, or straws, or choosing not to buy bottled water and carry a reusable bottle around with you instead.
Or for those who want to take it a step further there will be inspiration and support by email, Facebook and twitter to tackle more items each week. City to Sea Campaigns Manager, Livvy Drake (aka Green Livvy), has done two lent plastic challenges so she will be sharing quick recipes and shopping alternatives.
To keep the motivation going, each week there will be a prize awarded from a local business for a photo of a plastic-free alternative, posted in the Facebook event
Why Single-Use Plastics?
So why target single-use plastics and not all plastics? Plastic in principle is an amazing product, it has many uses from credit cards to containers. But its durability is a double-edged sword, as every piece of plastic that has ever been made, still exists. And when plastics get ‘recycled’ they often actually get downcycled, for example turned into a broom handle which can’t then be recycled. On top of that, there are many different kinds of plastic which all get processed differently. So with single-use plastic, its time housing some tasty houmous or some bottled water, is significantly shorter than its lifetime in landfill or floating around as litter in our seas.
The challenge isn’t just about litter and waste; the benefits of reducing single-use plastics, won’t just be visible in the amount of packaging rubbish in your bins but they’ll be noticeable in how you feel too. Giving up single-use plastic for lent last year was pretty life-changing for City to Sea’s Founder, Natalie. “I never thought I had time to bake or home-make things and the convenience of doing all my shopping in a supermarket had me convinced I wouldn’t be able to change my shopping habits either. But I knew I could probably do it for 40 days. Then, at the end of those 40 days I realised life was richer – I was supporting local shopkeepers and developing relationships with them, spending more time with my son who actually enjoyed baking and we both ended up eating more homemade, healthier food. I had no reason to change my new habits back; life was more fun this way!”
Sign up for weekly email reminders, or join the Facebook event