It’s one thing trying to live a plastic-free life in our home, but it’s a whole different ballgame when I’m out and about. I find it really hard asking for plastic-free stuff in shops without sounding either really awkward, eye-rollingly pious or ridiculously apologetic. People often give me an odd look, before proceeding to use lots of plastic without even realising that they’re doing it.
Last week in the fishmonger’s, I asked if the fish I was about to buy could be put in my own container. Yes, said the lady, but she had to weigh it in plastic first, so it wouldn’t mess up the scales. Unfortunately my slightly bonkers two-year-old chose this moment to try and leg it out of the door, so I didn’t have the brainpower to ask the lady if she could simply put my container on the scales and press zero. “Ok, give me your tub and I’ll empty it all in,” she said, after she’d weighed it in the world’s largest carrier bag. “You know what, just give it me like that,” I sighed, feeling a bit defeated.
The exact same thing happened in the butcher’s last week and I’ve realised that it’s testament to how built-into society plastic is. People think they’re not actually giving me plastic if they use disposable sheets to weigh stuff, but don’t actually hand it over. Which kind of misses the point.
High fives to Waitrose, who were fine with me providing my own container for fish – they simply filled it and stuck a sticker on it so it could be scanned at the checkout. Frustratingly, Morrison’s said that they couldn’t do it “for health and safety reasons”. (I’m currently pestering them on Twitter to try and find out why this is.)
So yeah. It’s becoming a bit of a struggle against people’s attitudes and behaviours towards plastic which, through no fault of their own, have become deeply engrained. I guess this is the battle that needs to be won.
I’m just not sure how.