We are always looking for a simpler solution, an easier way, convenience. But what if the 'convenient way' is causing devasting damage to our environment? At Millican HQ we wanted to challenge our daily rituals, so this January we committed to being free from single-use plastic.
We faced a few hurdles, but we always supported each other as a team; group lunches, plastic clean-ups around the local area, sharing advice on where to shop for plastic-free groceries and bringing in homemade bakes (to satisfy our sweet tooth). We learned a great deal together, but each experienced the challenge in a different way.
Here are some thoughts from Millican HQ after the challenge:
"I’ve really enjoyed the month, admittedly I didn't succeed 100% (there was an incident with a plastic bottle in an airport I’m not proud of…) but it has made me mindful about all the products I buy. It’s not easy to turn off from the experience once you start to educate yourself and show a bit of discipline. My housemate and I have committed to making a few simple changes in our routine, such as recyclable cleaning supplies and plastic-free groceries from a local store. This is not without difficulty when your local stores have limited plastic-free options, so I often found myself stuck for solutions when I needed a quick snack or lunch on the road. My biggest tip would be prep - prep food, snacks, utensils, a bottle and Tupperware, even for the simplest of trips." - Steph Bradshaw Marketing Manager
"Mine is a story of two halves. In the first part of January I failed miserably at being plastic free, a snowboard trip to Slovenia meant it was harder to keep focused on the task at hand. The second half has been a lot more successful, a trip to Sweden with my refillable bottle in hand and more focus meant I travelled plastic free as much as one can." - Jeffrey Bowman Creative Director.
"When we started the challenge we reviewed our office supplies and I was quite shocked how many items we order that contain plastic and are unsustainable. So, we researched how to replace them with more environmentally friendly products; for example, plastic parcel tape was swapped to a tape made from recycled paper, plastic document wallets have been swapped to biodegradable ones and we now buy refillable Ecover products for the kitchen. All these swaps required a bit of effort in the beginning, but really, it is was easy to do. We will continue to make small changes in the office to reduce our environmental impact on the world." - Katy Arnott, Office Manager
"I've found Plastic Free January very eye-opening. It's incredible how much single-use plastic is used. I've become a lot more conscious of what I am buying and read packages so that I can make a deliberate choice each time. There have been several positive outcomes for me - it's prompted me to cook and bake more, which I have greatly enjoyed, we have come together at work to enjoy team lunches - a good social occasion - and I have felt satisfied in seeing my home waste reduce. Overall I have been inspired and will continue to reduce plastic in my life and hope to help others do so too." - Shana Instone, Customer Service Manager
"I think the challenge has gone really well. Everyone has made small changes from home-baked treats rather than plastic wrapped, to bringing Tupperware lunches in from home. We now only use milk in glass bottles from the farmer here on site and I really enjoyed the litter pick we went on before work, it was great to start the day being outside and tidying up a natural beauty spot. Personally, I know I could do better and I've implemented small changes, for example, I now go to the local shop to refill my cleaning products, and as soon as my shampoo and deodorant run out I will purchase plastic-free alternatives. The next step is to get my family and friends involved!" - Bex Tatham, Customer Service
"I've used this challenge to personally improve my day-to-day actions. I am building in a routine so I can buy from plastic-free shops, and anything new I buy, which can be, will be plastic free, like shampoo bars and beeswax wraps. Over the last month, I learned to take it a day at a time - it's a journey - also to be openly passionate about plastic-free living to encourage others to get involved. The best thing is to support and be supported by your team, it helps so much." - Robyn Wynn, Marketing Junior
In March, Millican HQ will move to a new home (don't worry, we are staying on the farm). We will continue with the simple changes we've made to reduce our plastic waste and introduce more as we move towards a 100% plastic-free office.
Thank you to everyone who shared their own journey of living plastic-free. Your thoughts and advice inspired us on this challenge, whether it's the daily essentials you've swapped to or how to travel plastic-free. Now we are this far, we cannot go backwards. We have all changed our daily habits of convenience and will continue to through the simplicity of conscious choice.
If you would like to discover more about plastic pollution and living plastic-free, follow the links below: