Everyday actions with ordinary people: Daisy 🙋🏼♀️
Updated: Apr 13, 2020
Happy Pancake Day 🥞 - what a great day in the UK calendar! (I love any excuse to eat breakfast foods for dinner). Tomorrow is Ash Wednesday, which means it's the first day of Lent. I wanted to do something to mark today, and the whole Lent journey. I started this blog to bring people together, so that we could all learn what it means to take action. So over the period of Lent, I will be interviewing some of my friends (they're amazing and I can't wait to introduce them all to you). They are all people taking action, in different ways, and are willing to share with us their reasons for caring and the steps they have taken to care for our beautiful earth. I wanted to build on the idea from my last post (that our individual actions matter) and make it real by looking at what actual, ordinary, human people, like you and me, are really doing.
Lent is a period of 40 days leading up to Easter - a period of reflection and preparation. This year I am not giving up anything for Lent, and I am not picking anything up either. Instead I am going to attempt to use these 40 days to reflect on why I think that sustainability is important to me (and because I am a Christian, and it's Lent, why I think it's important to God). I would love to invite you to join me. You could even take it a step further, and use some of my past blogs to help you decide what to give up (hint: beef? Packaged snacks?). I hope that these interviews with normal people might help you to see what kind of a difference you can make.
To kick off the series, last week I interviewed my lovely friend Daisy, we met in secondary school and have been friends ever since. We had a great catch up over tea (which we both admitted we often drink just to have something to do when meeting a friend...), cookies were definitely involved, and we spent way too much time trying to find good lighting to take photos of Daisy and some of her favourite products (I hope you appreciate the effort, it was all for your aesthetic enjoyment).
So Daisy, would you be happy to tell us all a bit about yourself?
Sure. I'm a writer and I work as an extra in films. I used to work in retail, which is when I think I started to get really passionate about zero waste because everything comes in about 4 layers of plastic and customers tell you that you haven't wrapped their stuff in enough bubble wrap. But I hate plastic...
Anyways, I also have a blog, called Postcards from a Wide World and I write about travel. I also copy-edit, proof read and copy-write as a freelancer.
Awesome (check out her blog it's great!), so why do you care about climate change and sustainability?
I know this sounds silly, but I feel like the question is why would you not care? I care because it's a massive deal. Like we just had a heat wave. In February. And it was great, I loved it. But that's not normal. This time last year we were having the 'Beast from the East', and this time it's a heatwave. And I know we often put that down to 'English weather', but its global warming. So we have to care about it.
What was the biggest thing that influenced why you care?
Like I mentioned, retail was a massive eye opener. It's about ease, so like fast fashion for example is just about ease and what costs the least, over what's actually good for the environment. Which is so unfortunate because it means that everything we want to buy to be more sustainable is more expensive, which is sad...
My mum has always been big on recycling, so we were just brought up to care about sustainability. And I think I am not doing a full time job at the moment, and I'm in a place where financially and time-wise I can make it one of my priorities. I am someone who has the money and time to do that - because I think that's what you need, you need time and you do need, to a certain extent, the money to invest in products. You know, so instead of buying a £1.50 roll of clingfilm once a month, to actually say I'm going to spend £20 now on something that will last, which at the time can seem like a lot. It's an upfront cost. Just because others aren't able to or aren't willing to make that change, it's something I am passionate about and am willing to spend my time and money on.
What is something that you find challenging in this area?
I still live with my family, trying to be as zero waste as I can, whilst also not basically forcing them to give up clingfilm and, I don't know, cotton buds, is hard. I think that they think I've gone a bit radical...I think they find it a bit amusing like "oh she's got a cause again". But I bought them all bio-degradable cotton buds at Christmas, and my mum's just started using them and she was really excited. I bought my sister reusable cotton rounds as well. So I think it's harder for me, but hopefully my influence is making a difference as well. Unless they get tired of my soft preaching about the environment.
I think I would be moving faster in my personal journey towards zero waste, and making more progress, if I wasn't in an environment where my family are still choosing ease. They are still so much better than many families, but they just aren't ready to let go of cling film yet...
So what have you started doing?
So I started to focus on the little stuff that is really easy. So I got a bamboo toothbrush, wooden cutlery, metal straw and a metal water bottle. These are things that I will frequently use, that are really easy to find alternatives to, and aren't radically different. It's not like the dreaded clingfilm for example, where there are no alternatives, you have to buy the beeswax wraps which aren't the same as clingfilm. Whereas a toothbrush is a toothbrush. So that's what I've been doing, phasing out the easy stuff and phasing in those alternatives.
What is your next step?
So toothpaste is a big one. And make up. But toothpaste is much harder, because I want toothpaste with fluoride in but it's so hard to find a zero waste natural waste toothpaste with fluoride. So that's taking a long time. I've seen people who make toothpaste - and sure I could get some clay and charcoal and mash it together and make toothpaste. But where am I getting my fluoride from, you know? (Why do you care about fluoride, I don't know much about it...). Well no neither do I but dentists suggest you use it...🤷🏼♀️
Do you want to do more of something?
So make up. I was thinking that Lush have so much stuff, but trying to find it without packaging is hard. I have deodorant now that doesn't have plastic packaging and it's the best deodorant I've ever used. From this website Acala - they sell loads of zero waste products and ingredients. So for example, the deodorant comes in a cardboard tube, and my argan oil came in a glass bottle. My biodegradable floss is from Georganics (you can see a picture of the deodorant and floss below - yes I've used the deodorant so it's not all new and pretty...).
Lipstick, concealer, anything that comes in that weird gel-like stuff, I have found easier to replace, from places like Lush. So that is what I want to start investing in. There are quite a few places that do refillable stuff, but again sometimes the upfront cost is quite a lot.
(Then we went on a tangent about how much more aesthetically pleasing natural materials are compared to plastic. And went into a brief period of despair and disgust at the fact that every piece of plastic ever made is still on the earth in some form...)
So I was listening to a podcast recently, which talked about plastic and climate change. And basically said that plastic has taken the 'public fancy' if you like, but that it is not the number one contributor to climate change. So in a way, we are putting out effort into the wrong thing. What do you think about that?
It's really interesting. I know that that is true, but I also know that I am a vegetarian and I don't eat much dairy. I travel on planes a lot, but I don't drive and I don't get public transport a lot - I basically walk everywhere. So I am focusing on plastic. We could easily say we are putting out energy in the wrong thing, but realistically what is the other thing we should put our energy in to?
Like about 15 years ago recycling became much more of a 'thing, and you got fined if you didn't recycle. They didn't have food recycling when I was at uni, and we do now. So it just shows that this is moving forward. Now it's second nature to us. So if this can become second nature to us too, then we can move onto the next thing.
It's so much easier for people to take action on plastic - it's even become trendy now. There is no point saying we are putting our energy into the wrong thing, and doing nothing. We have to do something.
Yeah I agree. I think it's wrong to make it harder for people since it's already hard to know what to do about it. You have to give people easy options.
Yeah exactly, it all comes down to ease. That's why I would never tell people to become vegetarian because that's unrealistic and too hard. But I'm sure there's a thing like Meat Free Monday? Just make it easier.
Also I saw this thing about how many plastic bags worth of plastic you could use per period, and it's something like 19 plastic bags per period. Because you have the packaging, plus the product itself. So I have the Mooncup, which isn't for everyone. You've heard my horror stories (sorry privileged friends only). But it is crazy to think about how much difference one person can make.
Are you doing anything for Lent?
Umm no...I don't normally do anything. If I feel strongly about something I do it anyways, not really for something like Lent.
What would you tell other people, who kind of care about this but maybe don't know what to do, is the number reason to care?
That thing about the legacy. Not even about your kids. But do you really want children to study us in school in hundreds of years time as the 'Plastic Age'. I would rather go down in history as the 'Glued-to-Instagram Age' than the 'Plastic Age'. It's such a vain answer, but everything that happens now is recorded on the internet in some way. It's all in the Cloud, and one day it's going to rain... And it's going to be evidence of our plastic obsession.
So what would an encouragement to others be if they decided to care about that?
Don't listen to what other people say. My sister, every time I do something, is like 🙄. But I have to remember that I'm doing a good thing. I know that it's annoying to spend £3 on a toothbrush instead of 50p. But if you have that £3 to spare then spend it on that and skip a beer at the pub next time. And feel free to brag to everyone there because then maybe you're spreading the word.... I love speaking about the plastic stuff I'm doing because it encourages other people to do stuff.
What is your top tip or first step?
For me the toothbrush was a big step - it was the first thing that was a little more difficult. I had to find out where on the high street I could buy one (Superdrug it turns out). But I would say that was the first thing I felt a bit smug about, because it was a noticeable difference. But also I waited until my plastic toothbrush needed to be replaced, I didn't just throw it out. So I would say start with the small things that are really easy, and it will become more normal.
I hope you've enjoyed hearing from Daisy. We definitely enjoyed our (very long) chat. I love to hear from others on this journey, it makes me realise I'm not alone and encourages me to keep going with the steps I am taking.
If you'd like to look at some easy swaps you could make then check out this blog post of mine, or my Start Here page, for some advice. And I'll see you back here next time, for another interview with a friend!
Love, Roxy (and Daisy).
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