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Plastic Free July 2022. ‘For the love of plastics’: reflections on a challenging month.

Research output: Exhibits, objects and web-based outputsBlog

Published
Publication date2/09/2022
PublisherLancaster University
Medium of outputOnline
<mark>Original language</mark>English

Abstract

As we learned from our 2021 experience of Plastic Free July (PFJ), reducing our reliance on plastic packaging is challenging. This continued to be the case for PFJ 2022, with new challenges linked to the wider re-opening of society following the Covid pandemic. With Covid-19 restrictions lifting in many countries, travelling for work and conferences resumed. Several of us travelled for academic events, and we discovered that these large events were not particularly conducive to plastic-free living. There were specific challenges associated with food and catering at large conferences and other academic events, where they did not tend to prioritise reducing or avoiding plastics (especially when catering for large numbers). A few of us attended one specific conference, where it was notable that the conference organisers were making a commendable effort to avoid single-use plastics for the main meal events (i.e., by using bamboo wood for plates and cutlery). However, such attention was not given to the refreshments offered at break times, with biscuits portioned and wrapped in single-use plastics, leaving us a bit disappointed. The choice we faced was to have a snack or refreshments while networking with the other participants or leave and hope to find a plastic-free alternative. While the responsible action might have been to avoid the single-use plastic packaged snacks, the days were long and tiring, and we found ourselves a captive audience for these packaged snacks that quickly relieved our hunger and low energy levels.