©2018 by An Ethical Life. Proudly created with Wix.com

  • Judith Newton

Oops, I'm not perfect but I'm still trying!

Updated: Jul 9, 2019


It's Plastic-Free July and I'm doing all I can to try and be as plastic-free as possible. However, I'm only human and sometimes I forget to do things like take my own shopping bags to the supermarket. Do you? I'm guessing yes! So I thought that this week I'd look at some other things we can do when we forget to bring our own plastic-free alternative products with us when we're out and about.

Oops, I forgot to bring my own shopping bags to the store! If you're just about to enter the store and realise you've left your bags in the car, then go back and get them. Think of it as some additional exercise for the day while doing good for the planet. If you have totally forgotten your shopping bags, you could always buy some more reusable ones, but how many do you really need to keep storing away at home? Probably not that many! So my advice is to do your shopping and when you get to the checkout and your grocery items have been scanned, just put them straight into your trolley (no bags) and then pack them (loose) into your car. Yes, this is going to be a pain! Yes, this is going to take time! But it's worth it to keep a little less plastic out of landfill and our oceans. If you're lucky you may find some old cardboard boxes in the store that you can use. Either way, I bet next time you go shopping you'll ask yourself if you have your bags in the car before you leave home! A good lesson for us all when we forget our bags.


Oops I didn't bring my reusable fruit and vegetable bags! Not having a great day are we? Probably left our reusable produce bags in our shopping bags at home, again! Don't despair there are some things we can do without resorting to use those plastic bags in the fruit and vegetable section of the supermarket. You could use the paper bags that they have for mushrooms to put your produce in. But that isn't really helping the planet much either is it? Why not just put your fruit and vegetables directly into your shopping trolley or basket? But the trolley might be dirty! The store assistant is going to handle them at the checkout! Seriously, how many people do you think have touched your fruit and vegetables before you get them home? A lot I'm guessing so we always need to wash them before we use them so what difference will one more set of hands be on my granny smith apples? If you really can't handle this thought then don't use any bags for things that you peel, like bananas and potatoes, and put the others in those plastic bags. But if you do this, please wash and reuse the plastic bags over and over again so at least they won't only be used once.


Oops I forgot my reusable water bottle! Reusable water bottles have almost become a bit of a fashion accessory these days. This is great because it reduces the stigma some of us may have had towards carrying their own water bottle. But what do we do if we forget to take our water bottles with us? Use a drinking fountain or alternatively, if you are in a store you could always ask for a glass of water.


Oops I forgot my keep cup and I need a cup of coffee now! Desperate times call for desperate measures! When times like this arise, perhaps consider buying a cup of coffee in an actual china cup and drinking it in the store. Or perhaps if you're at work you could take a clean cup from your office kitchen down to your favourite coffee shop and ask them to put your coffee in your own cup? Still not working for you? Well, you need to make a decision ... is your buying one coffee in a takeaway cup really going to make a difference to the plastic problem on this earth? Probably not, you're just one person right? You know where I'm going with this one...what if every second person said the same thing? Then it would be a problem wouldn't it? Let's all try to lead by example and if there isn't an alternative to getting your barista-made coffee without impacting the planet, wait til you get home or back to work and make yourself a coffee there.


Oops I forgot my reusable metal straw! You seriously are not having a good day! When you want a drink and you've forgotten your reusable metal straw you have a couple of choices. First, do you really need to drink your beverage with a straw? Now I know that some people have medical conditions that make it necessary to use straws and if so, then use the plastic one if you need to and have no other choice. Just make sure you dispose of it correctly. However, if that's not you then you can either drink it without a straw or if that's not going to work for you, like drinking a milkshake or smoothie without a straw can get kind of messy, then consider drinking something else that doesn't need a straw. I know it's not the perfect solution but it will probably be enough to remind you to bring your own reusable straw with you next time.

I feel like I've been giving a little tough love this blog post but really it's just giving some suggestions about how you can divert an oops moment into still doing something positive for the environment. If you think of any other alternatives or scenarios, I'd love to hear from you. Please leave a comment in the section below.


Til next time,

Judith x