Avoiding Single-Use Plastics for the Summer: My Experience

Written by Tess Wittmann

Written by Tess Wittmann

At Sustainable Kingston, we are challenging the community to reduce their use of single-use plastics for the summer. Naturally, I also decided to take the challenge.

Let me be the first to say, it is hard. Very hard.

Some days I felt extremely optimistic. I would bring all my reusable items with me like my travel mug, water bottle, travel cutlery, and straw, and I would be extremely successful at avoiding single-use plastic. I would be so excited and proud when I opted against the plastic and pulled out my reusable items.

Some days, even when I had my reusables on me, I couldn’t avoid the plastics. My drink came with a straw already in it, I was given plastic cutlery before I was able to pipe in that I had my own, or my container was not big enough to fit my leftovers and had to grab a takeout container anyway.

Some days I just forgot to bring anything at all and was in a position to either accept the plastic or not get anything. This whole challenge made me realize that plastic is EVERYWHERE.

It is difficult to avoid single-use plastic, but it is all about trying our best, instilling these habits, and continuing to try even if some days aren’t as perfect as others.

The SK Team with reusable travel mugs

The SK Team with reusable travel mugs

I felt especially inspired when I saw what other people were doing. It made it feel more like a group effort instead of me tackling this large issue alone.

Examples of people’s single-use swaps I saw online include:

  • Bamboo items like toothbrushes and cutlery

  • Diva Cup

  • Bringing cups and straws with you

  • Beeswax wraps

  • Reusable snack bags

  • Cloth bags for produce

  • Reusable water bottle

  • Soda Stream

  • Safety Razor

  • Reusing glass containers

And the list goes on!

The challenge is meant to encourage us to be more aware of single-use plastic, and to be more cognizant of our own actions. Although the challenge is coming to an end soon, let’s try our best to continue these habits for the rest of the year, share the knowledge, and encourage each other!