Team Wilder: The Jay Family

Touching a tree © Matthew Roberts

15 year old Anna Jay and her family have taken action for the environment by cutting their plastic use for Lent.
Jay family

Introduction from Anna

Every year, I encourage my family to do something for Lent. Dad usually fails to give up chocolate, and Mum’s never been brave enough to give up white wine! For the last few years, each Lent we have gone vegetarian, which lead to me permanently becoming a veggie in 2017 – my sister, Esther, was wildly unimpressed as she is devoted to sausages.

This year, we decided we wanted to do something different. I suggested doing something for the environment as this is something I really care about and think we can all have an impact on. After much discussion, we decided to do something about our plastic use: we didn’t think we could eliminate it entirely, but I wanted to find ways we could cut it down.

Week 1

We have successfully completed 7 of the 40 days in Lent. Overall, it has been an enjoyable first week, with only a few difficulties.

The first problem I came across was my shampoo; I have long, thick, curly hair and it has taken me years to find one that works.  A few months ago, I discovered a shampoo and conditioner that made my hair feel great. However, they come in non-recyclable plastic bottles.

Luckily, a friend recommended a brand called Faith in Nature which sells hair, body and skin products in recyclable bottles which are made from recycled materials! Initially I was sceptical that any of these products would work for my hair, but the shampoo worked wonderfully. This is a change that I will, without a doubt, keep after Lent.

The other main change that I have implemented this week is how we transport food. My sister and I both bring lunch to school every day, and my mum brings lunch to work. Previously, we used rolls and rolls of cling film without thinking, but this week we all used pots or washable zip-lock bags. Frankly, I have barely noticed a difference as it is all just transportation, but in the long run we are saving money and the environment. 

Week 2

A significant event this week was my sister's birthday. Normally we would drive into town and buy her presents new. However, this year we bought most of her presents second hand. 'Second hand' immediately makes people sceptical, but every present we bought her was in almost-new condition. This reduced the amount of plastic used in packaging, and saved us money!

When it comes to food shopping, finding food packaged in recyclable plastic or cardboard is really difficult. I joined my mum to do the shopping and scoured around the supermarket to find things with the least amount of plastic. I also tried to buy in bulk. I felt this was successful, as once I started looking, there were quite a few more options than I had thought!

Hopefully next week is as successful as this week has been!

Week 3

I am really getting the hang of life with less plastic. Buying less packaging and changing small things around the house feels very natural now.

This week, I have replaced all our pump soaps with bar soaps. Bar soap can be bought in card boxes (recyclable) and it lasts a lot longer.

When I need to buy something, I try to buy it in bulk. For example, food can be bought individually wrapped, or you can get many items in one packet. Sometimes, it’s sometimes unavoidable not to buy things in packaging, but when the choice is there, I always go for multiple items in less packaging. Often, this saves money too! I‘m looking forward to continuing to reduce plastic.

Final Week 

Although Lent has come to an end, I won't now be hoarding plastic, much like I would had I given up chocolate. All the methods I have found of reducing plastic are going to stay in the Jay household, and I hope to find even more in the future!

I encouraged all my family to buy Easter eggs that were only packaged in cardboard, no plastic! We didn't have to look very hard, and they were just as delicious. This is a small change that applies to many food items and could easily be implemented in every household. 

Finally, we have changed the milk bottles delivered to our house from plastic ones to glass ones, which you then leave outside your house and they are recycled. It's only 30p extra and entirely worth it!

This Lent has been an incredibly enjoyable experience and helped me address an issue that I am passionate about. I will continue to look for more ways I can reduce my plastic consumption.

Wilder Future team walking into sunset

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