I think we can all agree that we’re fucking up this planet pretty badly. I can’t do much about it at this point, but I feel pretty shitty about it. Orangutans are being fried alive while hanging onto the last tree standing, polar bears are swimming themselves to exhaustion in hopes of finding a block of ice, and sea creatures are choking in bits of plastic all over the place. And I sit here on my couch doing absolutely nothing. I pour myself a glass of wine, while thinking about melting glaciers and bleaching corals, and feel guilty as hell. I do try to be conscious and minimalistic and all, but am I really making a difference? I recycle, but meanwhile whales are still coughing up shopping bags. Perhaps I should try harder, and not use disposable plastic at all anymore. Look at me, I’m gonna go plastic free! 

I’ve never been much of a role-model, but I feel pretty inspired right now. I go out for another drink and proudly tell my friends that I’m going plastic free. I head home shortly after and pick up some wine on the way – it’s a good thing wine comes in glass bottles. While sinking back into my couch, my stomach starts rumbling. Mmm… I feel like lasagne and a side salad to make it appear healthy. I go to the supermarket but then realize that the lasagne is wrapped in plastic. And so are lettuce, tomatoes, cucumber, pepper, and feta. I scan the shelves pretty thoroughly and conclude that my options don’t extend much beyond canned soup. Day one of going plastic free sucks. But starving walruses and sweaty seals are more important than my craving for melted cheese and minced meat, so canned soup it is. 

The next morning I toss the can in the metal bin, and tell myself that I can do better than this. Yogurt sips and freshly squeezed juices might not be an option anymore, but I wanna prove that my new enlightened lifestyle is not at the cost of my selfish needs. I straighten my back, hang my shopping bag over my shoulder, pack a Tupperware, and put on my Mona Lisa smile. I go the bakery and tell the lady to give me the baked bread as it is, straight in my hand. She looks disorientated. I go to the supermarket and throw tomatoes, potatoes and onions loosely on the scale. I print the sticker and throw the whole bunch in my shoulder bag. People look at me confused. I go to the butchery and tell the guy to weigh the chicken in my Tupperware. He sighs. I buy fresh eggs and mention that I don’t want a bag with that. But the cashier does it anyway. No I shout, I said no! She rolls her eyes. 

I come home with soggy armpits, but I’ve done it. I accomplished my shopping without using plastic. Because I’m feeling a bit nervous, from fighting the system and all, I have a strong urge to visit the loo. I sit down and notice that I need to replace the toilet roll. I tear open a pack of baby soft and come to realize, while releasing my bladder, that toilet rolls are wrapped in plastic. I think of river dolphins and sea turtles drifting to the surface, suffocated to death, and feel terrible. I grab my shopping bag and go on another mission. Many shops later, I find toilet rolls that are wrapped in paper. Only one roll at a time though, so I walk home with a bag full of singly-wrapped toilet papers. I’m sweating in the sun and feel thirsty but shall not, cannot, buy a disposable bottle of water. I make a personal note to always bring my drinking bottle. 

I return home and slurp tap water, when suddenly a wave of smelliness passes my nostrils. I think it’s my armpits. Sweaty men smell like old cheese and sweaty women like old onions, they say. This definitely smells like onions left in the pan to fry for too long. I open the shower and give myself a good rinse. But when I wanna throw some shower gel and shampoo in the mix I realize that they come from a plastic bottle. There’s the guilt again. I once heard that sperm whales chow plastic bottles because they mistake them for fish. Their stomachs fill up with old shampoo bottles until they block up for good. I have soap, I come to think, that’ll get rid of the sour smell. I grab a towel, open my laptop, and learn that you can wash your hair with soap just fine. It might make your hair look a bit dry and puffy, but otherwise just fine. No need to be vain.   

The next day I arrive at work with a bird nest on my head. My colleagues stare at my hair, but don’t ask a thing. Look at me, I’m going plastic free, I say. And I also don’t flush the toilet when I pee, I add. They just nod. At lunchtime they order sushi, but I refuse to join. Sushi platters come with heaps of plastic containers, I point out. I take my bush extravagance to the nearest restaurant instead. Oven baked pizza and two glasses of wine. While swiping on my smartphone I learn that there are special soaps, wrapped in paper, that make your hair look all smooth and shiny. I really do care about fishes and all, but fuck it: I also wanna look pretty. And apparently I can. I order another wine and buy all kinds of sustainable stuff online. I stumble back into my office feeling pretty content. 

After about a week of going plastic free, being forced to change my habits and irritating pretty much everyone around me, I learned that it actually ain’t that hard. It’s a little extra effort, surely, but that’s about it. Some food items had to be scrapped off my diet, but that’s fine. I make my own lasagnes and squeeze my own juice now. I think it’s pretty cool. It’s impossible to avoid plastic completely, but that’s okay too. There is recycling still. See, I can’t bring Javan rhinos back to life or regrow the Amazon forest, but I can stop buying plastic junk. I wear my grocery bag with pride and make any refillable water bottle look sexy. People who slurp from plastic straws or carry doggy bags should be the ones frowned upon. They are the irritating ones. Myself, I’m a greeny now: It’s cool, it’s sexy, and it’s a start.