Challenges

Living a low impact life

I try to live a low impact life, what turns out to be tricky if you love fashion and travelling. But contrary to what it can seem, living in a big city makes it easy when it comes to commuting and transport. I live in a very well connected area, in the Metropolitan Area of Bilbao, so I have good public transport connections for a good price.

When it comes to use of plastic, I try to avoid single use plastics as cutlery, plastic plates and plastic cups. I find easy to do so in my daily life, as I usually have lunch at home, or I take my lunch box with my portable cutlery. I understand that it can be tricky for people that have lunch at take-away, as many of the food chains don’t offer sustainable options as wooden cutlery. So this can be a service that they could start offering, as they reduce their environmental impact.

When I go to the grocery and local markets (what I try to do rather to go to supermarket) I carry my own bags, not only the big reusable bag (made out of starch or cotton), but also smaller light fabric bags for greens and veggies, so I don’t have to use a plastic bag for every product I buy and weight.

Nevertheless, as a key opportunity, I have to say that I have attend to many festivals/events in Bilbao, Barcelona and Edinburgh (to say some) that they facilitate sustainable options as reusable cups, wooden cutlery and paper/cardboard plates. So the option is out there, what we really need is a mind shift and more pressure from citizens. However, I don’t know about the price of this sustainable options, may they be a challenge to overcome? In that case, the environmental cost should be in our thoughts too, not just tangible costs.

In my case, as I mentioned, I believe I’m playing and active role in driving the change. As I’m not only avoiding to use single use plastics, but I’m also educating people around me on doing so. This is the case of my family and close friends, they are learning the impacts that plastics have in the environment and little by little they are shifting to a more sustainable life. They find it challenging in some cases, as for example when in some pubs plastic cups and plastic straws are offered they find it rude asking for a glass. However, I believe it is a matter of habits for citizens and a matter of peer pressure for (most of) businesses.

Comments (3)

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How can this be improved?
Iker Montes-Bageneta
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  • Very well. Society cannot remain outside the fight against pollution, global warming and climate change. Citizens must be an active part in reversing this situation. We need greater awareness and education to promote environmental responsibility, and strengthen our deep and demanding commitment to nature. With simple and daily gestures, we can contribute in the goal of curbing climate change.

    How can this be improved?
    Calum Irvine
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  • I'm glad you are showing personal leadership on this Idoia, as normalising environmentally conscious behaviours means business are forced to cater to them. I think if enough people make purchasing choices based on the wider impacts of their consumption, companies will compete to adapt. Sometimes they get it wrong, and sometimes they get it right.

    Last year in the UK, a groceries retailer, Marks & Spencer, was criticised on social media for using lots of plastic in packaging that wasn't necessary. But at the same time, they started replacing plastic cutlery for pre-prepared food with wooden equivalents. So they do respond to customer trends, and seem to know how important it is for their corporate image.

    Idoia Letona Castrillo
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  • Thanks for your comment. Yes, absolutely, peer pressure works and retailers and manufacturers need to be ready for the change.