This month's Green Gate Challenge has been the easiest one yet! All we had to do was collect our food packaging and measure how much we have at the end of the week. However, though the challenge required zero sacrifices or changes in behaviour – unlike our previous challenges of meat-free lunches and using reusable coffee cups – the impact was huge. We were all confronted with the fact that nearly everything we consumed was wrapped up in unnecessary packaging…
Read below to find out how some of the Gate team responded to the challenge.
Sarah Murray, General Manager:
I buy a lot of convenience food at work for my lunch or if I am working the show for dinner. It is quick and easy and it means I can get out the office for 20 mins to go and find what I want to eat.
This challenge has physically shown me that my amount of single plastic use is huge. Even if I am just buying pre-packaged salad from the supermarket. It will come in a packet that is totally surrounded by plastic. Even the dressing will be in be in a small plastic tub that is not able to be recycled.
This means that I now have a large amount of plastic under my desk and it is a) shocking and B) disgusting (I do wash them after I have used them but it is still grim to know that this rubbish is there). It has also really illustrated to me that even though I will pop all this packaging into the recycling bin it still doesn’t actually go away. The earth still now has this salad container that it didn’t need to have.
Anthony Simpson-Pike, Associate Director:
It’s so important to see the waste we create and to have to contend with the space it takes up. It’s really true that out of site means out of mind so it’s difficult to realise our impact on the planet when it is always hidden from view.
Jenny Pearce, Producer:
This challenge was particularly exposing, being faced with how much daily waste we get through forced you to confront that, in order to make a noticeable change with green issues, you have to practice what you preach in every aspect of your life.
Ellen McDougall, Artistic Director:
The challenge made me so aware of how fast paced our work lives are. And that even though climate change feels like another Urgent challenge to take on, actually creating time to reflect and rethink is part of the process of positive change. The idea of squeezing in extra time to prepare lunch before coming to work was really challenging. But I did end up taking time to think about my choices of lunch venue. We have a pizza place round the corner who will serve you food in your own tuppaware or a paper bag – so although I wouldn’t recommend eating pizza everyday for a month, it did help me reduce the amount of single use plastic I used.
Lise Bell, Project Manager:
Having to look at all the waste I create piling up around me was quite terrifying but was great to make me more aware of my personal impact on the environment. It’s made me think harder about the packaging that my food comes in, but continues to frustrate me how difficult it is to find cheap food options that don’t involve ridiculous amounts of plastic.
Yasmin Hafesji, Development Assistant:
This month’s Green Gate Challenge definitely made me confront the amount of waste that I generate as an individual, and I was alarmed by how much plastic I was getting through. It also made me try to make environmentally friendly decisions, such as bringing in reusable water bottles and trying to bring in my own lunch to reduce waste. It’s an ongoing process – of trying to make better decisions and committing to those decisions in the long term.