Plastic-free July in the office

Hello my lovelies! I thought it would be good to record another day in my life of trying to be plastic-free since the month is now half over (has my motivation lapsed?) and I also had to be in the office yesterday. Totally different situation to my usual days working from home.

I completely forgot to take photos of my morning routine – I’m not at my best at 5:30 a.m.! But you know the drill from last time anyway. Bamboo toothbrush, toothpaste in a plastic tube, refillable bottle of shower gel. And at this point I should admit to you that I caved and used my old shampoo in its plastic bottle the day before. I just couldn’t get on with the shampoo from the zero-waste supermarket… my hair was lank and felt greasy. No thanks! Jan has now bought me a lemon grass shampoo bar so we’ll see how I get on with that. Anyway…

1-water flask

I filled a flask with water before I left so I had something to drink on the two-hour train journey.


Breakfast at the train station… croissant in a paper bag. I also grabbed a napkin so I could place it on the counter while I paid.


I purchased lunch on arrival in my destination city. Baguette wrapped in some kind of waxed paper and placed in a paper bag.


At work we drink water from plastic bottles. German tap water is safe to drink, but the pipes for our building are old and not necessarily hygienic/safe. A company delivers the bottles then picks up the empties for recycling or reuse (I’m not sure which).


I finally got back to Basel at around 8 p.m., by which time I was way too tired to cook! So I stopped at the vegetarian restaurant by the train station. The straw in my drink is paper. Still single-use, wasteful and entirely unnecessary but not plastic. Did any of the food on my plate come in plastic packaging? I can’t guarantee that it didn’t (and I’d honestly be surprised if every ingredient they used was plastic free). Did I care? In that moment, no. I just wanted to eat and get home. (And yes, I’m aware that it’s exactly that kind of attitude that led to all the problems with plastic bags, straws, bottles, etc. in the first place!).

I then went home, brushed my teeth (plastic tube again), took my folic acid (plastic packaging – unavoidable) and very gratefully collapsed into my bed. Office days are long!


8 thoughts on “Plastic-free July in the office

    1. It would be impossible to remove all single use in one go.
      This is definitely only going to be for this month. It’s not at all sustainable to avoid all (or most) plastic indefinitely and won’t be until companies start doing their part! This has been great for showing just how bad it is here though.

  1. I love that people have been participating with Steph! Such a great idea. I wanted to do it… but honestly I didn’t think I could get my supplies together in time. I need to get some re-useable iced coffee cups for Starbucks, because we have the icky habit of going daily. Whoops. I don’t have enough to keep them clean every day! BUT we have switched over to stainless straws and are doing so well with that. We also got more reuseable bags and reuseable produce bags which I feel great about. I’ve been trying to ask takeout people for no utensils/packets of sauces and am reusing the old plastic utensils until the break. I just keep them in my desk at work. I feel better about that than tossing them! i even stuck some in my plants to mark the seedlings with a bit of pretty tape. πŸ™‚ Doing my best over here and loving to see everyone and their immense progress!! πŸ™‚ Great job! Also, I have so much trouble with eco shampoos. I’ve tried so many but the oils cling to my scalp and it is miserable. I keep trying more and am having NO LUCK. XO – Alexandra

    Simply Alexandra: My Favorite Things

  2. I think you did really well! It’s tough to know what kind of packaging things come in when you buy them individually. I struggled a lot when I switch to cruelty free products. There was lots of trial and failure with toothpastes, shampoos, etc.

  3. Ah,you have my problem with shampoos. Apparently, it gets better after you have been using them for a while- in fact I vaguely recall from my years of SLS avoidance, that this was sort of true, but it’s HARD to persevere when your hair feels so NASTY! I feel your pain. Luckily, I am fairly lax with washing my hair so it takes me an age to get through a bottle of shampoo but still, I do feel bad about it.
    You’re doing really well with this and whilst you have said you are only doing it for one month, I’ll bet there are some things you have changed that you will still stick with and will have made a positive change – like I can’t imagine you are going to go back to using a plastic toothbrush after one month. I’m totally happy with my bamboo one now I’ve found a brand I like (I didn’t get on with my first Humble Brush back in 2016).
    I was thinking about your point about eating out and not knowing what the food is coming in. I bought some carrots from the International Supermarket the other day and the guy went and got some more for me out of some massive plastic bag full which made me sad- still I suppose the surface area of one BIG bag is much less than numerous individual bags of carrots. Similarly with meals in a restaurant- it’s still less plastic (IF in plastic) than if you’d bought an individual portion in the supermarket.

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