Living Without Plastic | Part 7: why giving up plastic makes me want to do yoga

Country Life's Rosie Paterson has given up plastic for Lent. It's not been easy... but it has had some surprising side effects.

Yoga (alamy)

Rosie, pictured on the banks of the Thames at 6am on Wednesday. (Well, it probably looked something like this…)

It’s 6am on an uncharacteristically cold March morning and I’m doing a sunrise yoga flow. With a facemask on. By myself. Voluntarily.

I’m good with early mornings. I love yoga. And I really love a facemask. But the three together feel a little too wholesome. A little too put together.

The version of me that absent-mindedly pours a vat of homemade chicken stock into the sink (sorry flatmate) and then, less than twenty-fours later, locks themselves out of their flat for three hours (sorry flatmate, again) doesn’t really see eye-to-eye with this ordered and efficient Rosie.

There have been other, subtle changes.

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I’ve started going to the gym on a regular basis for the first time since Christmas. In fact the journey to rediscover my abs – which I’m sure were there before mince pies and champagne appeared at every meal – might be the next blog series.

In an effort to combat food waste, Monday and Tuesday nights now pass in an almost ritualistic fashion with ramen, made from the leftovers of a weekend roast (assuming that I haven’t disposed of the stock down the drain), the Evening Standard crossword and Classical FM. I am actually 25 going on, very happily, 250.

“What started out as a simple challenge to temporarily eradicate plastic from my life has evolved into something bigger.”

I’ve also made an effort to choose organic varieties or fruit and vegetables most susceptible to pesticides. Important when you can count on one hand the number of times you’ve bothered to wash food. Strawberries, spinach, tomatoes and cucumbers are amongst the guilty culprits.

This conscious approach to shopping extends beyond food — and I’ve carefully researched and invested in more eco-friendly cleaning products and detergents, reusable food wrap and skincare products.

What started out as a simple challenge to temporarily eradicate plastic from my life has evolved into something bigger.

Sure, I cannot wait for Lent to end so that I can resurrect my expensive Shellac manicure habit, buy the biggest tub of Greek yoghurt I can get my hands on (it’s the simple things) and a pair of plastic-adorned earrings.

There are, however, a few changes that I would like to keep up with from buying loose fruit and veg where possible — Riverford’s veggie box is the perfect solution to poorly stocked local supermarkets — to taking the time to research eco-friendly packaged products. Especially ones where it’s near impossible or impractical to find plastic-free.

Catch of the day: a fridge, spotted by the flatmate, 1000 miles off the coast of The Azores © Ross Turner

Mid-week motivation came in the form of news, on the same day as World Water Day, that The Great Pacific Garbage Patch (catchy, I know) is now estimated to contain 79,000 tonnes of plastic.

This means that the plastic flotilla — which covers a 1.6million kilometre patch of ocean between Hawaii and California — is somewhere between four and 16 times bigger than previously thought.

As far-flung as California might feel, the Garbage Patch is just one of five ‘gyres’ — huge areas of circulating ocean currents — spread across the globe. Each dubiously boasts a much higher concentration of plastic rubbish, compared to the surrounding ocean.

Not an accolade worth writing home about.

P.s. This morning, I made it all the way to the station before realising I’d forgotten my train ticket. Maybe not so organised after all…

You can follow Rosie’s progress every Friday at – she’s also on Instagram at @rosielkpaterson