New Years Day 2018 and the mission begins. Myself, Ambrose, our five-year-old daughter Nellie plus our two dogs Rupert and Uncle Walter will begin a journey to reduce our plastic footprint.

I like to think of us as environmentally conscientious after all we are signed up members of GreenPeace, I cycle myself and Nellie everywhere in our cargo bike Little Donkey and when we’re not cycling we are walking or bussing it. I don’t eat meat (aside from sneaking the odd fish) and we are good at recycling but collectively we could do far more. Ambrose runs a diesel car which he uses daily for work, we enjoy adventures abroad and Nellie hasn’t until now been denied a toy or party bag because it was made of plastic.

Together, we live in Twickenham on the outskirts of the capital, just metres from The Thames. Locally we have Richmond Park and its numerous deer, Ham Lands Nature Reserve and Marble Hill Park a Site of Local Scientific Interest.

Our stretch of The Thames is home to great crested grebe, kingfisher, heron and many more including a lone harper seal which bobs about regularly feasting on eel. One of the most beautiful scenes is during high tide when the river works its way along riverside and up our driveway and the swans and ducks glide passed. Beautiful that is until the tide ebbs leaving in its wake a layer of detritus including plastic bottles, packaging, odd bits of fishing line and bags of dog poo.

Plastic is not fantastic for so many reasons; our oceans and waterways are full of it as is our marine life, landfill is brimming with the stuff and our planet has no way of breaking it down naturally. Since its relatively minimal use in the sixties plastic has eeked its way into just about every corner of daily life and if we continue to use it at the current rate we run the risk of environmental suicide.

So the plan is, whenever there’s an alternative to plastic we use it, we reuse it whenever possible as many times as we can, we won’t rely on recycling and buy used goods if there’s no alternative.

Along the way undoubtedly we’ll make mistakes but try to learn from them, always be mindful of our mission and hopefully educate and enjoy ourselves.