I’m sad Plastic Free July is over. It’s been good having an even greater reason to talk about it and raise awareness.
We made Plastic Free July into a competition in our household. We enjoyed the challenges of who could create the least waste.
My most amusing incident was during a really hot day, my son was forced to have a plastic bottle of water at school. He came home most disgruntled and was really disappointed that this waste was forced upon him. His own fault though seeing as he has a lovely stainless steel water bottle at home that he’d failed to take with him that day. I digress (as always).
Plastic Free Hacks
Take Away Restaurants
It’s okay to take your own containers and ask them to dispense your food straight into them. This surprised me. I didn’t think they would, but during the month of July, we used three take away restaurants and they were all accommodating.
When I’m flying my little red flag, if I don’t get chocolate, people are going to get hurt. There are a few brands of chocolate that don’t come wrapped in plastic. Obviously, I made it my mission to sample them. I particularly enjoyed this Green & Blacks Organic Milk Chocolate.
I frequently do zero waste shopping in my local Tesco and they’re pretty accommodating. We take our own containers to buy cheese and cold meats from the deli counter. I felt like a massive idiot the first time, but I couldn’t care less now, I feel like if they aren’t also on the same journey then it’s their ignorance. My friend went to Sainsbury’s with her own containers and they refused to decant her deli counter shopping into her own containers citing health and safety as the reasons. Shame on them.
We always use our local, old school butchers. I’ve been taking my own containers there since January so he’s more than used to it now. My parents shop at the same butchers and during a conversation about me at the beginning of the year he described me as “a hippie, but there’s no harm in her”. I was mortified and really embarrassed but now, again, it just makes me smile. He wasn’t being offensive, he’s just old-fashioned and says it as he sees it.
Fruit & Vegetables
This has been the trickier one to handle. Local supermarkets tend to have their produce wrapped in plastic as standard. I’m totally comfortable putting my little peaceful protest out there and buying the produce but leaving the packaging on the counter and refusing it. I always take my own produce bags with me (Onya bags are my very favourite – they’re super lightweight and are made from recycled plastic bottles). I do sometimes buy fruit from our local farm shop although they are more expensive, however, I don’t mind paying extra for ethical produce.
Bread, Pastries & Rolls
We have a great bakery in town where we can buy bread. They have a great selection of artisan bread. We take cotton bags to carry our bread home in. I bought a cotton bag at the beginning of the month, but I’ve since then made a few of my own.
Not everything was a success this month. I’d ordered a few bits from Amazon (aforementioned cotton bag and a stainless steel bottle). I’d heard that you could select to have your Amazon shopping “Hassle Free”, meaning without packaging. Couldn’t really figure that out, but as far as I can tell, that just means in their cardboard boxes. What you can do, however, is customise your order. I emailed the sellers as soon as I’d placed my order and asked for there to be no plastic packaging and both times they did still come wrapped in damn plastic. This really annoyed me.
My Plastic Pollution
This was the plastic waste I created this month. It drives me crazy when things are wrapped in plastic before placing in a box. Why??? There’s just no need! I’m missing a couple of toothpicks and another yoghurt pot, but this is it. I’m pretty impressed with how little waste I’ve created.
MrLovely felt very smug and self-righteous this morning when, on bin day, he had no rubbish to put out. Just our recycling.
There’s a lot more to talk about, but I feel like it’s just too much to write about in one post. I’m going to start creating YouTube videos about plastic free alternatives.
Now July is over, I have no plans to reintroduce single use plastic into my life. It’s just rubbish.
I’d love to hear how you got on. Did you have lots of victories? Has it changed the way you shop and think about waste? I’d love to hear about your experiences in the comments section below.
Thank you for reading.