Plastic Free July – one week down …

So I’ve always thought of myself as not doing too bad on the eco-living front but as a working mum who does not enjoy cooking, a lot of the items in my shopping trolley are ‘convenience’ packaged. Before July even started I was imagining my dilemma bag to be hugely embarrassing … but then I remember, it’s all about making changes and having a go. Providing the motivation to challenge myself and think about it, go outside the comfort zone and seek alternatives. And do all this with the support of a community who has been there done that, still doing it and starting with me for the first time. I love that the Plastic Free July website celebrates the small victories as well as the really impressive ones, because it’s all about taking that first step, making the small change and gaining confidence, knowledge and being empowered to keep on making those changes.

We had some good experiences out and about in the first week. We managed to go to our local show  without accumulating/using any plastic by bringing our own water bottles and food and not buying any showbags or other paraphernalia. I had lunch out once too, and by choosing a place that used paper plates and taking my own cutlery I was able to avoid single use plastic.
So the contents of my dilemma bag is (it’s actually a bucket we re-purposed from a florist and pretty small) in the first week:
– plastic snack packets (next week you will see the plastic bag they all came in)
– plastic containers for strawberries and cherry tomatoes
– plastic bag for baby carrots
– plastic bag for frozen peas and corn
– Wrap packets
– Cheese wrapper
– hommus container (hopefully the last one for the month)
– toilet paper wrapper (this pains me as I normally buy the paper wrapped loo paper)
– cereal plastic
– bicarb soda plastic (will look for cardboard packet next time)
– biscuit plastic wrap
– plastic wrap for brown sugar and gluten free flour (my old wheat flour comes in a paper bag sigh)
– bread bag
– balloon stick, balloon holder and balloon
– packaging for shirts bought online (includes plastic around shirts, plastic thingys in collars and cuffs and plastic clips holding them folded nicely together).
– plastic sleeve for birthday card I bought months ago
Items not pictured below included a Styrofoam meat tray and the plastic milk containers. I am not sure because the milk containers and the vegetable containers are recyclable they technically count as single use plastic but reduce before reuse and recycle right?
There is a lot of plastic debt here from items bought pre July and I am hoping the amount of single use plastic will get smaller as the month wears on.
Some changes that I have made this month that have reduced my single use plastic:
– baking
– buying fruit and veg whole and finding creative ways to use them up
– making my own hummus and yoghurt (the yoghurt was my first try using existing yoghurt as a starter rather than the plastic packet mix)
– using reusable wrap on left over food
– diversifying my shop to include a bulk produce store that let’s me use my own containers
– taking my own cutlery with me when I know that I will be getting takeaway and going to places that use paper rather than plastic packaging
Some challenges faced this month in reducing single use plastic:
– the plastic debt going into July, so much stuff in the cupboards was already wrapped in plastic!
– not being able to resist some products that come in plastic packages (strawberries!)
– Getting my hubby to pass up on plastic packaged bargains and his faves
– finding bulk unpackaged versions of the goods I liked to buy in convenience packages
– avoiding the free balloon on a plastic stick person
I would love to hear about your small changes and challenges if you are also taking on plastic free July. Sal x

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