Not so long ago I realised that other people were following the same eco concept as me, and it had a name, 'Zero Waste', because of this I found out there is also a plastic free July challenge.
This month, I've found myself refusing more plastic than usual, it is easier to refuse by saying to yourself or others that you're doing this challenge, and next month you can buy that thing (in reality you probably wont need to buy it next month, but its easier to deprive yourself of something you think you need if you believe its only short term).
Since starting plastic free July, I haven't managed to completely eliminate plastic from my day to day life.
- People buying you things. (Talking about why I try to be plastic free should help this).
- People leaving things that can be used up (e.g. food).
- People offering you food in plastic. (Is it ok if they were going to eat it anyway, and share some with you?)
- Using up what you already have that is plastic. (What if you haven't found an alternative yet).
- Being out of the house, expecting to find something without plastic, but not finding anything.
The benefits of plastic free July, include that I'm eating better, less processed foods and more seasonally. Secondly we haven't put our dust bin out this month, and our Rubbish bin is empty, and our recycling can wait another few weeks until it will need to be taken out. We don't have to worry about it being rubbish day, and needing to not miss this for fear of over filled bins. Thirdly, the cost and frequency of shopping, Ive started shopping less, I wont pop into a shop and pick something up, because its hard to find much that is plastic free, instead we are utilising our veg box, and existing pantry foods, and then when planning meals we will do a bigger shopping with lots of plastic free veg and staple foods.
So far making a few switches like taking my own lunch and taking snacks when I go out, taking tubs out with me is really helping. Buying loose bread and rolls, is usually more pricy, but they taste good too. But my biggest temptation is probably crisps, I've been trying to find good replacements, but when I'm out and about and craving something savoury this is still an issue. things like chocolate are easier to find in just foil and card, which can be recycled, but I'm not craving chocolate too much, you can always buy chocolate drinks without packaging too.
I've failed to refuse plastic straws a few times, in that either I've ordered a drink or someone else has for me and it has a straw. This has only happened a few times, and I plan to hold onto my straws and use them for Eco Bricks, until I manage to refuse them better.
I went to Falmouth for a work conference, and knew I wanted to avoid plastic, I packed lots of fruit, and bulk bought dry fruit. Brought a tea cup, a water bottle, and cutlery. Actually the event was catered, and easy enough to avoid plastic. Not avoiding waste completely, things usually came in Vegware boxes, or paper bags, and ready to be served in their containers. I refused one breakfast, as I already had enough fruit that needed eating so didn't need to take anymore. One of the lunch stands said how they don't use plastic, and I did notice their stand was completely free of it. Catering vans are getting much better with their awareness, hoping supermarkets catch up soon. Falmouth is by the sea and I think they all seemed more aware of avoiding single use plastic because of its impact on the oceans.
During this trip my colleague told me she is making Eco Bricks, which is where you save, wash, dry any plastic which cant be recycled and chop it up and squish it into a 2 litre plastic drinks bottle. These Bricks can be used to build things all over the world.
This weekend I went to Hackney Downs Vegan Market, and found that there were lots of options for plastic free purchases. Like the Smoothie and Juice stand offered either a drink in a plastic cup, or in a glass bottle. I asked them to reuse my Starbucks Mug. Which they understood and were happy to do. A restaurant inside that offered plated foods, and various cake stand which you could buy with no plastic.
How are you finding plastic free July?
I'm finding it a fun challenge, not too hard, but almost exciting, because you can find fun alternative. The benefits seem great, its definitely like going back to how your grandparents would live, without plastic, especially without single use plastic.