I would love to be able to produce all the food my family needs from the garden, but that’s not feasible and of course, I need to be able to purchase other items on a regular basis. I just don’t want all of my items purchased to be wrapped in plastic.
Two years ago I came across the concept of Plastic Free July. They have a facebook page and website and I’m pleased to see the momentum still building for this initiative. It was my reminder to re-evaluate how much plastic I consume and how to rid myself of more single-use plastic products.
I still use plastic (anyone who has seen my kitchen will be aware that I have quite a Tupperware collection) but the focus is on ditching the single use plastic items; think plastic bags, plastic cutlery and plates, take away containers and plastic wrap.
Apart from being wasteful, most single-use plastics are avoidable – with a bit of forethought. Here’s some of the changes I’ve made.
- I always carry my KeepCup for coffees. Plastic lids aside, the plastic lined cups used by most cafes are not recyclable. As a bonus, my KeepCup is actually glass and I much prefer drinking from a glass than a takeaway cup!
- I carry my own reusable shopping bags. While I have the bulkier green bags in the car, so I’m not caught out with impulse shopping, I have a collection of Omnisax bags that fold away small enough for me to carry 2 easily in my bag at all times.
- I also invested in produce bags for fruit and veg purchases – I use the ones from Onya. I also avoid purchasing pre-packaged fresh produce (bags of carrots and potatoes, cauliflower halves in plastic wrap are some of the culprits).
- While I like the convenience of home delivery, I often find meats and other items overpackaged. Aussie Farmers for example will deliver pre-packaged bacon packed in an extra plastic bag with a disposable gel freezer pack. For that reason, I keep my purchases to the basics!
- I discovered that you can buy toilet paper by subscription, delivered to your door and completely plastic free. It’s by Who Gives a Crap, and I’m a convert.
- We use stainless steel straws – they’re great!
- I don’t use plastic wrap, I use my BeeKeepa re-usable wraps, glass containers or tupperware for food storage.
There is still room for improvement. Having a bulk foods store open locally has been great for purchasing non-packed dry goods (like flours, nuts and dried fruit) but I still struggle to find plastic-free alternatives to purchasing meat and deli items as most stores won’t pack them in containers if you provide them. Bread is another tricky one for me, as is milk.
When I do find myself with ‘soft plastics’, these items find their way back to the major supermarkets to be recycled. Not ideal, but I don’t find I have that much to recycle these days anyway.
So who’s going to pledge to be Plastic Free this July? http://www.plasticfreejuly.org/
If you’ve got any other tips on reducing plastic use, be sure to comment below!