I’m disappointed in myself this week. Week 1 was great, with the discovery of vinegar the wonder fluid. Week 2 was about starting to use plastic free options and I found solid shampoo. Week 3 of Plastic Free July, in comparison has been a bit meh.
This weeks plastic fails
To start with I had a sort out of the Cupboard of Doom. I’m a freelance designer and it is a lot easier to have materials in stock than go out and get them. I work with paper, paint and digitally and every client has different needs. The Cupboard of Doom has got better over the years. There once was a time when you couldn’t risk opening the door without it all falling out. It is still rammed full of art materials, craft stuff and my fabric stash but in more of an order than before.
Inside the Cupboard of Doom was a large plastic lidded box that I’ve had for 14 years. It always looked useful but despite trying everything from chicken feed to cuddly toys it doesn’t work for us. I no longer have chickens and I’m not going into my 14 year olds room without a hazard suit so I have no idea if he has cuddly toys. I’ve got ongoing battles with the internet so I moved the printer out of the cupboard so I can attach it to the computer rather than rely on wireless. Along the way I found assorted useless crap. I noticed in week 1 that I chuck things away when I’m tired and that is what I did. It was all too much upheaval for me to cope with, let alone picking through tiny scraps of paper, plastic etc. and sorting them properly for recycling.
My solid shampoo makes my head itch
In week 2 I bought a lovely smelling shampoo bar from Lush. We got on very well for a week, my hair looked great and the bar produced enough bubbles to keep me happy. At the start of week 3 I wanted to scratch my scalp off. Lush are great about this sort of reaction to their products. They told me to bring it back to swap for a calmer alternative. I’m hoping the shampoo bars work because they are so easy to use. What a brilliant no plastic swap for normal shampoo in bottles.
I’m a sucker for reduced price food
Easy peel oranges were reduced in Lidl. Super cheap but they come in plastic nets with a large plastic label. There is an alternative to this and it is to buy from the market, but these were in front of me, not a drive away and they were super cheap. The net is not scratchy enough to make scourers from.
Danger lurks with treats and eating out
I took my son out for food a couple of times. The only way I can lure him out of his lair is by promising chips. He has braces and needs to use a straw if he has an illegal juice now and then. I have bamboo straws at home, I don’t carry them around with me. The logistics of transporting a sticky, wet, used bamboo straw home after use are too much for me. I am never going to be organised enough to carry a reusable straw. Sorry turtles.
And finally, I bought my son a Kinder Disappointment which is what we call those little chocolate eggs with plastic crap inside. I bought it as a joke and a treat forgetting totally that it is full of non recyclable plastic. Doh!
This weeks wins.
Our local repair cafe give our local Morsbag pod table space when they meet up. This month, as a personal challenge, I made 31 Morsbags out of scrap fabric. This whittled my fabric stash down to a manageable amount. I spent a couple of hours on a busy local shopping street giving them away. People are so suspicious, it was like reverse mugging! No, I don’t want anything for it, yes it is totally free, no catch….. I was a bit dispirited half way through but got a good run of takers after a little break.
Tiffins are a fantastic plastic free takeaway solution
As a reward I got a takeaway tiffin for lunch, another plastic free win. Tiffins are reusable metal boxes, separated into different sections for rice, bread, dahl and curry. I am very lucky to live within walking distance of Jeevans, who make the best curry in the world. You need to buy your own tiffin tin but once you have one it costs £7 to refill it with enough food for 2 people.
White vinegar is better than Mr Muscle
Vinegar continues to amaze me. I have a spray bottle of it from Wilkos which is much better at cleaning my enamel gas hob than anything I have used before. It works in stinky trainers with a sprinkling of bicarb too.
Plastic free in Poundland
I found some plastic alternatives in Poundland. They sell UHU glue in metal tubes with a small plastic lid and tissues in cardboard boxes with a small bit of plastic under the lid. For myself, I have handkerchiefs. Teenage boys produce the kind of snot that laminates cloth handkerchiefs into solid chunks of disgustingness. I buy tissues for him and it is great to have an alternative to the plastic wrapped ones.
Sorting out the recycling and bins early on a Sunday gives me more of a chance to do it properly. That is a habit I will try my best to keep up.
Plans for week 4
Washing powder is running out but it is in a cardboard box so that is ok. I want to find out what I can do with soda crystals, it looks like they can be added to washing powder to extend it.
I was going to go to the Sunday fruit and veg market but it is tipping down. We need fruit but not much else and I can get it from the stall in town tomorrow and take my own bags.
We have started to save orange peel to add to a large jar of white vinegar. It looks like a whole load of dead goldfish but I will strain it and use it as fabric conditioner. More vinegar revelations will be on the site as I discover them.
Plastic free on a budget is not easy. It is not impossible though and I’m sure by the end of week 4 of Plastic Free July I will have a little list of easy changes I can make to reduce our plastic.