Week 4 of Plastic Free July at last. I love a challenge, especially one that fits neatly into a week or a month but this has been hard. It started to drag in the middle of week 2 and it has been harder to continue than to start. Plastic is everywhere. I’ve needed to think about everything I used and bought. I’ve turned down straws, plastic bottles and plastic bags that are offered without thought. It is unusual to refuse these things and I have felt like I’m a pain in the arse to shop and bar staff.
This weeks plastic free fails
Cheap food continues to be my nemesis. Delicious ripen at home nectarines for 49p packaged in a recyclable box but with net over the top and a plastic label. Like last week’s oranges, the packaging net isn’t scratchy enough to make dish scourers with so it has gone in the bin.
The other fail this week was at M&S. I ordered some linen trousers online, they were from the sale and I got 2 sizes just in case. The plan was to try them on in store and get a refund for the pair that didn’t fit. The trousers are lovely but both pairs came packaged in cellophane tubes, inside a larger plastic mailing sack. M&S have designed the mailing bags for re-use but the cellophane just got chucked into a bin when I asked them to dispose of it. I’ve no idea what happens to it but I’ve asked them.
My lovely butcher who is used to me going in with tuppaware to avoid plastic bags absentmindedly put an already plastic wrapped pork pie into another plastic bag. Doh! I eat pork pies about once a year so it isn’t going to happen often.
This weeks plastic free wins
Veg from the market has less packaging than veg from Lidl. It is a similar price with more 2 for 1 offers. Mushrooms came in a plastic bag instead of a plastic box covered with cling film. Plums came in a recyclable plastic box. The hassle factor isn’t that big, it just means splitting my weekly shop into two. Flour, sugar, butter and milk etc. from one place and veg from another.
I started using a refillable water bottle in December and getting into that habit has become easier as bars and cafes are happier to refill it. It is nice to see water fountains coming back into use too.
My main win this week has been simply not buying anything wrapped in plastic if it could be avoided. This approach needs time and the less harassed you are by life the easier it is to think straight. I know that when I’m rushed and tired I stop caring, which is why I’m sorting out my recycling on Sunday mornings now.
What is in the bin this week?
My landfill waste all fits in one bread bag this week. The other 3 weeks have needed two bags. The bag mostly contains the plastic net from fruits and plastic packaging that came with spinach There is also a black plastic tray that was packaging some sausages I bought and froze a while ago.
The landfill bag is smaller because the cats have been outside crapping on my seedlings instead of using their litter trays and I’ve made conscious shopping decisions to avoid plastic packaging.
Plans for a plastic free future
I’ll do Plastic Free July again next year but I’ll plan better. I’ll spend some time writing posts with ideas to reduce plastic (like swapping teabags for loose tea) and I’ll pick a couple of those things to try to make into a habit.
I’m still experimenting with more natural cleaning products and I’m happy with the way that is going. More posts about that later too.
- I’ve been helped and supported this month by the lovely Plastic is Rubbish Facebook Group.
- The hashtag #pfjuk on Twitter will bring up plastic free Juliers in the UK.
- For global Plastic Free July search #plasticfreejuly
- For a list of shops in the UK see www.plasticisrubbish.com
- Local councils list fruit and veg markets.