The idea behind Plastic Free July is to limit the amount of single use plastic you consume. ABC’s wonderful War on Waste program has put a spotlight on what we throw out and the plastic free movement really seems to be gathering momentum. Today we’re handing the blog over to Purdy, our receptionist/social media whiz, to tackle Purdy’s Plastic Free July.
Hello! I love the idea of Plastic Free July challenge. I’ve been having my own personal war on plastic for the last few years! There are some things I have found pretty easy to just say no to for example, plastic straw in your gin and tonic – no thanks! Plastic bag for that one item you ran in to pick up – no thanks! Plastic cutlery for that salad you’re taking back to the office – no thanks! Then there are some things where I have needed to make a switch. I’ve already made a few little swaps and it is amazing how you don’t even notice the change once it’s in place.
For Plastic Free July you can choose a few areas to tackle from their Action Picker. Don’t feel overwhelmed, you can take on as much or as little as you like. Here are some examples of things I have managed to swap out.
Things I Already Do
I got my toothbrushes from The Environmental Toothbrush The only problems was telling mine apart from my husbands which I solved by drawing a little smiley face on mine. They come in soft, medium and children and have a lovely feel in your hand, it feels just like a regular toothbrush.
Apart from the wonderful green bags for my supermarket/market shop I’ve found having a roll up bag in your handbag or car is a life saver for those times when you unexpectedly need a bag. This was especially good when I was traveling overseas, can’t tell you how many times I whipped out my bag!
I do have a keep-cup on me most of the time but the main way I avoid the dreaded take away cup is but drinking in! I swear everything tastes better in a real cup anyway.
Lastly toilet paper wrapped in paper rather than plastic from Who Gives a Crap (this is also a swap we made at Quiescence) I love that it gets delivered to your door, no more awkwardly carrying home toilet paper!
New Things to Try
Ok now on to the harder stuff, plastic just has a way of sneaking up on you doesn’t it!
This is such a huge one, I shop once a week and so often I find myself unpacking all this plastic packaged food which I then pour into glass jars! So I’m going to aim to shop for things like grains, seeds and beans at a bulk food store where you either bring your own container or use paper bags. Shopping at markets is also a great way to cut down on plastic packaging not just for fruit and veg but also for cheeses and meats/fish. You can hand over your own container or ask for paper wrapped. It’s also worth noting which health food stores (like our friends at Wild Things Food) have Eco packaging for their produce like cellophane which is biodegradable. (There are a bunch more tips on SHOPPING here from the Plastic free July folks.)
I generally avoid take away and I tend to bring lunch from home so I’m keen to invest in some glass Tupperware that can go from oven to fridge to work the next day to the freezer! Another great swap is getting rid of glad wrap. Beeswax Wraps to replace glad wrap is a great idea, they are re-usable and washable. (We now have them at the clinic! 20% off for Plastic Free July)
Zero waste advocate Lauren Singer from Trash is for Tossers has a whole bunch of tutorials on making your own beauty products here is one for toothpaste and body lotion. I might try some of these if I run out of current my beauty products. I have also been enjoying Quiescence’s Nourishing Body Balm it is a great alternative to plastic packaged moisturizer!
Looking to the future, I think I can keep up some of these plastic free changes in my day-to-day life…but there is another big challenge coming my way (in more ways than one!) I’m expecting a baby at end of August! And with a baby comes a ton of inevitable plastic paraphernalia. I know I probably can’t cut everything plastic out sometimes it’s just too convenient but here are some areas I hope to tackle.
Especially as they grow older I’m sure the plastic toys will be hard to avoid! To combat this I hope to include a cloth and wooden toys, making use of toy library and hand me downs to extend the life of plastic toys.
For my own clothes I’ve always been a fan of Op-shops and buying second hand clothing. Now that I’m pregnant hand-me-downs from friends and family have been great, especially for those items you know you’ll only be needing for a while – like maternity jeans. And the same goes for baby clothes, they grow so fast, I think I’ll be spending a lot of time at second hand shops.
If anyone has any tips for me I’d love to hear! If you’d like to get on board with Plastic Free July they have a great website and we’ll be sharing more good ideas on our Facebook Page so feel free to post ideas on there too.