Looking Back at Plastic-Free July

This was my first attempt at being plastic-free for a whole month (See my original post here) and, as predicted, I ran into a few problems.

Shopping is just an absolute nightmare! It seems that everything in the UK is plastic wrapped to some extent. I brought organic cotton pants and jeans online which came in plastic bags within plastic bags! We also do a lot of our food shopping online which presents its own challenges- I buy loose leeks only to find they’ve substituted for ‘cut-leeks’ which come wrapped up- completely unnecessary! I have looked into bulk-buying options in Leicestershire, there is one in the city which is quite highly rated. But, unfortunately, because of its opening hours and my working hours I’m only able to get there on a Saturday and literally every Saturday in July I have been super busy! But I will endeavour to try out this shop at some point. In some ways it feels like the ‘green movement’ has skipped Leicestershire as our local farmer’s market stop trading recently and local produce shops are pretty much non-existent, which is sad.

It’s not all doom and gloom though. I’ve found that my own way of being more green and using less plastic is to make more homemade items. I made some lovely ginger cordial and now I’ve used the recipe for that I am confident I can make other flavoured cordials. We used to buy shop-made pizza from Sainsbury’s every week and now we’ve taken to making homemade pizza, which is a lot less time consuming than you would think and tastes so much more satisfying. I’m attempting to plant more vegetables as well, I took the stubs of the leeks (the ones that came wrapped in plastic!) and popped them in a jar of water on the sunny kitchen windowsill and only a few days later they have shot up! The roots have grown extensively so I’ve moved them to a deep pot in the garden and am hoping for the best. Such an easy thing to do to reduce waste in the kitchen and so sustainable too.

I’ve been taking full advantage of the summer months to ask everyone I know if they have any fruit and veg going. I’ve managed to get A LOT of rhubarb which I’ve chopped and frozen into individual, crumble-sized portions. Also a lot of strawberries, raspberries and a cucumber. Cannot wait for blackberry season 🙂

I have become best friends with my freezer this month- in the spirit of wasting less I have frozen as much as I can. My b/f says I’m like a squirrel hoarding for winter! If a banana looks like it’s going to go off before I get chance to eat it- it gets chopped up and thrown into the freezer!

On the whole though, I have not been particularly militant when it comes to plastic-free. We are lucky where we live to have a pretty good recycling system. So our landfill waste is always fairly minimal each month anyway, anything remotely recyclable goes into the green wheelie bin and a lot of everything else is composted. I don’t think it is possible to eat what we do without plastic unfortunately. But the important thing is that this challenge has encouraged me to open my eyes to other possibilities- if I can make it from scratch or there is a plastic-free option I’ll take that but on the whole I won’t feel guilty for buying something in recyclable packaging.

I’d love to hear how you got on on your plastic-free month 🙂

Rose x

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