I attempted plastic-free July last year (see here and here) as one of the the first things I did on my green journey. It is a month of avoiding plastic as much as possible. It is not about throwing away anything plastic or even beating yourself up if there is no plastic-free option but really a time to think about our purchases, picking the items that are not wrapped in plastic over those that are and looking at alternatives if nothing plastic-free exists. It is a month of conscious consumerism which then feels more natural to continue on even after July has ended.
This year, I feel like I am a bit more prepared and I have a better understanding of what to buy and where to shop. We have also developed our shopping to be much less wasteful than just a year ago so hopefully I will have a few less problems this year.
Things we’ve done so far:
- We both own his and her’s reusable bottles (mine is glass, G’s is stainless steel) which rarely leave our sides. No need for bottled water from the shop now.
- We have started our allotment now which is going really well. I’m looking forward to pulling up our first potatoes and making some chips (from scratch).
- Buying loose vegetables. We are still limited by time and resources where we live to buy fresh vegetables but it is not impossible to buy plastic-free even from Sainsbury’s. Most vegetables are available loose at the supermarket and where there is a plastic-wrapped option (such a bananas!) and a plastic-free option then the decision is already made for you.
- We have cut down massively on meat in this last year (see my ethical decisions post on meat here) which means much less plastic in the shopping trolley. We are now buying the small amounts of meat that we get from the butchers and the butcher seems happy enough to pop my sausages into my glass container.
- More and more we are cooking from scratch, starting recipes right from the beginning. I have been making cordial and biscuits whenever I can which saves a lot of plastic waste as well as fajita wraps and chapattis. The only downside is finding the ingredients in plastic-free packaging, especially spices, but I’ll keep looking.
- Chocolate! I am a self-confessed chocoholic and massive sweet tooth but being more conscious about my choices means that I am not just grabbing the first chocolate bar I see – the first one I see is unlikely to be in recyclable packaging. So I’ve been making sure that I only buy chocolate wrapped in foil and cardboard and only buying sweets in a loose pick-n-mix paper bags. My waistline thanks me for this mindfulness.
What we can do in July:
Milk is a big one in our house, I barely drink milk but G seems to get through 4 pints a week on his own! One of the changes I am going to trial through July is buying milk from the milkman in reusable glass milk bottles. This used to be a completely normal everyday occurrence in the UK but it is dying out as the supermarkets and convenience stores undercut the milkmen. Luckily we still have a local delivery so I am keen to try it out.
Freezing fruit and veg from the allotment. We are lucky enough to have about 20 raspberry bushes, a huge bramble, a plum tree, currant bushes and a gooseberry bush at the allotment. I wasn’t prepared to let that all go to waste (or be eaten by the birds) so I jumped at the chance when my dad was getting rid of a spare freezer to have it for storing fruit. At the moment I buy mixed berries at our local farm shop in bulk (I keep the plastic bags and reuse them every time) but I am looking forward to saving some money and tasting our own delicious produce.
I’ll be keeping my eye on the Instagram community for more advice and tips and I’ll update on my progress this year at the end of July.