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Plastic Free July - check in

We’re just under half way into the month and I’m taking a pause to have a look at my efforts so far at cutting down on plastic usage.

In our household, cutting down on single use plastic is already part of our daily living, so there’s been no dramatic change, but it is interesting to re-evaluate and consider where we can improve.

My improvements this month so far are…

Ordering fresh produce from our “Locavore store”.

This fabulous local initiative organises a central hub for local farmers and other fresh food producers to sell their produce to the public without the interference of a large shop or chainstore. Effectively it is a centralised “Farm Gate” store - an excellent prospect to allow producers to sell without having devote time and effort to licensing and staffing a farm gate stall and also to allow buyers to come somewhere central to access a variety of produce. The shop sells only ethical, sustainable (and much organic) produce that has been grown within 100km of the store. They also do not use plastic in their packaging.

Remembering my Bags.

I was catering for visitors this last weekend and needed a few vegetables not available at the Locavore store along with my normal groceries, so I did head to the supermarket. I made sure to take my grocery bags and reusable crate (I’m generally very good at not forgetting these) but ALSO my fresh produce bags (which I regularly forget).

Low Waste Catering

Buying and preparing drinks for visitors this weekend, all my purchases were in glass bottles. My son was delighted to make a few soft drinks with our Soda Stream as well.

No-Waste Table settings

In the past my parties may have had a few disposables. Cloth table linen, proper glasses, cutlery and crockery made for a no-waste affair. And it also sets a lovely scene.

Loose Leaf Tea and Coffee Beans

Whilst I own a pod-coffee machine (which does use recyclable capsules) and you will find a few tea bags in my cupboard (mainly for feeding my Kombucha SCOBY - another story), I try and make the majority of our tea and coffee consumption lower waste by buying and using bulk coffee beans for grinding in our large wall-mounted machine and choose loose leaf tea.

I discovered the problem with tea bags accidentally when digging out the old compost piles that belonged to the previous owner when we moved here only to see tea bags perfectly intact. A quick Google provided the horrible truth - most tea bags are not biodegradable and contain up to 25% plastic. Ridiculous, really! Especially when tea leaves are perfectly compostable and great for your plants. So if you want to buy tea bags, look for plastic free options or go down the loose-leaf tea route.

Switching bathroom/laundry products.

After some of our own research and testing, we stocked up this week on a few cleaning products. I make a few of my own, but I still buy a few too. Our laundry liquid is now delivered in large, recyclable aluminium “sachets” of 7L to refill our glass dispenser. I also buy a couple of products in bulk from a local manufacturer (like Rinse aid for my dishwasher) who will also refill their containers. We also order plastic free toilet paper in bulk.

I have also discovered a few things to review.

For example, I have purchased some silicone “ziplock” bags and silicone covers for covering small food jars, cans or half a piece of fruit. Whilst this covers a lot of the stuff I would use cling film for in the kitchen, I realised when I was preparing big meals for visitors on the weekend, I can’t or store larger amounts or cover larger containers. I usually recycle old plastic produce bags that do seem to breed a little in the cupboard to cover up, say a baking dish or mixing bowl in the fridge, but I will consider some larger silicone or beeswax wraps for the future. Plastic bags in our larger rubbish bin also bug me a little, although it’s not too bad as I only use one a week. I am going to look at some more Earth-friendly alternatives.

Lets see what the rest of July brings… hopefully you’re also out there trying to avoid plastic too! Remember to share if you have any other great plastic-avoiding ideas and pop over to the Plastic Free July website if you need a few more yourself.


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