Plastic-Free July is finally over and I can now breathe a sigh of relief because THAT my friends was a pretty tough month. My partner Ben and I had many successes such as finding glass bottled milk, a wonderful butcher who welcomed our reusable containers and saying no to plastic at the shops.
We also had a few failures, like travelling for work and forgetting to pack soap, buying pet food in plastic bags and forgetting to tell bar tenders not to plastic straws in our glasses (note: even when you tell them this, it’s not guaranteed they will remember as it’s second nature to them!)
Nevertheless, I thought I’d put together a quick list of the top 20 things we learned this month to help you veto single-use plastic:
1. Bring your own food containers when going to the deli etc so you can purchase ham, cheese and other food items
2. Take your reusable coffee cup to avoid disposable one (that comes with a plastic lid)
3. Bring reusable shopping bags when going shopping
4. Invest in reusable bottles to avoid purchasing bottled water and make sure to pack them
5. Go to the farmers markets for your produce where you are more likely to avoid food items wrapped in plastic
6. Purchase milk in glass bottles (old school but there are brands are out there!) and reuse the bottles
7. Purchase from businesses/brands that do not actively use plastic packaging such as ettitude
8. Make your own toothpaste with baking soda, coconut oil and essential oil
9. For shampoo use natural soap (it works trust me) or you can make your own using baking soda and apple cider vinegar
10. Make your own toner by mixing apple cider vinegar with water
11. Use coconut oil for deep hair conditioning
12. Make your own face cleanser by using coconut oil and wiping down with a cloth
13. Make your own cleaning products using bicarbonate soda, vinegar and water
14. Prepare home cooked meals to avoid takeaway plastic containers
15. Find alternatives to plastic packaged pet food by either purchasing meat from the butcher or boxed pet food
16. Avoid plastic liners in kitty litter, you can just wash it out as often as necessary
17. Make sure to pack everything you need such as your DIY soap, shampoo and conditioner to avoid plastic-wrapped soap and other hotel amenities (did I mention we completely failed this?)
WATCH OUT FOR...
18. Say no to plastic straws when you order drinks at a pub, bar, restaurant (tell the waiter/bar tender before they serve and remind them as you watch them serve as it's guaranteed they'll forget!)
19. Veto plastic bin liners (just as you do with the cat litter) and instead just wash the bin/s out once per week (if you're composting food scraps there shouldn't be much grimy rubbish anyway)
20. Avoid plastic cling wrap and opt for storing food in reusable containers or just make your own food wraps
Whilst I haven’t been able to find a local pet supplies place that offers plastic-free bulk pet food, I’ll keep looking. As we live on a farm and currently have two dogs on the property purchasing small boxes of pet food is neither economical or practical even if we are aiming to reduce plastic. Also we’re still on the lookout for tofu (all are wrapped in plastic) as I don’t want to give this food up either (I can give up lots of other food, but not tofu)
Still not sure whether I can attempt to do plastic-free for a year, but I've got the remainder of this year to keep working at it. Stay tuned!
We want to know if you attempted the Plastic-Free July challenge and if so, how did you go? What were the biggest lessons learned? Do you have any other tips you’d like to share? Please leave a comment below to help facilitate discussion and inspire others towards reducing single-use plastic.