Plastic Free July - Some Easy Changes

I feel like most people are aware now that plastic and micro-plastics are contaminating our world and causing untold damage to wildlife and nature in general. Maybe you don't know, though, that July is Plastic Free Month. This is an initiative that was set up by the Plastic Free Foundation in Australia, beginning in 2011 and growing from strength to strength.  If you take a look at the Plastic Free July website, you will find lots of resources and tips and you can also sign up to the challenge, which I did myself.
This is an area I definitely need to improve on so I am definitely not setting myself up as a paragon of virtue here - I have made some changes to my life though, in order to try and reduce the amount of plastic coming into the home so I'm going to share them here. And just to note - bulk buying is a great way of avoiding plastic, especially when you can bring your own containers. Unfortunately it is not an option for my family, due to anaphylactic food allergies and the danger of cross-contamination, so this is why I don't have experience of that - although I do buy the large sizes of washing up liquid and toilet cleaner so that I can refill my smaller bottles, rather than buying new ones.
It's important to say, also, that there is no need to rush out and buy new things. If things you have work well, that's brilliant. The things I'm sharing here are things that I have found to be useful and that aided me in reducing plastic so it was worth it for me.  First up are my beeswax wraps - I actually put off buying these for ages because I had mainly just used tupperware containers to store food.  However I spotted these in Aldi and thought I would give them a go. They are great for wrapping cheese and things like that and then I needed a large one, (second pic) because I got a breadmaker through my local freecycle and realised that I didn't want to wrap my fresh bread loaves in clingfilm. I got this from Other Mammys on Facebook and it's just perfectly the right size for my bread.

As you can see also from the pic above, I prefer to buy wooden or bamboo kitchen utensils where possible and there are lots of places now where these are available. I think I bought these ones pictured in Aldi but I have seen similar in TK Maxx and in Flying Tiger.

Bamboo toothbrushes are another thing I put off, mostly because it was just my habit to throw toothbrush packs in the trolley when I did a weekly shop but again, Aldi had these on offer so it seemed like the perfect time to try them and I'm totally converted, the quality is great and although the bristles are still nylon, at least most of the toothbrush can be composted.

Bamboo cotton buds are also great because they can be composted - my daughter uses these a lot and I have gotten these from the Little Green Shop a few times and I just picked up the ones pictured  on my weekly shop!

Shampoo and conditioner bars are a good alternative to plastic bottles - I have had mixed results with shampoo bars but I'm going to commit to these for this month anyway. I think it probably depends on your hair type and which brand you are using but it's certainly something to consider.

Other ways to reduce plastic are:

  • Grow your own fruit and veg
  • Shop at local markets and bring your own tote bags
  • Reuse glass jars and bottles for storage
  • Bring a reusable water bottle with you to work/on journeys
  • Have your reusable coffee cup with you when you are out and about (this has been curtailed since Covid-19 but hopefully coffee shops will return to accepting them soon)
  • Have a 'lunch pack' in your desk at work - mine has a cutlery set, a metal straw and a cloth napkin.
  • Bring your own containers where possible when purchasing meat/fish/takeways
  • Use loose leaf tea as many brand of teabag contain micro plastics
If you have any other suggestions, let me know in the comments!

You might also like Zero Waste Favourites and Visit to Cloughjordan

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