Plastic Free July - Midway Confessions

Plastic is everywhere. Something I was well aware of before "Plastic Free July", but something that now, at the halfway point I'm feeling slightly terrified by. It feels inescapable and quite frankly too hard. Whatever we do we can't seem to be free of plastic entirely, not even for a day. 

It's in this overwhelming place of wanting to give up on the whole idea and feeling it's utterly hopeless that that desire to dig a little deeper kicks in, and somehow I feel more determined than ever to fight back before the plastic suffocates us all. (Quite literally.)

Carrying around your plastic all day can be fun. Sparkles made with a plastic bottle held up to lens.

Over the last 2 weeks we've tried to give up single use plastic entirely; we've already failed miserably. It's everywhere. If the volume of plastic packaging used on our produce wasn't shocking enough, the amount of it that is not recyclable is even more so. 

We bought a pizza, it was packaged in 2 different layers of card that were both recyclable but finished off in shrink wrap plastic - which wasn't recyclable. Our kids are really fussy eaters, they survive largely on wraps filled with cheese and salad cream (I know, so disgusting!). So i was mortified to find the packaging for these wasn't recyclable. We love buying fresh bread from our local supermarket, but they come wrapped in those hideous bags that can't decide if they want to be brown paper or plastic so form a single-use combination that is needlessly unsustainable.

So many of our go to items were packaged so badly and needed to be avoided for Plastic Free July. It very nearly broke me. But we resolved to make changes where we could and not beat ourselves up too much where we couldn't. I feel this is the only way we will survive and I feel that doing what we can, no matter how small, is still much better than doing nothing at all. 

So here is a little recap of changes we have made...

  1. Took our own bag to buy fresh bread, and chose the individual rolls that aren't pre-packaged. (Next time we may try finding a bakery instead where they may be more package-free options.)
  2. Changed brand of wraps to one just 10p more that has recyclable packaging. (I know what you're thinking but there is no way I'm "Adult" enough to make my own wraps, so forget it.)
  3. Bought boxed pasta, yep it's a thing. It was quite a bit more expensive so I don't know if I will keep it up after this month. But the current packaging isn't recyclable at all and pasta is my main food group so it needs considering.
  4. We have held on to any plastic rubbish when out and about to ensure it ends up in our recycling bin and not in a general waste bin. 
  5. Taken our own drinks places instead of buying them. But to be honest we do this most of the time because we're cheap ;)
  6. This week we're having homemade Pizzas to avoid the packaging. Fussy 7 year old may starve but I shall inform him it's for the greater good.
  7. We're using foil instead of sandwich bags for the kid's lunches. Ideally a sandwich box of some description would be a better long term solution, but I feel less guilty recycling foil than plastic. 
  8. We actually have some nice Beeswax food wraps that I won in a competion once upon a time so we are making more of an effort to use those than we were doing.

And here are a few things we want to try and do...

  1. Once our current soap runs out, switch to a bar of soap. The kids will make it horrible but hey it's soap, it's self-cleaning right? (Bonus points if you caught the Friends reference there)
  2. Make our own food. Yep I said it. This seems to be the glaringly obvious, staring you in the face whilst you nervously pretend you haven't noticed solution to a lot of our plastic problems. We're doing pizzas this week, but we should probably try and make our own Humous (yes we eat a lot of humous, don't you?) our own bread, and maybe even our own pasta. (Too far? Yes I sensed it might be.)
  3. Have our milk delivered in a glass bottle by an actual milk man just like the olden days (also known as my childhood.)
  4. Go to the actual shops, to do the actual shopping. This one terrifies me. I hate shopping. Online shopping is the only way to go for me, and we get all our grocery shopping delivered too (Non-UK people this is not as fancy as it sounds and costs about £2 and a lot of people do it, ok? Don't judge.) But even when you tell them not to put it in plastic bags they inevitably use a couple for the small or "likely to explode" type products, and the plastic packaging when you order clothes online is ridiculous. So actually going and saying no and taking our own bags might be something we try. Maybe. Or not. We'll see.
  5. Give the packaging back. This is something I am a bit too scared to try, but I would love to take all the unnecessary packaging off my food and just leave it in the shop. It doesn't solve the problem but maybe it would wake up the supermarket to the need for change. I would love to hear from anyone who's done this, let me know how you got on in the comments! 

Carrying around your plastic all day can be fun. Hazy light at top of the trees made with a plastic bottle.

Lastly something we can all do, and our 9 year old daughter actually did just this week, and that is write to your MP. Ask them why so much non-recyclable packaging is allowed to be used? Why aren't companies being encouraged to reduce packaging and recycle more? We all have a voice, now is the time to use it.

If you're trying Plastic Free July I would love to hear how you're getting on in the comments, and what changes you are making.

This is a super helpful link for finding out lots more about Plastic Free July.

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