“I pledge to avoid single-use plastic, to reuse or recycle the plastic that I do use, to educate others about plastic waste, and to take action to help the world #breakfreefromplastic. Find out more
Here we are again in Plastic Free July, and Chez Earthmotherwithin is doing it's bit. I can't remember how many years we have taken part, but each time we learn a new habit and go a bit deeper into the plastic free lifestyle.
Disclaimer: it is very very hard to be plastic free. We are surrounded by it. My keyboard is plastic, as is the handle of my shopping trolley, and I think the fabric of the same trolley is plastic too. Nevertheless my trolley saves me both the petrol which I might use if I went by car to the local shops, and it also means I don't need single use plastic bags.
What we are trying to do is to reduce single use plastic at the very least. That means in particular, plastic bags given out by shops for a one-time trip home, water bottles and other soft drink bottles, plastic wraps used once in the kitchen, plastic which covers vegetables and fruits in the shops, so-called disposables like plastic straws and coffee cups with those plastic lids.
These things are hard to avoid. I can't buy milk in anything other than a plastic bottle. My meat comes in plastic. Some fruit and vegetables can be found loose -and then I use my produce bags (below) but soft fruits like strawberries are not often found that way because they bruise so easily in transport. Some people have local butchers who will let you bring your own containers for the meat, but this is a pretty much localised phenomenon. I tried it once, but I was embarrassed by the response and haven't done it again since.
I made these bags using left over curtains and some netting I had in my stash.
Last year we swapped body wash bottles for a simple bar of soap on a wooden rack. This works for both body washing and shampoo! This year I am experimenting with replacing the bottles of conditioner with a spray bottle of cider vinegar and water. So far it is great: it is easy to use in the shower and my hair is soft but not tangled.
I have also replaced my plastic container of dental floss with a refillable glass one which uses an organic thread rather than a plastic filament.
My rechargeable razor keeps my legs fuzz free -I used to use 'disposable' razors but this will last longer. I use rechargeable batteries in it.
In the kitchen we regularly use bulk shopping to assist in cutting down the plastic coming in to the house. One 5 litre container of dishwasher rinse aid is the equivalent of about 20 little bottles of rinse aid, as well as being impressively cheaper for example.
My DD covets the glass condiment bottles we buy, because they become the vessels for his jams and chutneys. We always need more, because these same things are given away to friends when they visit. It is therefore easy to pick the glass jar over the plastic container when shopping.
There are lots more ways in which we can improve our plastic free life -this month helps us concentrate on these, and move a bit closer to the ideal.
"If personal preference for free, convenient plastic bags were to trump the prospect of curbing environmental damage, we can look to a really rubbish future." Find more here