The Plastic Free July Nightmare

Photo: Pixabay: Tom Crew

The Big Plastic Count is over. In the week that we sifted through our rubbish we threw away forty six kitchen, bathroom and other household plastic items. Gulp! And I have a suspicion that we didn’t do that badly. Even so it’s a lot of waste and there’s room for improvement. It took me back to a time in 2017 that I did another exercise that aimed to cut waste the Plastic Free July nightmare. I’d urge you to give it a go just once because of the insights that it brings. So I thought today I’d reminisce about my efforts and think about whether much has changed.

Oh my golly gosh!  When I embarked on the the challenge I thought that it was going to be a bit of a laugh,  a breeze in fact.  The enormity of  what I’ve agreed to do soon set in. Keeping to the pledge of refusing single use plastic was nigh on impossible. I remember that I popped into a supermarket as I’d forgotten my lunch. The only thing that I found to eat in the chill cabinets was a Melton Mowbray Pork Pie wrapped in paper. It was a yummy treat but a girl cannot live on meaty pastry products for a month.

And yes I failed, and cheated. I also wished during the event that I’d had the foresight to cheat a bit more by stocking up on illicitly wrapped stuff on 30th June or before.   I accepted a plastic knife to cut cheese at a wedding and found plastic wrapped inner packaging in a box of crackers. More substantially I bombed out on sourcing pasteurised milk in sustainable containers with non plastic lids.

I was glad when the Plastic Free July nightmare was over. It encouraged me to make a few changes, a few of which have been longstanding. I think that the biggest reduction has been made by increasws cooking from scratch. More of the basic ingredients are less likely to come in plastic. Also buying in bulk means that less packaging is used overall.

So five years on have things changed? Maybe, maybe not from a grocery shopping point of view. But one thing that may have upped our week long plastic tally is an increased reliance on shopping online. One of the small parcels that arrived last week contained four plastic bags!

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  1. We did the big plastic count too and felt reasonably smug (so wrong) when I added up what we had, but once it had been through the number crunching on the website – what a sobering thought – I thought we were being ‘as good as we could’ but over the course of a year that bit of good we do is not enough. Off to check out Plastic free July – suspect it may be a rather hard challenge 🙁

    • Oh bless. Yes I think that we may have personal improvements to be made. But the organaisers did say that the main aim of the challenge was to heighten big business awareness. Maybe things will be made a bit easier for us if the companies take note and change their packaging.

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