Day 22: Plastic Free July 2014

I’ve ditched the toothy tabs and the bamboo toothbrush.  The toothy tabs went first – no amount of trying to persuade myself that they weren’t too bad or that I’d acquire a taste for them worked. The bottom line is that, for me, they were so disgusting they actually made me feel like I was going to throw up.  Literally. Plastic Free July or not, I’m not that committed!

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The toothbrush lasted longer.  I’ve had a bad experience with bamboo toothbrushes before – see this post – but I thought I’d found a better brand this time. Indeed, I was quite happy with it until Day 10 when the first clump of bristles came away while I was brushing. Not pleasant, but I hung on to it until the second clump came away one morning when I was brushing my teeth alongside my children. One bristle got caught at the back of my throat and – you guessed it – I thought I was going to throw up. I was trying to supress my reaction from the kids, which made the situation all the worse…  I’ve therefore gone back to using my brush with the disposable heads which I really like. I got mine here.  There’s obviously plastic involved, but less of it.  It’s worth it for a trauma-free experience!

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The next thing I could try if I find myself with a spare moment would be a recipe for homemade toothpaste. If you want to try some out then @polytheenpam uses this one and Lindsay at @treadmyowpath uses this one. I also picked up a handy tip from Lindsay’s blog.  She managed to separate the bristles from her bamboo toothbrush by soaking it in water, so that she could then compost the bamboo.  As I write, mine is sitting in a mug of water (having already been used for scrubbing the bathroom clean earlier!)

In other news – look what I saw in Tesco yesterday.

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Your eyes do not deceive you – these balls are actually each wrapped in plastic film. I don’t think I need to say anything more about this…!

Finally, thanks to those of you who’ve got in touch to let me know about the companies you’ve contacted about the potential plastic in their products. I was especially touched by this comment left on the blog yesterday, by twothirdswild:

I know you are in the UK, and I am in Australia, but I have been following your Plastic Free July journey via your blog. I am also participating in Plastic Free July here, and am learning so much along the way. I read with interest your blog about plastic in tea bags, and thought “there’s no way there is plastic in my tea-bags over here”. BUT, I thought I should follow it up, just for my peace of mind. I buy an Australian grown and owned brand of tea called Nerada which is packaged in a 95% recycled cardboard box, with no inner or outer plastic film unlike so many other brands on the supermarket shelves! Anyway, I decided to email the company and ask them, as there was nothing on their website that mentioned plastic in the bags. To my amazement, and to their credit, I received a response within half an hour. The low-down……. Yes, there are cellulose and thermo-plastic fibres in the bags which are necessary to seal the product! Gobsmacked, I was. Their bags are however, made from manila hemp, which has been oxygen whitened, not treated with chlorine or chlorine based compounds, so that is a big bonus. Anyway, we live and learn, and do our best to individually and collectively raise our awareness of these sorts of hidden issues. Keep up the good work!

I can relate to the disappointment! As I’ve said in a past post, I felt a little as if my heart had been broken by the trusty tea bag… It’s comforting though to know that, as consumers, we have the power to ask questions and vote with our feet.  Thanks once again to @polytheenpam to her post on Plastic Is Rubbish for raising the issue of the plastic tea bag.

Day 19: Plastic Free July 2014

In my last post I mentioned that I have just come back from a short holiday. I’ve been trying to work out the best way that I can write about this, without simply making it a log of all of the plastic we encountered and consumed which runs the risk of being dry, not to mention depressing as – believe me! – there was plastic everywhere…

I quickly gave up on the idea of trying to tightly monitor the plastic we accepted on holiday. It really wouldn’t have been fun for anyone (me, my family or the hotel staff), plus sometimes you have to make a big effort to avoid small amounts of plastic, and is it really worth the hassle in the bigger picture?

Bare with me!

We did avoid plastic where we could, for example, we brought our own picnic lunch with us on the first day, and we packed our bar soap, shampoo and conditioners from home. I had tucked my entire collection of foldable and reusable Onya bags into my suitcase, which I dutifully used instead of plastic carriers. The new tea strainers and tea leaves came along for the holiday, so we avoided using a single tea bag in the hotel room.

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On top of that we did other ‘green’ things like bring home the pile of paper waste that we’d accumulated, to be recycled.

The point I’m making, however, is that for all of the small things we did to play our part in Plastic Free July, it felt like a drop in the huge ocean of plastic that was being used in the hotel.

If you are reading this and thinking but every little piece of plastic saved makes a difference! then rest assured that I agree with you. Small actions add up and over time, or with lots of people doing small actions, big changes can be made. Somehow though for this holiday, it didn’t seem enough for me.

The best way that I can think of that I might make a difference to the way this hotel runs, is to email them with suggestions for changes they can make that will have a positive impact on the environment.

Now, I have to admit that a part of me is sighing at the thought of sitting down and composing that email! It will be time consuming and, during Plastic Free July I’ve been taking part in a fair amount of time consuming activities such as cooking, baking, juice squeezing and making special shopping trips for plastic-free products. However, I’m pleased with my progress and I really want to have some things to show for all of my work. If nothing else, my email will have to be read by someone at the hotel and hopefully I will receive a response. This will involve someone thinking, even just a little bit, about what I’ve written.

Some of my fellow bloggers have been illustrating through their writing, the impact that their letters and emails have made during Plastic Free July. Rita day got an amazing response here to an email she sent asking for plastic packaging to be left out of a product. Nicola wrote to Tea Pigs to find out if there is plastic in their tea temples and they emailed her back here, and Zoe wrote to Dairycrest and tweeted Kallo here about their stock cube wrappers. I also tweeted five companies to ask if they use plastic in their tea bags and got an answer from two, which you can read about here, and I tweeted the Ethical Superstore to ask if they could label relevant products as ‘plastic free’ which they agreed to do.

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Hopefully all of this shows that consumers have a voice, and that sometimes positive results are actually achieved!

I will therefore dutifully sit down and write my email and I will, of course, keep you up to date. In the meantime, if you have contacted a company about issues related to plastic, then I’d love to hear about it. If you have been considering writing about a product then why not do it now! A tweet can take less than one minute but still make a huge impact :-)

Day 17: Plastic Free July 2014

The keener observers amongst you will have noticed that the number of blog posts I’ve written this week has decreased. The reason for this is that I’ve been away on a short family holiday. But…it’s Plastic Free July!

That was my first thought, but my other half pointed out that not taking the kids away for a few days of fun because I was avoiding disposable plastics, wasn’t my best idea. Sitting at home while Mummy creatively finds alternatives to cling film and washes out her new tea diffusers, isn’t really making the most of the holidays, is it? So off we went for to a great wee hotel for a few nights. Yippee!

I wasn’t entirely sure how I was going to play the whole plastic-free thing. As you know, I’ve thrown the rule book away and have been playing Plastic Free July by ear – avoiding disposable plastics where I can (mostly), but concentrating on the bigger issues such as making changes that will affect my long-term use of plastics. Plus I’ve been doing things like cooking from scratch, which cut out a number of plastics in one concentrated effort. Was I going to be on edge the whole time, hovering over bar staff as they poured drinks on the lookout for errant plastic straws? Or could I possibly be a little more relaxed about it all?

I decided that if we were going to enjoy ourselves at all, then relaxed it had to be…but I wasn’t going to go crazy and undo all my good work to date.

I’ll write more about the holiday in my next post but here are a few of my holiday snaps to show you some of the challenges we came across.

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Plastic milk, tea bags & sugar in plastic-y paper packets

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Miniature shampoos & body washes in plastic containers (plus soap in a suspicious plastic-paper wrapper)

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Hot chocolate sachet with a plastic layer inside

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Mini cereals at breakfast with a plastic bag each

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Disposable cups with plastic lids given when the request was made for two glasses of water!

Who said other people’s holiday photos were boring?!! ;-)

Day 12: Plastic Free July 2014

One of the things that I love about blogging is that I’m communicating…and people are communicating right back with me! It’s instant and it’s powerful. Take this plastic in our tea bags thing that I’ve been banging on about, for example. At first there were a few of us discussing it over Twitter and writing things on our blogs (initiated, I must say by @polytheenpam, not me), and now it seems that there’s a mini army at work, trying to get to the bottom of what’s going on with our old friend the tea bag! Between us, we are getting the word out that there is plastic in some tea bags, trying to work out which ones, and letting it be known that we don’t want to drink plastic tea!

The original post that @polytheenpam wrote on Plastic is Rubbish can be found here, and Lindsay of Treading My Own Path published this great post yesterday. I wrote a few posts mentioning the issue, and then tweeted Tetley, Twinings, Café Direct, Yorkshire Tea and PG Tips to find out if they use plastic in their tea bags – you can read more here (there is no update since then). Nicola* who tweets as @mehubbyandkids contacted @teapigs through Twitter, which she then followed up with an email. They confirmed that they do not use plastic in their tea temples, which they say are 100% made from a bi-product of corn starch called Soilon. (I added the link). They go on to state that it can take anywhere between 12 and 36 months to break down in a home composter. Jax Blunt who tweets as @liveotherwise contacted @LidlUK, who have said they’ll find out for her if their tea bags are plastic-free.

So, there you go – we’re on the case! If you want to find out if your tea bags are made with plastic, why not get in touch with your preferred brand? If you’re communicating via twitter, why not jump on the hash tag #plastictea so that others can see your progress. I’d be really interested in any new information that’s uncovered.

Anyway, my trusty tea bags have broken my heart, so they’re dumped! I’m hooking up with the plastic-free tea leaf now, and this morning I finally took a trip into Whittard in Edinburgh to acquire some. I left the kids at home with Daddy – assuring him that although this did, to all intents and purposes, seem like I was off on a lovely Saturday morning shopping trip, I was actually on a mission for Plastic Free July…

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Whittard on Princes Street, Edinburgh

I haven’t been to Whittard for years, but it was a lovely shop with the friendliest of staff, who were very happy to weigh out my tea, and give it to me in my own container.

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Selection of loose tea leaves

I hadn’t considered buying anything other than English Breakfast tea, but I reckon I might be more adventurous on my next visit.

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My tea, and a selection of strainers

I bought an open tea strainer from John Lewis for making tea in a pot, plus two individual tea strainers from Whittard for popping in a mug. I realise they are swathed in plastic, but I decided that this is the short-term trade-off to allow me to drink plastic-free tea, long-term.

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Tea strainers in action

Okay, so I think that’s enough on tea for the moment. I may revisit this topic with a separate post after July – short updates only from now on!

In other news, I think I’m still doing well in significantly reducing my single-use plastics. One indicator of this is our bin bag, which has taken much longer than usual to fill up. I have cut right down on things like yoghurt pots, biscuit wrappers and juice cartons (which are non-recyclable in my area, as far as I can tell). The children don’t seem to have noticed that some of their usual favourites aren’t making it into the house at the moment, and are enjoying the new alternatives such as more baking, freshly squeezed juice and rice, instead of pasta and noodles – which take up more plastic wrapping per portion.

I’m enjoying focussing on where I use disposable plastics, and on trying to find solutions. I’ll be off the blog until the end of the week, but will be back then to update on my progress. Good luck to everyone who’s taking part in Plastic Free July - we’re nearly half way now!

*A big thank you to Nicola for sharing the email from Tea Pigs with me, and giving her permission for me to use it in my post.

Sustainable Blog of the Week

Hooray! Westywrites is the Guardian Live Better sustainable blog of the week…

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To read the full article, click here.

The timing of this small amount of media attention is perfect, with Plastic Free July having just kicked off. If nothing else, then at least there might be some Guardian readers who might be saved from the potential horrors of tea bags made with plastic mesh;-)

 

Day 10: Plastic Free July 2014

I’m loving some of the blog comments and tweets that have been coming to me over the last few of days, in response to the issue of tea bags containing plastic. If you’re new here then – that’s right, plastic in the ACTUAL BAG! I’m sorry…

Some of us Plastic Free July-er’s got into discussions about this (initiated by @polytheenpam) just as the challenge was about to kick off. The issue’s rumbled on a bit, raising questions such as, do you have to give up tea bags to go plastic-free? Is there plastic in all tea bags? Is plastic in tea safe? It’s caused a bit of a storm or - as my other half is calling it - a storm in a teacup…!

Anyway, yesterday I decided that I needed to investigate this issue a bit further. Coincidentally, I had retweeted this old post out earlier in the day on the subject of asking companies for what you want regarding plastic-free products. I had received some positive comments from those who had read it, saying that they were either doing this, or felt they should do this more. @AnnaPitt got straight on the issue and tweeted Sainsburys, to ask if they were planning to phase out their non-recyclable plastic packaging. Wow great, I thought – how quick and easy is that?!

Inspired, I looked up online some of the tea bag manufacturers that I could think of. My plan was to email them all with the same simple questions, and then collate their responses to share here on the blog. The problem was though, that some of them didn’t clearly display their email addresses, one would let me comment through a page where you left your question, and another wanted all sorts of personal information with my enquiry. It was all shaping up to be a long drawn out process, and my enthusiasm for the task was waning.

So I thought of Anna, and composed a quick tweet which I sent out to the following companies not long before 9pm last night – here’s my progress to date (apologies for the quality of the screenshots)

Tetley

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No reply so far

Twinings

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No reply so far

Café Direct

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Response received

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Yorkshire Tea 

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Response received

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 Fast response, to the point!

PG Tips

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Response received

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So I decided to phone, just before 2pm today on the number given*. I got to speak to someone 7 minutes and 25 seconds later. The woman who answered asked me how she could help, so I explained that I wanted to know if there was plastic in tea bags. She wondered if I was asking for composting purposes, I explained I was more interested in the health aspect. I was put on hold for a short time, and then she returned with the information that there is a small amount of plastic in the tea bags to hold the bag together, but that it shouldn’t cause health issues. The conversation went on, and I think she said that the bag is made up of 0.02% plastic, but I can’t be sure. I then asked if there was information on the internet about this issue that I could read. I was put on hold again and she said that there should be a small amount of information on the PG Tips website about how tea bags are made. I thanked her and hung up. The call lasted around 12.5 minutes.

Phew! So there were go, there’s plastic in the bags of the two companies who answered my question, with three responses hopefully to come. For the record, I don’t care if the plastic in the tea bag shouldn’t cause health issues – I don’t want to drink any plastic! If you’ve contacted any companies on this issue, I’d love to know how they responded.

Oh, and look what was delivered this morning! My first glass bottle of milk to pour in my tea!

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*I took copious notes during the call, so hopefully have accurately conveyed the gist of the conversation but obviously not the full script!

Day 8: Plastic Free July 2014

I’m really beginning to enjoy Plastic Free July!

Maybe it’s because I’ve chucked the rule book out of the window, and am focussing on all of my plastic-free successes, and, kind of just…ignoring the failures… ;-)

Calm down! My heart is in the right place – in fact I’m slightly obsessed with single-use plastics – but I’ve decided not to sweat the small stuff. I’m focussing my energy on the areas I can make a difference and, if there are a few plastic casualties on the way, then so be it!

So, what’s been happening over the last couple of days?

In my war against plastic, I identified that a weak area for me is food shopping. Specifically, food shopping with small people! My kids know what their favourite things are, and are good at arguing their case! Nothing wrong with that. In their world, generally good things are healthy, bad things are unhealthy. I’m finding it difficult to deal with requests that are healthy, and therefore reasonable as far as they’re concerned, but that are wrapped in plastic.

It’s not especially fair for me to change the rules that they have become used to, so I decided to do a shopping trip alone in the evening. It worked well – I was round the supermarket in half the usual time, and was able to stick to my list, plus take a look for any plastic-free products that I hadn’t thought of. (I have little to offer in the way of suggestions, there is a lot of plastic in the supermarket!)

One thing that’s been bothering me since the start of July, is the discovery that there’s seemingly plastic in tea bags. Yes! In the actual bag! As I’ve written before, my main issue with this is that I detest the idea that I might be melting plastic into a cup of hot water, and then drinking it. It just doesn’t sound safe! Unfortunately for me though, I am somewhat attached to my daily cuppa (or five), so there was only one thing for it, I had to find a source of loose tea in plastic-free packaging, near home.

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Incidentally, I think you can save the planet with or without a babysitter!

I googled the relevant key words and phoned the first company listed. I cheerily explained that I was looking for packaging-free tea leaves. I was met by a silence, and then a stutter that…er… yes I could have it packaging-free, but I’d still have to pay for the packaging, because all tea arrives at the shop in the packaging. Not prepared to drive across town, just to have tea leaves cut out of their plastic and given to me, I hastily said goodbye. The next company raised my hopes by saying that their packaging was a cardboard box but, just as I started getting excited, the person on the end of the phone remembered that the leaves were actually in a plastic bag inside the cardboard box. My final call was to Wittard in Edinburgh, where a helpful sales person assured me that I could bring in my own container, and the only ‘packaging’ I’d have to accept was a sticky label with the price.

Really?

Yes, really!

She sounded amused that she’d made me so happy with this small piece of information, but she had! Getting into the centre of Edinburgh to execute this purchase is going to be one big hassle, but I’m keen to drink plastic-free tea, so I’ll let you know how it goes!

Finally in the last couple of days, I’ve done a mountain of food preparation. I think I’ve mentioned this in most of my posts during Plastic Free July! It really is, however, the key to me eliminating as many single-use plastics as possible! Actually I’m really enjoying the cooking, but I fully acknowledge that this is because I’m feeling motivated and full of energy – I know I can’t keep up this level of production throughout the year!

I made soup that was so close to being plastic-free, it hurts! The recipe is here. I left out the Alpro. I think that my only plastic fails were the plastic-clad curry powder, and the small bits of plastic on the cap and neck of the oil bottle .

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I froze it in old jam jars, which was great as it meant I could reuse the jars (with plastic-lined lids), instead of recycling as usual. Plus they were a good size for squeezing into the small spaces left in the freezer.

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I’ve been churning out bread-maker bread, boiling eggs, baking potatoes and making more almost plastic-free fairy cakes, which we’ve been consuming at home – instead of plastic-wrapped biscuits – and taking to friends when we visit.

The down side of all of this productivity is that it is generating lots of dishes, at the time of cooking, and all of these reusable containers that will need washed up when the food has been eaten.

Today at least though, Plastic Free July’s going well. Let’s just not talk about the odd pieces of disposable plastic that are sneaking in here and there! Let’s pretend they’ve never happened and maybe all of my preparations will mean that, one day, they won’t!

 

Day 6: Plastic Free July 2014

Yesterday I tried out my plastic-free shampoo and conditioners for the first time. I ordered these from Lush online and was somewhat taken aback by the packaging that they arrived in.

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On first glance, I thought the white things were polystyrene balls, but the box stated that they were fully compostable, and that the cardboard could be recycled. This made me feel better. Plastic Free July however, has got me thinking about ordering online, and the associated negative issue that it is hard to avoid plastic packaging.

Anyway…back to the hair products. I had somewhat stubbornly refused to try out my shampoo and conditioner bars before July, because I was convinced they would be a poor alternative to my usual brands, and I didn’t want to have to ‘suffer’ them before I had to.

Actually, as it turned out, I didn’t notice a difference. I felt that the Lush bars were quite expensive (you can check out prices on the website), but I hardly made a dent in them, so perhaps they will last me for a long time, and turn out to be good value for money.

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The conditioner is in a compostable wrap

Rubbing the shampoo bar on my hair felt like a strange thing to do, but it lathered up nicely and cleaned my hair perfectly well. I didn’t really know what to do with the conditioning bar, so I broke a corner off and squeezed it into a pulp, which I massaged through my hair. I don’t feel that I managed to distribute it as well as I would with liquid conditioner, but it seemed to work.

I have hair that is very dry so I really need hair products that are up to the job. I am optimistic that my new bars will get me through the month without turning my hair to straw – I’ll keep you updated!

A word of advice – do tell your family if you have shampoo that looks like soap. I found mine sitting on the sink, having already washed some little hands – at great expense!

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Last night I met a friend in Edinburgh for a meal and drinks. It was a plastic-free experience (I think!). I travelled into town on the bus, acquiring a paper ticket and managed to avoid any drinks straws or plastic cutlery, so the whole outing was stress-free.

Oh, and for those of you concerned that I am being forced into a dry July because of the plastic issue, I did manage a couple of glasses of wine. I will admit that I didn’t ask to examine the bottle for traces of plastic screw-tops or plastic-coated foil. I’m pretty sure I’d have found some!  I’m sticking to the if it’s not in my bin, it’s not my plastic* rule…no abuse of the rule is allowed though!

I’m still finding that the biggest change I’ve been making to eliminate plastics, is to make a lot more of my food from scratch. I’m constantly planning a meal or two ahead, and chopping and cooking up veg where I can, so that dishes can be thrown easily together when I need them. It’s all been really boring stuff so far, like tomato based sauces, so I’m going to have to up my game soon!

We had visitors for coffee this morning and I whipped up a batch of (almost) plastic-free fairy cakes instead of buying plastic-wrapped biscuits. Plus all of the orange squeezing is meaning that less rubbish is going into the bin from non-recyclable juice-cartons. Yay!

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As ever, thanks for all of the comments and encouragement, they’re really helping!

*thanks to @polytheenpam of Plastic Is Rubbish  and Plastic Free UK for this rule

Day 4, Plastic Free July 2014

Today I finally got my milk order set up properly for Plastic Free July. I went to great lengths during Lent (when I was giving up supermarkets) to find a milk provider who would deliver in glass bottles. I got as far as setting up a trial order with them for a couple of litres of organic milk a week – the only way the company serve organic milk is in plastic bottles. However the plan was supposed to be that I’d phone and change the order to include bottled (non organic) milk for July.

I forgot to make that phone call last week!

I believe though, that in this sustainable living game, if you slip up, you simply pick yourself up, brush yourself down and plough on! Today, therefore, I spent a bit of time on the phone perfecting my order. I increased the amount of milk we will get delivered so that I will hopefully stop relying on the supermarket altogether for milk, and I included a couple of glass bottles each week.

Over the past few months I’ve been close to cancelling my order as there have been a few problems with it – the first two deliveries were left in our neighbours’ bin (!) and we’ve had a couple of pints that have gone off before their use-by date. I’ve phoned each time however, and have always received excellent customer service and my money back. Today, free of charge, they offered a cool box for me to leave outside so that the milk doesn’t heat up in the early hours of the morning. I’m a happy customer again and am looking forward to receiving my bottled milk.

I’m glad I’ve worked through my issues with the local delivery, and haven’t just reverted back to supermarket milk, which I’ve written about negatively in the past. I don’t know though how much profit the dairy farmers themselves get from my business, so my next step should be to look into that. From what I’ve read on the internet though, the dairy I buy from seems to be assuring its customers that the farmers are getting a ‘sustainable price’ and there is no involvement of processing companies.

As per a Twitter discussion sparked by @Ecothrifty earlier today, I am finding that it’s hard to balance different priorities during Plastic Free July – in this case buying milk plastic-free, organic, fair trade and supporting local business.

In today’s other plastic-free news, I met some friends for lunch at Earthy in Edinburgh. Above the café is a lovely shop (which I’ve written about before here) which sells some plastic-free delights. I had my children with me, so leisurely browsing was out, but I did remember that they sell Ecover refills so I heroically took along my empty bottle for a top-up.

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Can you spot my little bottle refilling?

For the non-bio laundry liquid, the cost was £3.95 per litre which, according to my calculations, means that I paid £5.93 to fill up my 1.5 litre bottle. On price comparing with other sites I found that to buy the same amount, but with the bottle, would be £6.99 from Ecover’s own site, £6.75 from the Ethical Superstore and £3 from Tesco, who currently have an offer on this product – usual price £4.57. I couldn’t find the same product on Sainsburys’, Morrisons’ or Asda’s sites. Hmmm, the search is on now to find a cheaper refill!

I also picked up some of these unpackaged Rose & Geranium Suma soaps, which the assistant said are so good that sometimes customers come for that product alone.  Indeed they are gorgeous!

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I am still slipping-up all over the place with my plastic-consumption, but I’m finding that Plastic Free July is really making me notice where I come head-to-head with disposable plastics, and I’m working much harder than usual to find solutions.

Day 2: Plastic Free July 2014

More than 24 hours into Plastic Free July, and I’m resigned to the fact that this challenge is going to be more of a learning experience, than the huge achievement I envisaged that it would be, back in October, when I declared I was taking part.

It turns out that eliminating single use plastics is tough (as I always knew it would be), but for some reason, life hasn’t slowed down to enable me time to prepare all the plastic-free potions that I need… Preparation seems to be the key to going plastic-free and, unsurprisingly, the areas that I’ve been working hard on and blogged about, for the last nine months are where I’m doing best.

I’ve made a few changes to my daily routine that I hope will make a significant difference to my overall plastic consumption by the end of the month. I started both days with porridge instead of my plastic-wrapped cereal. I cracked open my new bamboo toothbrush (much better than the last one!) and tentatively opened the toothy tabs which are still, I’m sorry to report, absolutely disgusting. I’ve been using them every time I brush my teeth but I have to admit, I re-brushed with the plastic-clad minty stuff this morning because I knew I was going to be chatting to other people and I didn’t trust the toothy tabs to keep my breath fresh…this may of course be a misconception on my part.

I’ve swapped fruit juice from a carton with water or freshly squeezed orange juice. This is lovely but time consuming, especially as I end up having to squeeze oranges for the rest of the family too who love the stuff!

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I’ve decided to ditch alcohol for the month, unless I can find some in plastic-free packaging. One exception is that I will allow myself to drink it when I’m out of the house, as long as it’s served to me plastic-free – feel free to share your thoughts with me as to whether or not you think this is cheating!

There was a last minute debate on Twitter with fellow plastic-free sympathisers about tea bags. Although these are available in plastic-free cardboard boxes, e.g. this one by Twinings…

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…apparently have plastic in the actual bag! Oh no no, please no! See this post via Plastic Is Rubbish.

I am HATING this. I don’t like it because it’s a problem for Plastic Free July, but I actually really hate it because of the potential health implications. Does this mean that we are dissolving plastic into hot water and downing it with our daily cuppa? Does anyone have any further information on this?

Anyway, despite all of this, I haven’t managed to give up tea! I don’t feel that I’m ready to face the day without my hit of caffeine. Urgent action is required – I need to find somewhere that I can buy tea leaves without plastic packaging and the shop I go to for unpackaged goods doesn’t stock breakfast tea (can you even buy this as loose tea leaves?)

Finally, my theory for today is that the best way to consume less disposable plastics is to make food from scratch, so I’m working hard in the kitchen. It’s not been as bad as I thought to squeeze in a bit of extra cooking, but then again, it’s only Day 2 and I am still feeling enthusiastic!