This week will go down in history in Scotland – for years we will be talking about it. Why? Because, courtesy of the last seven days, we can, after years of mediocre weather, declare that we have had a decent summer! I have no idea what heady heights the temperature reached but I am up to date with my washing. Being able to hang it out without the threat of rain, for me, is a sure sign of summer! But what has this to do with Plastic Free July?
I have been interested to note that with the appearance of the sun there has emerged a whole lot of single use plastics that are associated with hot weather. This little guy for example was purchased a few weeks ago – note the size of the bottle, I wasn’t optimistic I’d need sunscreen for long!
Apologies for the toilet roll, I needed to stand the bottle beside something that would show how small it is…
Happily you can get sunscreen in other containers that are not completely made out of single use plastic but I am limited to certain brands due to skin irritation.
Also making an appearance in my life are the fake tan and the disposable plastic gloves with which to apply it.
It seems ironic that I am using one plastic container to prevent a tan and another to encourage one…
I have been out and about a lot with the children to make the most of the weather and although I always take them drinks in their reusable drinking cups, I have been guiltily grabbing cartons of juice which have plastic straws to take for me. The children have also had more in the way of chilled treats from the fridge and freezer such as ice poles and those tubes of pureed fruit which, although a healthy treat, are undeniably heavy on the plastic wrappers.
The great news for Plastic Free July though is that it was quite overcast today and it looks as though I may have a year before there’s proper sunshine again to plan how I can do better…
One area in which I am beginning to improve is in reducing my use of clingfilm. As I’ve said in previous posts, I am doing a lot more cooking and baking at home than I have ever achieved before which has the knock-on effect of reducing non-recyclable waste. What I had been doing though, almost without thinking about it, was wrapping the fruits of my labour in clingfilm – whether it was for example, completely covering a cake or simply covering the top of a bowl. In addition, if I had a left over piece of onion or lemon, I would also have been wrapping that up in film.
To avoid the film, I am simply using containers that I already had to store fridgeable food plus I bought a new set of tins which allows me to store the bread I make in my breadmaker plus any baking I’ve done.
Honestly, I am still finding it a real challenge to cut down on single use plastics in any significant way this month – I am avoiding or substituting the occasional item while I shop which hopefully counts in some small way to reducing landfill.
(Here’s some soap I bought today for the bathroom to use instead of the plastic handwash dispensers that we’ve got used to – it came wrapped in paper only.)
It is worth ending this post with a statement emphasising that I am truly beginning to notice the excessive use of plastics in our society. I am also learning by reading much more about them, especially as a result of newly following plastic-related accounts on Twitter. While there are no great results to show yet in my life from respecting Plastic Free July, I believe that this is a process and the first steps to change are being made.