Plastic-free Me: November diary day

It has occurred to me that an effective way to track my plastic-free progress and uncover unsavoury plasticky practices might be to document a day each month, diary-style, to assess where the dreaded single use plastics are creeping in.

Saturday seemed a good day to start so I grabbed my pen (immediate fail!) and a spiral bound notebook (fail!) and noted down my ‘problem areas’.

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It has to be said that there was a bit more to my day than simply using lots of plastic but I’ll spare you those details!

The first task of the day involves a disposable nappy (not my own) and a packet of wipes. Both come in plastic packaging. Although I am yet to decide if and how I’ll include the children in Plastic Free July, I will of course be looking at the plastic I consume on their behalf and trying to minimise it, at the very least.

Next, I take my daily medication – a pill that comes in a bubble packet. Although it is for a minor ailment I do feel the effects if I miss a day or two so skipping it in July is not a sensible option. A letter to the drug company to explore whether alternative packaging exists is in the pipeline (does anyone feel hopeful of a positive response? I don’t!)

Breakfast ‘chez moi’ is milky porridge all round, and everyone has their own preference for fruit. My favourite fails the plastic test – raisins that come in a plastic bag – but the others gravitate towards bananas or pureed tinned fruit which makes the plastic free breakfast achievable if we can source milk in a glass bottle…

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…except for our fruit juice which comes in a cardboard carton with a plastic pourer.

After breakfast I run the dishwasher – my Ecover dishwasher tablets each come in a little plastic packet – and I put a load into the washing machine. Again I’m using Ecover, this time in a plastic bottle. I have a feeling a shop nearby will give me refills in my own bottle so I must investigate that.

In the bathroom I use toothpaste in a plastic tube (with a bamboo toothbrush – blog post to follow), take a shower with a bar of soap but use a plastic disposable razor on my legs and shampoo and conditioner that come in plastic bottles. Once I’ve ‘styled’ my hair (I use the term loosely!) I rub a little wax through it to keep it in place. Despite the fact that I’ve had this tub of wax for so long that I don’t remember buying it, I do have to declare that it is a single-use plastic.

Bloody hell, this is depressing – shall I continue?

Back into the kitchen and I put the ingredients for a loaf of bread into the breadmaker and, you guessed it! Of course! Some of ingredients that make my healthy-option, partially organic loaf include plastic packaging. Grrrr…..

I snack on oatcakes. These appear from the outside to be packaged in a cardboard box but contain four little plastic packets inside – this is a problem with many food items.

I eat the oatcakes with jam from a glass jar but with a lid of an unquantifiable material. It presents as metal but only half-heartedly attracts a magnet. I suspect it may not make it through customs to my kitchen in July. In the afternoon I have my oatcakes with hummus which is brazenly packaged in a plastic tub.

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Time to look out some recipes I think…

Next up in My Day of Destroying the Environment is lunch. I accompany bread with homemade soup (the bayleaves used for flavour came in a plastic packet), boiled eggs, babybels (covered in plastic and bagged in plastic for good measure)…

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… falafels (plastic tub), apples, organic carrots (plastic bag), organic pepper (plastic bag), ham (plastic packet) and apple juice (plastic pourer).

Are you noticing, as I most certainly am, that despite feeding my family mainly on good healthy raw or homemade food (which doesn’t happen every day!), I am badly failing the plastic test? Forgive me if I am feeling hard done by…

I apply some make-up (every single item is swathed in plastic) and, with some relief, leave the house and head out to a children’s show at a local venue – surely this must be a plastic free afternoon?

Sadly not. There is ice cream at the interval which Daddy has agreed to by the time I am approached for the rubber stamp. Plastic tubs with plastic spoons. Sigh.

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Home for dinner and because we’ve been out it’s quick and easy pasta (from a plastic bag) and pesto from a glass jar – again, with a questionable lid. The broccoli and cabbage we have as a side dish is from the veg box and pudding is homemade apple crumble made by a relative – packaged for us in a foil container – hooray!

Off to bed for the children and there’s more milk from the plastic container and more toothpaste from the plastic tube on our bamboo toothbrushes.

I have my third cup of tea in the evening. I use Tetley. The packaging the tea bags come in is paper, I think, but there is a strip of sellotape-type stuff that is there to allow it to be resealed for freshness. Fail, fail, fail.

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I use a plastic bottle of washing up liquid on the dishes, remove my make up with wipes from a plastic packet, use cream on my hands from a plastic pump dispenser and slink of to bed thanking my lucky stars that there’s almost a full eight months until Plastic Free July arrives!


21 thoughts on “Plastic-free Me: November diary day

  1. This is really fascinating… and frightening too!
    I’m interested in what is going to constitute ‘single use’ for you. For example, I wouldn’t immediately have thought of a disposable razor as single use because you do use it several times before you bin it – not good, but perhaps not as bad as some of the other examples in your day. And then, what about something intended by the manufacturer to be single use, but which you extend the life of; for example, we have some 5l plastic water bottles that are 7 years old and are now used everyday to store rainwater for flushing the toilet.
    Do keep documenting all this, it’s giving me so much food for thought.

  2. wow! This is frightening. I can’t believe how abundant single use plastic is! Keep up the diary though as I am very interested in this. Although if your day was like this I dread to think what my day would be like!!

    • Thanks for the tip. I’ve been buying a few teas to check them out and hopefully write a post on, so I’ll be looking out for Clipper – I’m all for ticking as many ethical boxes as possible!

      Delighted you love the blog, makes it much easier to put in the effort when I know it’s being read 🙂

      • I use this one for houmous 🙂 You can make it with whatever dried beans you can find (in the Netherlands, you can find a few dried beans in cardboard boxes in the supermarket, but not chickpeas, which I found unpackaged at the market)..

      • Thanks I’d love to be able to work on finding the stuff for plastic-free hummus! Also must get myself to markets again – I’ll be giving up supermarkets over lent so I think I’ll be forced to then if not before.

        Thanks for your comments 🙂

      • I noticed it’s a LOT easier to find unpackaged things at the market, though sometimes you have to say in advance that you have brought your own bag or jar or something.

  3. How you’ve opened my eyes! I considered myself fairly plastic free compared to many, but a similar exercise inspired by your plastics diary has left me quite horrified by the amount of plastic use I hadn’t even realised I was responsible for. Lots of food for thought!

    I’m a recent arrival, thanks to a mention from Jan at The Snail of Happiness, and I’ll be sticking around 🙂

  4. Pingback: Plastic-free Me: December diary day | westywrites

  5. Pingback: Plastic-free Me: February Diary Day | westywrites

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