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’.
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…
…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.
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)…
… 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.
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.
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!