Plastic-free Me: Planning

Has anyone ever successfully completed Plastic Free July without planning for it first?

From the moment I heard of this crazy concept, I realised it would be a huge effort to get through a whole month (a 31 day month!) without single-use plastics. Now I’m wondering just who those people are that have taken up the challenge.

Like me, did they live ordinary lives full of cling-film, toys, juice bottles, sellotape, poly bags and shower gel, or were they already half-way there with this whole sustainable-living malarkey?

As you can see from reading the start of my blog, I really wasn’t very green a year ago. I recycled and sometimes bought organic but I didn’t do much else. I thought that the Green Party was a bit of a single-issue party and I hadn’t really considered that environmental issues are tied up with everything. Plastic Free July was therefore going to be somewhat of an obstacle course for me!

I started my Plastic-Free Me blogging series on 20 October 2013 with just over 9 months to go – July seemed ridiculously far away. Now however we are in 2014, with almost the first month under our belts, and my plastic-free month is looming closer. Plus I will be diverting my focus for lent to reviving Supermarket-free Me, which I know I’m going to get completely immersed in.

With this in mind, I am writing today to focus me on my goal of completing Plastic Free July to the best of my abilities and to push myself on over the next few months. I do not want to emerge exhausted from being supermarket-free just to be plunged into despair about how much work I have to enable me to square up to what might be an irksome July!

If, like me, you were hanging around the Blogosphere and Twitter over the start of 2014, you will no doubt have read a plethora of information and declarations about goal-setting for the new year. I read tonnes of them and bloody loved them! Having written a post on my own goals for this year, and feeling determined to achieve them, I found such statements inspiring and – because some of them were written by bloggers I have followed over the course of last year as they achieved great things – I believed them.

Since the start of the year I have written myself a small weekly Task List of things to be achieved. None of the items on them are huge – they include jobs such as painting a wall, writing my Christmas thank you letters and organising birthday presents in advance. Some weeks I’ve not even managed to tick everything off, but it has definitely helped me to focus on what needs done. I’m finding a few weeks later that those little things are adding up to results I value such as a more ordered house and less stress.

Therefore, along the same vein I am documenting a short list of work I need to carry out before lent to help myself to be free of single-use plastics when July rolls around:

Medications: I take medication for a number of conditions – none of them are ‘serious’ in case you are concerned! I am however limited if I stop taking them as prescribed. I’m not prepared to do this even for Plastic Free July so I will need to write to the companies that supply each product to ask if they have plastic-free alternatives. Some internet research on the subject wouldn’t go amiss either. I suspect there may not be plastic-free alternatives, but even if this is so then at least I will be registering my interest in such fantasy items!

Milk: In this post I finally found a supplier that delivers milk in glass bottles, the only problem for me is that this milk is not organic. The organic milk is sold in plastic containers. I decided to go ahead with the organic order and simply switch to the ‘normal’ milk in glass for July. I have yet to set this up. (Actually, I really must press on with it as it will be helpful to giving up the supermarket too…)

Make-up: I wrote a post here on plastic-free make-up and had a load of helpful reader comments that opened my eyes to sources of what I had previously believed to be an enigma. Although I keep meaning to, I haven’t got round to following this up. I must do it soon and hope that all of the links are still valid.

Packaging-free shops: I have always read with jealousy of posts written by Australians who visit shops that sell ‘packaging-free’ goods. I didn’t think to research this locally to me though because I assumed such shops didn’t exist on any great scale here in Scotland. Recently however someone tweeted me and mentioned a shop within driving distance that may be just what I’m looking for. I need to check it out and find out if there are any others.

Junk mail: Every now and again I receive catalogues from companies I have bought products from. While I admit that I enjoy browsing through these, I don’t like it when they come wrapped in plastic (Why? Who thinks that catalogues need wrapped in plastic? Who?!). I need to start contacting these companies and ask to be taken off their mailing lists. Now that I’ve decided that I won’t by any new clothes for myself in 2014 anyway, most of them are probably just a temptation I could do without!

So, what do you reckon? Should I just get my head down and make progress with all of this stuff? If I can tick off the above points off my To Do list I’ll have taken a big step forward and can allow myself some time out while I indulge in reviving Supermarket-Free Me!

16 thoughts on “Plastic-free Me: Planning

  1. cling-film, toys, juice bottles, sellotape, poly bags and shower gel,
    I don’t use cling-film; I save glass jars from honey and peanut butter and I use those for everything 🙂
    sellotape: you can buy paper tape (if not in normal stores, go to the do-it-yourself store!)
    What are poly bags?

  2. I’m really excited reading your post as suddenly it’s all feeling doable. I, personally, would NOT undertake a plastic free month; I think I’d go insane, but I highly admire anyone who has a go and I think you should clean off this ‘to do’ list and embrace the challenge – you’re more than half way there.

    I think the biggest sticking point will be the medication; in my childhood, everything came in brown amber bottles with clicky child-proof lids!

    You can register with the Mail Preference Service too which will reduce your junk mail even more.
    Bummer about the milk. See, I think of ME and will prioritise the quality of what I eat over the packaging, so you’re a real stalwart – so proud of you!

    • Thanks for your comments and the encouragement! They made me smile as I just think of this challenge as a bit wacky and something that will teach me lots, improve my bad habits and hopefully be interesting enough for others to read!

      I’ll probably compromise what I eat on some things but expect to be eating better than usual as I guess I’ll be chained to the kitchen cooking most things from scratch…..!

      I’ve given myself ages to prepare but we’ll see if plastic-free really IS possible. I’ll be happy as long as I can find alternatives for anything that exists that I could reasonably have researched.

      Thanks for reading, I really appreciate the support 🙂

    • the inspiring thing about people doing the challenge is that just by doing it the awareness is raised for the people around them….also you dont have to do the whole month – you can sign up for a day or a week

  3. I think you’re doing fabulously to have got as far as you have already. Even if you cannot find alternatives to every piece of plastic that you use by July this project will still have been a success. You’ve eliminated so much already, and raised awareness which is tremendous. I consider myself to more sustainability aware than many, and you’ve provided me with loads of food for thought.

    Keep it up, please. But don’t forget to give yourself credit 🙂

    • Thank you! Comments like that make me feel really pleased to be doing this. It’s so interesting and it’s good to know people are reading and thinking while I’m learning and challenging myself on the way.

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