Plastic-free Me: January Diary Day

The day I picked to record my single-use plastics just happened to be 25th January – Robert Burns’ birthday. Burns Night has passed me by for the last few years, apart from the obligatory (vegetarian) haggis we have as a half-hearted nod in its direction. This year however my eldest learned all about the man himself at nursery and was very taken with the story, so for the first time in ages, in the name of good parenting, we embraced it!

Never one to overlook the opportunity to throw a bit of politics into a vaguely related subject, I must point out that up here we are of course looking forward to the Scottish Independence Referendum on 18 September. Perhaps therefore I am feeling especially Scottish this year as we, as a nation, decide our future.

There is a jovial debate going on currently in Scotland about whether Robert Burns would have been pro-independence or not. If I had any space for such trivia in my jumbled brain, I may indeed wonder what he would make of Scotland today – would he approve of our multiple attempts to break free of the UK? What would he think about the changes in the landscape of our beautiful country? Would he care for the modern invention of plastic? Had it been invented, would we be reading ‘To a Poly Bag’ instead of ‘To a Louse’ (Happily lice are much less common today, thanks to the invention of strong shampoo solutions dispensed in plastic…)

Apologies for the last paragraph…. but really, would you have managed to link the Scottish Independence debate to plastic and Robert Burns any better??!

So anyway [clears throat, shuffles papers, gets down to the task in hand] last Saturday I started my day with a traditional Scottish breakfast of milky porridge and a cup of tea. So far so good, as I have plastic-free alternatives lined up for July (see this post). I took my medication – swathed in plastic – but am about to embark on looking for plastic-free alternatives (see this post). The rest of the family had Weetabix with raisins.

It’s worth noting at this point that I’ve decided not to fully include my kids in Plastic Free July as I’m not prepared to compromise their health or quality of life for a challenge I’ve chosen to undertake that will involve lots of sacrifice. However, where they can happily go plastic-free, they will. My Other Half of course isn’t bound to be part of the challenge but is respectful of it, plus our division of labour is such that he will find himself mostly plastic-free anyway without having to even try! Lucky him – how ironic that someone so close to me might be able to complete this challenge with no effort while I am busting a gut!

After breakfast I brushed my teeth (see this post for plastic alternatives) and showered with soap that comes in plastic-free cardboard packaging. I have quite dry skin so moisturising is a must for me. I need to do some research to find plastic-free moisturisers and preferably some that don’t contain parabens and other ‘nasties’, of which I am becoming more aware of. I also used (aluminium-free) deodorant but for July I will probably either go without or try making my own with the recipes here on the Plastic Free July website. I can’t say I will relish wondering how I smell for the whole of July! I’m sure however that in Robert Burns’ era daily showers, clean clothes and deodorant were above the average standard of hygiene…

I spent my morning preparing a wall in our home for painting. I may be the least ‘handy’ person you have ever come across but a recent spate of below-standard work carried out by professionals chez moi moved me to declare that the next thing that needed done at home would be done by me! It may turn out to be just as shoddy a job but at least it will be a free shoddy job! I spent my time washing down the wall and putting up masking tape. I can’t work out if this was a plastic-free activity or not as my ‘internet research’ (two minutes of googling) suggests that some masking tapes may have plastic and some may not…

Lunch was on a Scottish theme also – oatcakes with homemade soup. The oatcakes come in disposable plastic bags so I will need a (probably homemade) alternative for July. The soup can be adapted to be plastic free by leaving out the bay leaves which come in plastic bags. I had my oatcakes with hummus (bought in plastic) but I have now purchased the ingredients to make my own. These are not totally plastic-free but I am heartened that progress is being made. The rest of the family had their soup with bread from our breadmaker. Here’s a picture of the ingredients used.

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There is still a bit of work needed to de-plastify them but I have been pleased to find a deli in Edinburgh that sells oil-refils.

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I cook a lot so this is a big step forward to help me get through Plastic Free July.

I spent the afternoon tidying, cleaning and cooking in preparation for our mini-Burns Supper. We wore anything we had that was vaguely ‘tartan’, stuck some Scottish music on Deezer and sat down to our dinner.

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Sadly the only plastic-free ingredient were the potatoes as they came in our veg box, which I have recently requested comes without any plastic packaging (see this post).

After the children were in bed I cracked open a 180cl bottle of wine (glass but with questionable screw-top lid), got up my ladder (which, it turns out isn’t that easy with wine!) and started painting (the tin of paint had plastic on it).

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All in all, I learned that I won’t be enjoying any traditional Scottish meals or tipsy decorating in July. Honestly, are there any fun plastic-free activities left out there??

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7 thoughts on “Plastic-free Me: January Diary Day

  1. Ha! You’re doing brilliantly. For alu free deodorant, I use a crystal from Natural Spa Supplies. Sally, who runs the company, wraps the stones in cardboard, ties them with string and puts them in a ‘jiffy’ bag – not the ones that have plastic inside, but the ones with shredded paper – she’s fantastic and very conscious of every aspect of her business.

    For ‘moisturiser’ I dip into the olive oil bottle 😉

    Loved reading about your celebrations and I look forward to seeing your oatcakes; I’ve never managed to make anything other than a crumbly mess, so am eager to see your recipe and to be inspired…

    • Apologies for the late reply, am just back from holiday!

      Thank you – love the sound of your deo and supplier. Small touches like that are why we need to maintain the personal feel of our own localities and not have them all wiped out by clone towns!!

      I’m yet to hear from anyone who’s had success with oatcakes – crossing my fingers I can manage something 🙂

  2. I keep trying to make oatcakes but also have crumbly mess problems… Crackers are one of my big challenges as at the moment I eat a lot of rice cakes, but they come in plastic wrappers. I was trying to work out how to make rice cakes, but can’t find any recipes for them anywhere…

    I use bicarbonate of soda instead of deodorant which I have found sold in bulk in paper bags in a Chinese food store local to me. I literally just brush a little bicarbonate of soda under my arms and then wipe it off (sometimes this needs repeating a couple of times) and it works really well for me.

    I’m sure there must be a few fun plastic-free activities out there 🙂

    • Thanks for your comment – I’ve been away on a laptop-free holiday, so sorry it’s taken a while to reply. If I ever get through my washing I’ll hopefully be posting back on the blog soon!

      Sounds like I too will be eating a crumbly mess in July as I can’t do without my oatcakes but they sound hard to make!

      I have three boxes of bicarb of soda so I better start trying them out as I think I’ll be using them a lot soon….

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

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