This is the last post I’ll write until after Easter in my Plastic-free Me series on the blog. As you will know, if you’ve been reading recently, I’m going supermarket-free over lent and will be blogging regularly about it – I’m aiming for a post every few days so I’ll be seriously upping my writing game for around 6 weeks!
I thought about doing a plastic-free post every now and again but I’ve decided just to focus on one writing topic at a time. However, I’m hoping that by forgoing the supermarket, I will reduce my plastic further by default. Already I have activated my milk home-delivery order (more on that below) and I will be exploring a packaging-free shop nearby. Plus I’m hoping to get to some Farmers’ Markets and, from past experience, there is much more loose produce available there than in the plastic-fantastic supermarkets.
Although I haven’t quit the supermarket yet, I am hoping it’s going to be a lot easier than eliminating plastic! The purpose of these ‘diary days’ are to record my progress towards going plastic-free in July and so for the sake of this diary, I must put it in writing that as I type, I am not relaxed at all about Plastic Free July! The way I feel just now is that I am resigned to having to ‘declare’ some plastics right at the start of the challenge that I won’t be able to avoid if I’m to function and eat a balanced diet. Saying that, I do feel determined and hopeful. I’m optimistic about going plastic-free and I still have several months in which to make further progress! I’d love it if you’d stay with me over lent and follow me as I ditch the supermarket and for those of you who have held my hand in cyber space as I’ve shown so many items of plastic the door, there’ll be little plastic-y references within my posts just for you!
First though, let me tell you about Thursday 27th February which was the date I selected to track my use of plastic…
In short, I reckon that in July I have already found enough plastic-free products to get me through breakfast and brush my teeth. The medication I take for my allergies is still a sticking point that I need to progress, plus although I can have a shower, I can’t yet have a plastic-free hair wash! I need to test out plastic-free shampoos and conditioners. I really could do with a good skin moisturiser as well that is plastic-free (and nut-free – that’s one of the allergies – grrr!)
On Thursday, the first task I undertook was making a packed lunch for my other half. Sheepishly, I feel the need to point out just now that this lunch is not just provided by me as a kindly gesture of love but because I realised that when he bought his lunch each day from a shop at work, he was using up all sorts of packaging – see this post. He gave into my control-freakery because he’s good like that (plus it saved him £4 a day on lunch costs and he got a homemade lunch out of it.) Everyone’s a winner! …Except somehow – although my lunch is definitely the environmental victor compared to the shop-bought alternative – bits of plastic have been creeping in every now and again. Fail! For example, Thursday’s lunch, which was made in a rush, included babybel (these come triple wrapped!), oatcakes in a plastic bag and a portion of nuts – also from a plastic bag. I must do better…
The rest of the day was a quiet one at home for me as my youngest child had been poorly with a minor bug. All that was on the agenda was to drop my eldest at nursery and do the pick up again a few hours later. We are normally so busy that a day at home was bliss. It was also an opportunity to monitor my plastic consumption in an environment where I am totally in control.
The first ‘event’ was sitting on the couch reading stories. Lovely, and it means that I have an activity under my belt that will be plastic-free for July. I was going for gold so I took a piece of my own advice from my recent what not to buy post and squeezed some fresh juice from the organic oranges in my veg box for my little patient. Providing a plastic-free snack was not, however, as easy. I’m lucky in that my children are good eaters and devour fruit but there’s only so much of that it’s wise to give them. They regularly have these shop-bought oat bars.
For ages I’ve been meaning to find recipes to make snacks to replace them and indeed, I tried one previously but it was too sugary to be healthy. My wee ones also have kids’ crisps but these come in a plastic packet and I’m doubtful that they’re as healthy as the marketing suggests.
By the afternoon, my youngest had picked up significantly and happily played with my eldest all afternoon while I attacked my to-do list. (Does anyone work faster than a parent whose time to get things done will run out at any minute?!)
I got on the phone to the dairy I had chosen for home-delivery. In under five minutes I had placed my order thus diverting more money away from the supermarket and securing myself the option of glass-bottled milk for July. Hooray!
I loaded and unloaded the dishwasher, wondering how I am going to find plastic-free dishwasher tablets and packaging in July… Although I have not solved the problem of washing-up liquid for doing the dishes in the sink, I recently ordered a huge container of Ecover that comes in a thin plastic bag – the idea being that you dispense it into your own bottle and save on packaging.
On Thursday I tried dispensing the liquid into my empty Fairy container, but managed instead to pour about 50ml of the stuff all over my kitchen floor. I mopped it up with some old clothes which I chucked in the washing machine to rinse. As you can see from the photo below that the result was a hugely foamy drum (at a point where no suds should be showing).
It took three rinse cycles in the machine and a bath of cold water to restore the situation to normal. Not environmentally friendly at all… You live and learn.
I made raisin bread in the breadmaker – finding completely plastic-free bread ingredients is still outstanding! Then we had homemade vegetable crumble for dinner. This dish is so nearly plastic-free, but it still contains seeds and cheese as offenders (note the soon-to-be-banished Tesco packaging!)
So, there you go – lots of progress made and still a long way to go before July!
I hope to meet you back on the Plastic-Free Me series after Easter – let’s see if taking a break from writing about plastic elimination is the blogging equivalent of ‘sleeping on it’ and perhaps progress will evolve effortlessly? I can but dream…