Plastic-free Me: Sharing the love

I was surprised at the response to my last post. Not because it generated extraordinary huge amounts of traffic, nor because Plastic Free July phoned me to say that the challenge is far too difficult and they’re cancelling it (they didn’t, I may have dreamed that) but instead, because a significant number of people got in touch to help me.

Perhaps I’ve been sounding increasingly desperate about the whole thing and I’ve generated sympathy, but I had a couple of people tell me that they were inspired by the post, and a number of you were sharing your ideas for items I could use to help me with my Task List of steps towards my goal of being free of single-use plastics in July.

Thank you! As Enid Blyton might have said, I felt myself immediately buck up and was motivated to bloody well* get on with climbing this mountain!

Now I realise that not many of you are actually silly enough to have committed to Plastic Free July (just us then EcoThriftyLiving and TreadingMyOwnPath ?) but there is a big community within the blogosphere and on Twitter and Facebook, who are working hard towards reducing their waste and finding ways of living sustainably. This challenge therefore doesn’t feel like a lonely experience for me, and I’m really aware that we’re all learning from each other.

So in that spirit, I thought I’d collate and share some of the responses I’ve received. I’ll list the responses under the categories the advice came in:

Food
Zoe at EcoThrifyLiving had previously contacted me with her recipes for Yoghurt , Houmous and Peanut Butter

Rae from MyZeroWaste got in touch with a huge list of suggestions. Here they are:
• Roast dinner
• Cauliflower and broccoli cheese
• Bolognaise sauce, lasagne (if plastic-free pasta can be made or found)
• Pasties
• Quiche
• Stews, curries, casseroles
• Soups
• Fish from fishmonger, dipped in breadcrumbs
• Homemade pizza
• Jacket potatoes with various topings
• Houmous (homemade or bought in my own containers)
• Tuna & sweetcorn
• Curry
Phew! Perhaps I can eat during July afterall!!

Snacks on the go
Rae offered the following:
• Fruit that I’ve dehydrated myself (I’ve no idea how to do this, must check the internet!)
• Flapjacks/muffins
• Breadsticks or cheese straws
• Nuts, trailmix bought loose

Birthday presents
(By this point I’m wondering if Rae might consider a move to Scotland – I could do with her ideas on tap and a calming presence!)

She suggested I either give ‘experiences’ or homemade gifts of the edible variety. What I hadn’t said is that the presents were for children, but actually I think either might still work and would be a refreshing change from the plastic tat us parents are so used to reluctantly and begrudgingly allowing over our thresholds.

Shampoo and conditioner

This tweet from @nothingnew2013 made me smile:

photo (4)

And indeed Lush products seem like the way to go for plastic-free hair washing. Rae suggested buying clay in paper bags from Natural Spa Supplies which she describes as ‘wonderful stuff for skin and hair!’ Sounds amazing, I wonder if or how that would work by post?!

Silicon baking cases
@polytheenpam from Plastic is Rubbish has nailed this topic already in this great post. Congratulations on finding paper cases in a cardboard box by If You Care. I had given up on paper cases being an option as I’ve yet to see any that don’t come in those plastic tubs!

Lindsay at TreadingMyOwnPath also suggested If You Care and recommended them for their baking paper and FSC-certified rubber gloves, so it seems I can perhaps go wild in the kitchen this July!

Toilet roll
The big question, it seems, is do Andrex still do 2 rolls of toilet paper wrapped in paper and if so, where can we get them? A couple of people asked this. Are they the Scarlet Pimpernel of bathroom products?

Rae suggested:

‘Izal Medicated??!!’

Intrigued, I searched the internet and found some on ebay and beside it were phrases such as:
‘unopened boxes great vintage display item’
‘unopened RETRO 1970s’
‘Collectors Item’
‘WW2 TOILET ROLL – PART OF DAILY RATION KIT – ORIGINAL IZAL MEDICATED PAPER!’

A bit more trawling of the net suggests that Izal Medicated is no longer manufactured. I’m just not sure about actually using, what seem to be, the last few available rolls in the world. I know Plastic Free July is a good cause, but does it justify using some that survived from an original World War Two ration kit? Accuse me of lacking commitment…but it just doesn’t seem right!!!

Rae also went on to suggest ‘wee cloths’ or to go for the EcoThriftyLiving approach of using a bum gun. All good suggestions but I’m just not sure if I’m up to that much of a challenge!**

You know what? I think I’m going to look again at finding those Andrex two-packs!

Cooking oil
There were big discussions over Twitter about the best way to buy oil. A few of us use the enormous cans of Extra Virgin Olive Oil by Suma.

photo (367)

They have a plastic pouring lid though. What I needed to know is whether the can itself is lined with plastic. @SumaWholefoods was therefore dragged invited into the conversation. Here’s their response to the question of plastic lining.

photo (5)

If not perfect, it’s looking good… If anyone can shed more light on the situation, please get in touch. I do plan to operate on the can when it’s finished, but I reckon that’s not going to be until around 2015!

Bread maker ingredients
Loads of you contacted me on this point and everyone, ever so kindly, suggested I find a different recipe that doesn’t use skimmed milk! Oh yeah…I think I sometimes concentrate so hard on a problem that I don’t find what is actually quite an obvious suggestion. Thank you!

I was also sent a useful link by Alexandra Miller in the comments section of my post who signposted me to her plastic-free Facebook page. You can find the link here https://www.face book.com/groups/497501376937371/ (take out the space between face and book)

Then @sathlondonshona sent me the link to two interesting articles she’d found – the first was about ending your relationship with plastic (this scared me somewhat!) and the second was more inspirational!

I’ll end with a huge and heartfelt thank you to you all.

I’ve really got to stick this challenge out now, haven’t I? 

*I don’t think Enid Blyton would have said that
**Actually, I’m pretty sure I’m not up to that challenge 😉

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13 thoughts on “Plastic-free Me: Sharing the love

  1. just remember its a challenge, not a competition – remember to focus on what you can refuse/avoid/find alternatives for……and also you are doing a great job inspiring others! keep up the good work!

  2. Congratulations on taking on the challenge. It does seem hard at first but trust me, it does become easier. I started the challenge last year and continued on with it. There is a great big group of us non-plastic people trying to figure it out. So do not fear we are all here helping each other out.

    One tip I will leave here is to pack a knife, fork, spoon and steel straw (or glass) into your handbag.

    Best of luck 🙂

  3. Amazon sells 7th Generation toilet paper that isn’t supposed to be packaged or shipped in plastic. Check out the reviews though.

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