Day 4, Plastic Free July 2014

Today I finally got my milk order set up properly for Plastic Free July. I went to great lengths during Lent (when I was giving up supermarkets) to find a milk provider who would deliver in glass bottles. I got as far as setting up a trial order with them for a couple of litres of organic milk a week – the only way the company serve organic milk is in plastic bottles. However the plan was supposed to be that I’d phone and change the order to include bottled (non organic) milk for July.

I forgot to make that phone call last week!

I believe though, that in this sustainable living game, if you slip up, you simply pick yourself up, brush yourself down and plough on! Today, therefore, I spent a bit of time on the phone perfecting my order. I increased the amount of milk we will get delivered so that I will hopefully stop relying on the supermarket altogether for milk, and I included a couple of glass bottles each week.

Over the past few months I’ve been close to cancelling my order as there have been a few problems with it – the first two deliveries were left in our neighbours’ bin (!) and we’ve had a couple of pints that have gone off before their use-by date. I’ve phoned each time however, and have always received excellent customer service and my money back. Today, free of charge, they offered a cool box for me to leave outside so that the milk doesn’t heat up in the early hours of the morning. I’m a happy customer again and am looking forward to receiving my bottled milk.

I’m glad I’ve worked through my issues with the local delivery, and haven’t just reverted back to supermarket milk, which I’ve written about negatively in the past. I don’t know though how much profit the dairy farmers themselves get from my business, so my next step should be to look into that. From what I’ve read on the internet though, the dairy I buy from seems to be assuring its customers that the farmers are getting a ‘sustainable price’ and there is no involvement of processing companies.

As per a Twitter discussion sparked by @Ecothrifty earlier today, I am finding that it’s hard to balance different priorities during Plastic Free July – in this case buying milk plastic-free, organic, fair trade and supporting local business.

In today’s other plastic-free news, I met some friends for lunch at Earthy in Edinburgh. Above the café is a lovely shop (which I’ve written about before here) which sells some plastic-free delights. I had my children with me, so leisurely browsing was out, but I did remember that they sell Ecover refills so I heroically took along my empty bottle for a top-up.

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Can you spot my little bottle refilling?

For the non-bio laundry liquid, the cost was £3.95 per litre which, according to my calculations, means that I paid £5.93 to fill up my 1.5 litre bottle. On price comparing with other sites I found that to buy the same amount, but with the bottle, would be £6.99 from Ecover’s own site, £6.75 from the Ethical Superstore and £3 from Tesco, who currently have an offer on this product – usual price £4.57. I couldn’t find the same product on Sainsburys’, Morrisons’ or Asda’s sites. Hmmm, the search is on now to find a cheaper refill!

I also picked up some of these unpackaged Rose & Geranium Suma soaps, which the assistant said are so good that sometimes customers come for that product alone.  Indeed they are gorgeous!

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I am still slipping-up all over the place with my plastic-consumption, but I’m finding that Plastic Free July is really making me notice where I come head-to-head with disposable plastics, and I’m working much harder than usual to find solutions.


13 thoughts on “Day 4, Plastic Free July 2014

    • Have you tried any wholefood shops? We have some that sell a few things like that for you to scoop. It’s amazing the variety of what seems to be available loose in different postcodes!

  1. Keep up the good work, we all slip up sometimes! (Either through our own doing or external circumstance) info think it’s crazy that we have to go to such lengths to get unpackaged items, surely it saves them money on production. But then I am an idealist!!

    • Thank you! Yes, gotta keep on going! I definitely am debating some of the lengths I have to go to in order to get some plastic-free products eg is it worth a 30 min car journey to get one item unpackaged? Probably not!

      • Whilst we are blessed with sources of loose tea, coffee and vegetables, there is nowhere that sells pulses and grains loose around here. The best I can do is the five seed mix that I already use from Shipton Mill, which comes in paper packaging, but that doesn’t contain pumpkin seeds… and none of my naked pumpkins germinated this year, so I can’t even grow my own 😦

  2. It is difficult, balancing all the different issues – I always feel like there’s a compromise : ( We’ll maybe not always, but often. The thing I tell myself, buying in bulk generally saves money so that balances out for the things that cost a bit more. If you give up Tesco, and don’t go in there, you don’t need to know that it’s cheaper because you won’t see the prices! Ignorance is best. As long as the cheap things help make up for the expensive things it should all even out.

    Love your blog as always, keep up the great work!

    • Very kind comments!

      Yes, I absolutely agree with your comment about cost. I am keen to reduce how much money I give to the supermarkets, so I don’t mind paying more. What I would like to do is find great prices outwith the supermarket to help myself and others go plastic-free and supermarket-free at a fair price and help people realise that those issues can be accommodated in their own lives.

  3. I’m struggling with this. I have the choice to buy milk via a veg box scheme in plastic bottles, or buy from DairyCrest in glass. They are squeezing farmers margins as much as the supermarkets. Every decision we make has a downside, its just a matter of what cons we can live with.

    • Hmmm, I feel your pain. Outwith Plastic Free July, I have to admit, I’d probably go with the veg box milk. It’s so hard, why can’t we just have it all and do the right thing by everyone?!

  4. Really hope your milk delivery works out. We had a rather poor service at our last house but since moving to our village 12 years ago I can’t fault our delivery service. And feel rather smug when the snow comes and they have to ration the sakes of milk in Costcutters yet our milkman always gets through! Am with you on finding that Going plastic free is so much harder than I thought: it’s just everywhere!

    • Thanks. Yes, plastic is everywhere! 😦

      Glad your milk delivery is going well, crossing my fingers that mine will be good enough to keep going long enough to get me through a supermarket-free Lent in 2015!

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