Are you taking part in Plastic Free July?

Filed in Blog by on June 29, 2014 8 Comments
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Join Plastic Free JulyIt’s plastic free July – what a brilliant month to get involved with before you take part in the Boot Camp that is otherwise known as Zero Waste Week!

Created in Perth, Australia, Plastic Free July was birthed in 2011. It aims to raise awareness of the amount of plastic in our lives by encouraging people to eliminate the the use of single-use plastic during July each year.

“Single-use” includes plastic shopping bags, plastic cups, straws, plastic packaging…basically anything that’s intended only to be used once and then discarded.

The team point out that if eliminating ALL single-use plastic sounds too daunting, try the TOP 4 challenge.

The TOP 4 challenge includes

  • Straws
  • Plastic bags
  • Plastic bottles
  • Coffee cup lids

Straws and coffee cup lids

Straws and coffee cup lids would be a walk in the park for me as I never buy take out drinks, but the other two, well they’d take a bit more planning.

Plastic bottles

At first I thought plastic bottles was straight forward – I usually take my own refillable bottle out and about with me.

But then I started thinking about all the other types of plastic bottles we have here at Zero Waste Towers:

Milk bottles

Although I don’t drink milk myself, the other two consume ‘the white stuff’ which we currently buy in plastic bottles.

Solution: Order from a local milkman. I know he delivers in glass bottles which are rinsed and returned. However, we buy organic milk and that’s not available locally in anything other than plastic.

Shampoo bottles

These are refilled from a gallon container, but they’re still plastic.

Solution: Clay from Natural Spa Supplies or solid shampoo bars from somewhere like Lush.

Washing up liquid

Again, ours are refilled from 25 litre containers, but they’re still plastic!

Solution: hot water gets most things clean apart from a clean up after a traditional Sunday Lunch. In the past I’ve used bicarbonate of soda (yep, still plastic, although I can buy in large polythene bags which are recycled) and a squirt of lemon juice. As washing up is Mr Green’s task, I can’t see him using anything other than washing up liquid.

Liquid Soap

We decant a large plastic bottle into a glass bottle on the bathroom sink – still plastic!

Solution: We can buy naked bars of soap in our local health food shop.

All purpose cleaner

I’m a ‘Law of Least Effort’ gal which means just one product does over 80% of my cleaning jobs. But guess what? it comes in a plastic spray bottle!

Solution: Somewhere I have a small glass bottle with a spray, so I’m up for making my own cleaning spray; it smells better than anything you can buy anyway!

Plastic Bags

Reducing Single use plastic bags could be reasonably straight forward and would get me back on track as I’ve got a bit lazy lately.

if I were paparazzi worthy, you’d have surely seen a few shots of me coming out of the supermarket swinging a carrier bag. Plus I’ve bought several bags of fruits and veggies in plastic recently – all because I’ve been in a rush.

The crazy thing is, I much prefer the quality of food I can get from my local organic farm shops – I can buy in paper bags AND I can buy just the amount I need, thus eliminating food waste.

It’s amazing when you start looking deeply into our consumption of plastic. I’ve really only scratched the surface here by focusing on the ‘TOP 4’. The further you dig, the more you realise we are reliant on plastic for everything from brushing our teeth to sending an email.

But you have to start somewhere, right?

My Plastic Free July Pledge

I’ll tentatively commit to REDUCING my plastic consumption for July; it will be great practise for Zero Waste Week!

What I will focus on is switching buying fresh pre-packed produce from the supermarket to using local farm shops and orchards more. Buying everything from the supermarket has been a habit that has crept back in over the past few months owing to an increasing work load.

Other plastic free bloggers

Here are some bloggers who are signed up for Plastic Free July – why not pop over and give them a bit of moral support.

  • Westy Writes lives up in Scotland and has been carefully planning for Plastic Free July for months. Here’s a great post full of resources and ideas for ditching the plastic.
  • Polythene Pam is going plastic free in a camper van! She’s seriously hardcore and her take and questioning on plastic Free July makes for interesting reading.
  • Zoe, over at Eco Thrifty had a bit of a rough time recently. What with her freezer defrosting, going on a four day hen weekend and a camping trip, she realised how much plastic we use in daily life.

And in the words of Frank Sinatra; here are some bloggers doing it their way:

What about you – have you signed up for Plastic Free July? Which items of plastic could you easily do without and which would you find more challenging to give up?

About the Author ()

I am a long time supporter of the Green and Sustainable lifestyle. After being caught in the Boscastle floods in 2004, our family begun a journey to respect and promote the importance of Earth's fragile ecosystem, that focussed on reducing waste. Inspired by the beauty and resourcefulness of this wonderful planet, I have published numerous magazine articles on green issues and the author of four books.

Comments (8)

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  1. Thanks for the mention – here are my plastic free july pledges – and as you say I doing it on the move. Bring it on…..

  2. Elizabeth says:

    I will definitely be participating, it’s a great challenge! I’ve subjected my poor husband to washing dishes with a bar of Dr. Bronners, but I’d like to find a better solution. Maybe baking soda would help (it comes in a cardboard box in the US)…

  3. Yes, I’m going to try my best at boycotting anything that comes in a plastic package for the month of July, but frankly, I’m not sure that is going to be possible considering what the food industry is up to. Detestable cellophane is almost IMPOSSIBLE to avoid, and that stuff is often concealed INSIDE of many items that appear to be packaged in only a cardboard carton. But I will do my best!

  4. happy July–ah!
    plastic, the convenience i love to hate..although i do give my surplus of plastic tubs away, i still keep a reasonable supply of reusable ones in all sizes for tidbits and slices..for gooey projects and paints.

    to assuage my limp conscience, every summer i donate lots of containers to the local Amish..they take their horse and buggy to town and sell the fruits of their collective labor..they actually do use bags and buckets, bottles and bowls to weight and store their organic farm products and handicrafts..i reap smiles and pies for my effort and go home with vegetables which i cannot grow on my small acreage.

    still plasticized by default–i do not use the handy bags at the market, nor buy any convenience foods, but people do give me occasional gifts and breads in plastic wrappers..the visual appeal and implied cleanliness of those colorful packagings appeals to busy families.

    should i mention that i collect and save my friend’s plastic tubs since i cannot quite convince harried and busy mothers to stop buying EVERYTHING in dreaded PLASTIC!

  5. Becky A says:

    Thank you for the shout out. At the moment there are some places where giving up plastic is going to be near impossible… so for those instances I’m going to write to a few companies and ask them if they can change their packaging. Yeo Valley Butter! I’m looking at you!

  6. Kake says:

    Thanks for the mention, but my name’s Kake, not Katy!

  7. That’s great that you are joining in with the challenge! Thanks for the mention and I have also mentioned you in my post outlining what I plan to do for Plastic Free July here:

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