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My last week of Plastic Free July

The home stretch! The last week (and a bit) hasn't been without it's difficulties but I'm glad stuck it out. An unplanned plastic item snuck it's way into my life but all in all, I'd call the home run a success.

 

Day 22

Another sick day, which meant that I couldn’t get to the farmer’s market for milk. Nooooo! My partner was a trooper and opted to decrease his coffee intake for the week, forgoing his usual second coffee at home and just going to the cafe once a day. 

 

Day 23

My sweet mum left us with some leftovers, which gave me another day to rest before getting groceries. 

 

Day 24

I picked up the groceries from Salamanca Fresh, plus some cardboard-packaged pasta from Coles because life’s too short not to eat pasta. I’d love to be one of those wonderfully resourceful zero-wasters who makes their own pasta, but I’m afraid I’m not there just yet, although I did make my own romesco sauce this week so there’s still hope.  

 

 

Day 25, 26 and 27

I had a few no spend, plastic-free days.

 

Day 28

Another plastic day 😢. I was forced to introduce a new plastic debit card into my life thanks to a Guatemalan data hacker (which sounds far more exciting than discovering that someone’s using my card number to buy 85 quetzal worth of “educational supplies”), but that’s another story.

 

Day 29

A friend picked up some milk for me from Farm Gate Market, which was so nice! I treated myself to a hot drink and snacks at Hamlet. I love it there and get a kick out of supporting such a whole-hearted, community minded place that does it's part to reduce waste and plastic consumption. 

 

Day 30

I did my weekly grocery run at Salamanca Fresh.

 

 

 

Day 31

I went a bit bonkers at Eumarrah and came back with bulk food in, well, bulk. This week I filled up some unused cotton dust bags from home which happen to work a treat as bulk food bags. Score! 

 

 

Highlights and Musings  

Over the past 31 days I’ve managed to stay almost plastic free, introducing a second hand rain coat, a debit card and a 2L carton of milk into my life (although I didn’t buy this one, it did appear in the house so I’m only taking partial credit). I'm proud of my efforts and hope that I can keep this momentum going.

Moving forward, I will try to be as mindful as possible about the plastic I introduce into my life, but I understand that this is not enough. To see real change, we need to change the system. Government must continue to implement legislation and regulation. I also believe that industry must accept responsibility for plastic waste and pollution. There is some really exciting plastic free alternatives and plastic reduction methods being theorised, tested and produced at the moment, but for the sake of our future, we need to be getting the best scientific minds excited about this problem. 

 

One last little call to action before I get off my plastic-free throne:

Be the squeaky wheel

In the past I've shied away from being 'that' annoying enviro-warrior person, but in the spirit of Plastic Free July, I have decided to take action. I also run a small business and rely on a few key online suppliers for things that simply don't exist in Tasmania, so this week I have contacted an online supplier to voice my concern and to consider plastic free or reduced-plastic options when packaging their goods. I haven't heard back yet, but hopefully if more people make some noise, we'll see results.

 

My third week of Plastic Free July 2018

Here's how I've fared over the past week sans plastic:

Day 15

I went to Farm Gate Market and stocked up veggies, apples, bread and bought some Elgaar milk and yoghurt. 

Day 16

Today I challenged myself to get the rest of my ingredients from the supermarket. Coles has a self serve bulk food section, but supplies it with plastic zip lock bags (why?), so I just filled up my reusable onya bags instead. Truth be told they weren’t as delicious as the produce from Eumurrah but given my busy week, it saved me so much time and effort to get the rest of the groceries on foot on my walk home rather than driving in to the city during business hours. Below is a picture of my weekly haul, minus the Farmer's market veggies I'd already cooked with.

 

 

Other things I’ve managed to get from the supermarket sans plastic include canned goods, pasta, bi carb, pickles, vinegars, condiments, oils, flour, fruit and vegetables. 

 

Day 17

I broke the rules today. I bought a rain jacket from Recycle Boutique, which (you guessed it) is made from plastic. I justified this purchase to myself because I need one and I’ve been looking for a raincoat for months. From the dorky peaked cap to it's impressive pack-down size, it's exactly what I’ve been looking for and being second hand, no new plastic is coming into the world. I know it’s a bit naughty but at the moment I can’t find a plastic free alternative that fits all of my requirements.

 

Day 18

I resisted the 1/2 price dark chocolate tim tams (such a guilty pleasure) and bought a block of chocolate wrapped in al foil and paper instead. It was delicious and by the time I got home I'd forgotten all about the tim tams, it was only when I was prompted to blog about it that I remembered again. Is this the start of a change of habit?

 

Day 19, 20 and 21

No new purchases and no new plastic in my life. Fingers crossed I can keep this up for the rest of the month.

 

 

Week 3 highlights and musings

I’ve been very anti plastic in these posts, but there are many benefits that have come from the creation of plastic. Plastics have helped advance medical sciences and play an important role in our modern health care system. Not that I think there isn’t room for hospitals and medical specialists to move towards reducing plastic usage and waste, but from specialised medical equipment to keeping a sterile environment, plastic plays a part. Plastic has become a very handy material for the construction of camping (hello perfect rain coat!) and safety gear, aeroplanes and cars. Plastic has also made the tech revolution possible, for which I am very grateful.

Maybe one day humanity will develop a plastic free alternative that is kinder to the environment but for now, I don’t think we’ll be able to completely eliminate plastic usage in the near future. The problem is that the majority of plastics made today are for packaging (Geyer, Jambeck and Lavender Law, 2017), which doesn't seem right to me. Don't you think plastic packaging (for the most part) could be avoided with some simple swaps and a bit of a mindset change? What do you think? 

 

 

Reference

Geyer, R., Jambeck J. R., Lavender Law, K. (2017).  Production, use, and fate of all plastics ever made. Science Advances, [online] Volume 3(7), e 1700782. Available at: http://advances.sciencemag.org/content/3/7/e1700782.full

My second week of Plastic Free July 2018

This week started pretty shaky, ended with lots of delicious food and contained a bit of plastic-themed disappointment.

Day 8

Oh how much difference a day makes! Instead of going to the farmer’s market, I stayed in bed until 3pm, too sick and tired to do anything else. This really threw me out of my weekly routine.

 

Day 9

On the back foot with absolutely no vegetable matter left in the house, I got some (paper bagged, no plastic fish soy sauce) sushi for lunch in town when I was at work, feeling pretty smug about bringing a little jar of tamari with me from home.

Home from work, I noticed there was a plastic bottle of milk in the fridge 🤷🏻‍♀️. My partner relies on milk being in the fridge (still can’t convert him to home made almond milk) like I rely on water coming out of the tap, so I couldn’t get too cranky, it was a tough weekend for both of us. 

I got some groceries from Salamanca Fresh in the evening and managed to get away without any plastic. Success!

 

Day 10

 A no spend, no plastic day.

 

Day 11

I snuck away to Eumarrah and stocked up on nuts, oats and cocoa powder. I use my Onya produce bags there, but rely on their paper bags for flours, spices and powders. I’ve been trying to recycle my accumulated stock of paper bags but have been thinking making some cloth bags to fill that purpose.

 

 

Day 12

Another no spend, no plastic day.

 

Day 13

I met some friends at Rektango but forgot to bring a reusable cup, which meant that I missed out on some hot gin punch. Oh well. We then went out for Indian food, which was great but as usual, I ordered way too much. I’d usually take leftovers home but PLASTIC, so I had to say goodbye to half an eggplant curry. Nooooo!

 

Day 14

 Another no spending, no plastic day.

 

Week 2 highlights and musings

This week reminded me that plastic-free isn’t easy, especially when you’re sick or rely on a limited window of time to get plastic free supplies. As demand for plastic-free alternatives increases, hopefully things like milk in glass makes it’s way back to grocers soon.

I found it interesting to see how my own perception of waste is changing. A few years ago I was accumulating plastic bags to ‘reuse’, now I’m doing the same with paper bags and am starting to rethink how I can rely less on this resource. 

Also, I think I need some guidance on this one: is it stingy to bring a reusable container to a restaurant for the sole purpose of collecting leftovers? It somehow feels cheap even though I would have “doggy-bagged” my curry. Please let me know your thoughts in the comments below, I’m curious!

My first week of Plastic Free July 2018

Day 1

After a big Sunday sleep-in followed by some quick meal planning for the week, I made my way to Farm Gate Market. I was too late to pick up bread which had sold out (whoops!) but managed to get a couple of glass bottles of Elgaar milk and a jar of Elgaar yoghurt, along with some fresh veggies and apples. So far, so good.

 

Day 2

My partner suffered without bread. He made his concerns known.

 

Day 3

I threw my cash around like a zero waste gangster at Eumarrah, buying bread, tea, flours, dates, tamari, tahini and even some dark chocolate covered ginger. I remembered to bring jars from home for the tamari and tahini, which made me quite proud, although I did get some strange looks from people as I walked down the street, clinking and clunking with a bag full of glass jars. 

 

 

Days 4 and 5

I didn’t buy anything, which is definitely the easiest way to avoid plastic, although I only kept it up for a couple of days.

 

Day 6

I had some posting to do and managed without plastic, although I did spend extra on the parcel to avoid plastic. It was a reminder that going plastic free not only takes some extra planning, often it also costs extra money. This sucks.

 

Day 7

Another spend-free, plastic free day. 

 

Week 1 highlights and musings

I’m feeling confident so far that I’ll be able to make it through this month plastic free, but it’s early days and I’m sure I’ll come across a challenge or two before the month is up.

Let me know if I’m being cynical, but have you noticed that plastic free alternatives are often marketed and priced as luxury item? Is this done to make ‘green’ enticing to the consumer? I get it, but I also worry that we are excluding a lower SE market by not only making plastic free more expensive but also by making plastic free seem unattainable.

The daily plastic culprits like plastic shopping bags, produce bags, coffee cups, straws and plastic water bottles are not expensive to refuse or replace, it just takes a bit of practice before it becomes second nature. I worry that people who can’t afford to go completely plastic free aren’t making these small, daily changes because the lifestyle we’re selling seems out of reach. Just a thought.

How have you been going with your plastic free July challenge? Let us know in the comments below.

Gearing up for Plastic Free July 2018

 

Eeek! There’s nothing like the sight of a plastic-covered beach to put our plastic addiction into perspective. I did the Plastic Free July challenge last year and am doing it again this year, blogging my progress weekly. I’ve kept up many of the plastic free habits I made last year, but plastic still creeps in to my life at times of weakness. Weaknesses include when my parents drop by and I haven’t baked anything for afternoon tea, when all I want to do is eat Indian food at home in my pjs or when I’m craving some delicious dairy (I’ve been meaning to buy a yoghurt maker for a whole year and still don’t have one). These times of weakness occur far more frequently than I’d wish to admit, so now is the perfect opportunity to do another plastic cleanse.

 

 

Before I spend the next 4 weeks sharing my Plastic Free July experiment with you, I‘d like to acknowledge my privilege. I don’t have any children or dependents begging for plastic wrapped things - unless you count a partner who demands a tub of ice cream every now and then. I also don’t eat much dairy or any meat, which makes the whole plastic-free journey a whole lot easier. With bulk food stores like Eumarrah and Farm Gate Market in Hobart, it doesn’t take me too much extra effort. I also have a pretty flexible working schedule which means that I can get to the farmers market and bulk food stores when they’re open. How lucky am I?! I understand that going plastic free comes with many challenges and I’m not here to judge, just to share my experiences with you.   

 

 

Will you be joining me? Say hello in the comments below! If going cold turkey is too much right now, the Plastic Free July website gives many ideas on how to go plastic free. You could pick up litter on the beach once a week, give up plastic takeaway options or try to avoid plastics that end up in your recycling bin (bonus points if you put your soft plastics into a Redcycle bin). Every little bit counts and I‘m right here with you. 

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