Who else is up for Plastic Free July?
Like many, I’ve been shocked by the distressing coverage about environmental damage from plastic. I’d like to do something, however small, to reducing the amount of plastic polluting our planet.
So today I signed up to take part in the Plastic Free July campaign. I’m keen to spend the month trying to use less plastic, and throw away less plastic. Hopefully I’ll learn new habits that I continue afterwards too.
Remember if you want to take part, you don’t have to banish plastic completely! Even avoiding some plastic can help.
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Cutting plastic and cutting costs
Luckily, many things that help save the planet can also save money too. I’ve written before about how to use less plastic and cut costs.
For example, avoiding the top four single use plastics helps cut my bills:
- plastic bags
- water bottles
- takeaway coffee cups
- plastic straws
I already carry cloth bags, to avoid paying for plastic bags. I take a refillable water bottle out and about, so I don’t have to buy plastic water bottles or takeaway coffee. And as I rarely buy drinks out, I rarely get given straws. In fact I never realised how many straws we must use, until I went to a homewares brand showcase a couple of weeks ago, with a huge variety of both reusable and biodegradable straws!
Plus as we rarely fork out for soft drinks or takeaways, we rarely end up with plastic soft drink bottles or takeaway containers.
Cutting plastic and adding costs
However, after taking the Plastic Free July ‘Pesky Plastics’ quiz, I’m concerned that switching to some plastic-free alternatives could be more expensive.
Just looking at our breakfast, I started realising the scale of the problem. Milk in plastic bottles, bread wrapped in plastic, cereal in plastic bags inside the cardboard boxes, fruit in plastic bags or containers.
Nipping to our local Co-op after the school run, it felt like the only things I could get without plastic wrap were loose peppers, satsumas in a cardboard box, tins, eggs, baguettes and porridge oats.
Meanwhile all our bathroom products, whether to clean ourselves or clean the house, seem to come in plastic bottles – toothpaste, shampoo, conditioner, pretty much every beauty product apart from tins of Vaseline, laundry liquid and all those cleaning sprays. Gulp.
To avoid plastic, looks like I will have to make some major changes to where I shop and what I buy!
I suspect that shopping for food at the market, local butchers and fish van will all cost more than my plastic-wrapped yellow-stickered bargains. The nearest place to bulk buy dry goods like pasta and rice, or refill cleaning products, will involve extra travel costs. I suspect that buying solid shampoo and conditioner bars, for example, will mean adding the cost of postage and packing.
Tricky areas to tackle plastic free
I reckon some of the areas I will find hardest to cut out plastic involve food packaging, bin bags and cling film.
So I asked an expert for advice – Zoe Morrison, a fellow blogger who has also published an ebook* called Eco Thrifty Living: Save Money, Save the Environment and Live the Life You Want!
Here are Zoe’s top tips:
Aims for the first week of Plastic Free July
So to start Plastic Free July, here’s what I intend doing this week:
- Sign up for deliveries of milk and orange juice in glass bottles from Milk & More. There’s even a discount code for 20% off new orders: MILK20 (Small print here and it isn’t an affiliate link)
- Try buying loose fruit, veg and bread from Morrisons and the market
- Head to Morrisons, the local butcher and the fish van with my own containers for meat and fish
- Press all my boxes into action, so I can avoid cling film
- Track down the nearest shop where I can bulk buy dry goods and get refills of cleaning products
- Investigate shampoo and conditioner in solid bars rather than bottles. We already buy bar soap.
- Separate out my rubbish, as Zoe suggests, into food waste and dry waste.
- Separate out plastic waste from stuff we already have in the house, to see how much we throw away. Hopefully the amount should decrease during July!
Along the way, I’m also interested in finding out where we save money – and where going plastic-free adds extra expense.
Now – over to you. Are you taking part in Plastic Free July? Any top tips on cutting single use plastic without breaking the bank? Do share in the comments, I’d love to hear!
*indicates an affiliate link, so anything you buy through it will help support the blog, as I will get a small commission at no cost to you. Many thanks!