So, I’m a little over a week into Plastic Free July. It hasn’t been as difficult as I expected, although I have had a couple of accidental lapses, and have also found some things difficult to find. On the second day I realised that I’d forgotten to cancel my yogurt order from the milkman, which comes in plastic. That said, the brand they deliver (Tim’s Dairy), is slightly better than the stuff from the supermarket, because it has a foil lid instead of a non-recyclable plastic one.
Dairy items are probably the hardest to get around. The milk is one thing, but cheese, cream, yogurt, all usually come in plastic, and this is difficult when you’re baking a lot, which I am. I did find out that you can make yogurt in a slow cooker though, but it will take about 12 hours to make, which is massive dedication, and I don’t know if the time it takes is actually worth it for the lack of plastic. My lovely friends bought me some cheddar in wax, which is great! Now I just need to find non-plastic wrapped halloumi…
The other items that have been difficult for me, and my friend Holly who is also doing this, are cartons and cereal. For me, not having fruit juice hasn’t been so good, but all apart from super expensive juice comes in cartons that have plastic tops. Holly is having the same problem except with coconut milk. I’d thought before I started that this would be a way easier challenge as a vegan, but all nut/soy milk comes in cartons with plastic tops. Not so easy! Although, if you’re based in London, you can always get this guy to deliver you some nut milk in glass bottles. Cereal is another pain in the arse, because it all comes in cardboard boxes…lined with a plastic bag. Holly visited three different shops before finally finding some muesli that just came in a paper bag.
My biggest lifesaver was that Oscar and I went to Bamboo Turtle, a zero waste shop in Letchworth Garden City, at the end of June. We picked up a few things, including some pasta, sugar, soap, and a scouring pad made from coconut skin. This was the closest zero waste place I could find to us, 30 miles away, but totally worth visiting. I’ll be going back there next weekend to stock up again, with bigger containers this time! It’s the only way around I’ve found for buying dried goods that usually come in plastic. It’s a beautiful shop though, and has a lot to offer, from loose tea to washing up brushes.
Finally, my slip-ups. A couple of times I bought plastic-wrapped stuff without thinking. I bought a birthday card for someone, which was wrapped in cellophane. I didn’t even think about it until I got home and unwrapped the card. I then had to use sellotape to wrap their present up, again, more plastic. I bought some new shoes from the internet, foolishly assumed they’d come in a cardboard box, only to find them encased in a plastic bag. The most unintentional one was that I bought a deck of Uno, and when I opened it, all the cards were wrapped in plastic. Whyyyyyy!!! Also, one thing I really can’t get around is medicine – at this time of year, I’m having to take hayfever tablets most days, and they all come in plastic!
However successful I am at cutting out plastic this month, it’s very much an exercise in awareness, how many things we own and buy are made from or wrapped in plastic, use it as some sort of component. It makes me think twice about buying things, and where I can shop. It has ruled out buying a lot of snacks, because they all come in plastic or foil-based plastics. Maybe I’ll be healthier at the end of the month?! (I won’t, I’m eating so much cake at the moment…)