There’s one week left of Plastic Free July. On the whole it’s gone reasonably well, but there are a few stumbling blocks that keep coming up for me. Firstly, it is very difficult to carry out my Brexit baking project without buying anything plastic wrapped. This goes back to my initial issue of finding dairy products (apart from milk) that don’t come in some form of plastic. The zero waste shop I’ve been going to is great, but they only sell whole almonds, and I do not want to spend however long it would take (too long), blanching and grinding up almonds so that I can have ground or flaked almonds when I can just buy a packet of them. There are some things that the inconvenience for me outweighs the inconvenience to the planet. I know this is bad, and it’s the attitude of ‘excessive convenience’ that has got us to the point of plastic being so unavoidable, but I think the almonds think is higher on the scale of inconvenience than other things.
The other main stumbling block I’ve had is, again, a matter of convenience. I very rarely take lunch to work with me, and I’ve been trying to change this during this month because it makes life so much easier when trying to avoid plastic. However, there have been a few days where I just haven’t managed it. Usually this would be okay, because the cafe where I work packages their sandwiches in compostable bags, but it is just typical that this is the month they have apparently run out of the compostable bags and started packaging them in plastic again…so there are a few plastic sandwich bags with my name on that there shouldn’t be. I’m putting money in my savings account for every day that I remember to take lunch, to try and give myself the additional incentive. I think this will hopefully be one of the things that sticks once this month is over.
On the positive side, we are definitely eating much healthier, out of necessity really, because the bulk of our meals have to be made up from vegetables, as they’re the thing we can get unlimited packaging-free. I think I’ve reduced my consumption of sweets and chocolate, and I haven’t eaten any crisps all month (sad). We haven’t had any food delivered because you don’t know if it will come in plastic or not.
Going to the supermarket has become a rather eye-opening experience. Where before I wouldn’t have really paid attention to how things were packaged, now it is literally all I see – particularly the stuff that’s out of bounds to me that I want to eat (hi halloumi, I miss you). Even the plastic that’s round the top of the peanut butter I usually get, the tea bags I can’t buy because they’re foil-plastic wrapped (I’ve switched to loose tea now, which is another inconvenience thing but much lower on the scale than the almonds). I did notice though that the Linda McCartney food in the refrigerated section used to be in plastic trays and is now in foil trays, so that’s a positive move. I will be interested to see how much my shopping habits revert back to how they were after this month is over.