This is our second year doing the Plastic Free July Challenge and there has been plenty of hits and misses along this journey. Come July each year, it’s a great reminder and a great time to see what we as a family can improve on. My main focus this month is on reducing food wastage and composting, so keeping food scraps out of the garbage bin. Reducing food wastage is a matter of careful meal planning, shopping to a list and sticking to it and trying to cook with whole foods, which therefore reduces the need to purchase food items packaged in plastic. I am not going to say this is always easy as it hasn’t been. I do what I can, as best as I can. Even a small change, can make a big difference.
Some things we are doing/trying to do;
- re-usable shopping bags and produce bags. I keep some in our car and some in my handbag. The ones in my handbag are little fold-up bags that are not made from the most eco-friendly materials as they are waterproof. I look after them so they should last a long time. The main thing is to remember to use them.
- stainless steel water bottles. We have one each and always keep them with us when travelling away from home. There are plenty of places around to refill them if needs be.
- Re-usable coffee cups. We have two of these that my husband and I use. I have been caught out several times when I have forgotten to take them with us and have been asked to bring takeaway coffees to a friend’s place. Dine in to drink or taking coffee in a flask from home works well and saves money.
- Re-usable lunch box containers. We each have one, which is used for school, for work and for travelling away from home…great for snacks. Keeping an empty container or one of those re-usable sandwich bags are great for taking any left over food if you are dining in at restaurant or cafe and can’t finish all of the food…yes I do this, especially with children’s food.
- Seen below is our worm farm and compost bucket which keeps food scraps out of the garbage bin. Yes, clearly both are plastic. The compost bucket is second-hand.
- Second-hand instead of brand new. I have been working on this and again, not always easy! About half of my clothing and my children’s clothing is second-hand, either hand-me downs, clothing swaps or purchased from second-hand clothing stores. Most of our books are second-hand as well. The hardest area I find is children’s toys…moving away from feeling like me need more rather than being happy with what we have.
- Bar soap/shampoo bar for hand, body and hair washing instead of plastic bottled items.
- I make most of our cleaning products and personal care items (toothpaste, deodorant) etc.
- Take food and drinks from home saves purchasing these items when travelling away from home. I do this as often as possible. If we catch up with friends, often we all bring something to share.
Documentaries; There are three documentaries I watched recently which are worth mentioning;
1. War on Waste documentary series (3 part episodes) which aired on the ABC in Australia this year. This series covers areas such as Fast Fashion, food wastage and the effects of plastic that ends up in our oceans.
2. A Plastic Ocean which is on Netflix
3. The True Cost also on Netflix and covers Fast Fashion.
Books; Zero Waste home by Bea Johnson. This book was my first introduction to Zero Waste, plastic free living and I have taken many ideas from there.
Blogs; There are plenty but I particularly like these Blogs, great for some motivation and inspiration;