No Plastic July.

Did you know July is No Plastic July!  I’ve been reading about WestyWrites gearing up for the challenge and I’m already so impressed with Zero-Waste Chef’s continuing mission to cut out all plastic from her life.

More of Father Out Law's flower garden.

More of Father Out Law’s flower garden.

We are not quite ready to ditch plastic entirely, but I’d like to get closer to making it a possibility.  With that in mind I’ve spent the last week or two looking at our shopping (and basically being horrified by the amount of plastic in our lives – even if almost all of it is recycled).  The green mantra of Reduce Reuse Recycle is, as you probably know, actually a hierarchy. Reducing is better than Reusing, Reusing is better than Recycling.

With this all in mind I’ve decided on 5 ways we can start reducing plastic in our lives and our shopping trolley – which we are going to trial in July.

1.  Crisps and Savory snacks. 

Snacktime

Snacktime

We always have a couple of bags of Tortilla chips and some Krackawheat (wholewheat crackers which are probably not as healthy as they sound!) or other savory snacks in the house.  So for July I’m going to try making my own instead.  Cheese Straws, homemade crackers etc.  I’ll be looking out for recipes and hopefully trying to persuade Josh we can at least move away from the Krackawheat (if not the Tortilla chips!).

2. Toothbrush – Josh and I use and electric one which I’m not ready to give up yet (advice from my Dentist – you don’t want to know that much about my dental health!) but R’s little toothbrush will need replacing soon.  I’ve seen some lovely bamboo ones kicking about which you can compost at the end of their life and I’m going to try and find one suitable for him.

3. Yoghurt – R and I eat a lot of Yoghurt and it is about time I started making it.  I’m planning on combining a number of recipes I’ve seen including here and here.  I’ll still be buying milk in plastic for now (but researching alternatives) which means if I make yoghurt I’ll be buying milk in bigger plastic jugs which use more plastic.  But I reckon a) this is still less plastic that buying milk AND yoghurt and b) they can be repurposed into scoops and other items which the smaller jugs are no use for.  So I’ll get a reuse out of the plastic instead of a straight recycle and I’ll be getting less overall.

4. Bottled drinks. 

My terrible fizzy secret.

My terrible fizzy secret.

This is a real guilty confession of mine.  I love fizz. Fizzy water, fizzy pop etc. (that is Soda in the US) and I drink a non-negligible amount of it (how much I’m not prepared to disclose!).  Basically I still have the beverage tastes of a child and I love the way the bubble pop on my tongue. I’m not quite ready to give up some cans of diet coke (yet!) but I will not buy any drinks in plastic bottles and I won’t buy 6 packs of diet coke (or similar) wrapped in plastic for July. More water in my lovely Sigg water bottle and more herbal tea!

5. Handwash.

Two bottle adds up quickly.

Two bottle adds up quickly.

We have a lot of sinks in this house (6!) and I keep soap for handwashing by all of them.  Having a baby means handwashing and every other kind of washing is constantly required.  I mostly try and use bars of soap – less packaging and lasts longer.  But two of the sinks can’t take a bar of soap because of the location of the taps, size of the sink etc.  So we use a bottle of handwash in a plastic bottle.  I try and use Ecover, but there is still a lot of plastic waste.  So thanks to a tip from the Zero Waste Chef I’m going to try and make my own handwash this month using this link.  It won’t be plastic free as I’ll be re-using a plastic dispenser.  But it hopefully means I won’t have to buy any more plastic bottles (even refills!)

This blog now reads like a total plug for the Zero Waste Chef – but it is only because her blog is so damn informative!  I can’t help it.

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16 thoughts on “No Plastic July.

  1. Keely

    Yay soap! What I’ve been doing for hand soap (which kind of works) Is just sticking the tiny ends of our bar soap (the ones that always seem to slip down the drain) and what’s left after I grate bars for laundry (I don’t like to grate my fingers) into dispensers and adding warm water. Some of the soap dissolves, some just floats in a funky paste, but it dispenses more or less (sometimes less) like liquid hand soap, and when you’ve got nothing but funky paste, you just add more water. It does the job at almost zero effort. I’m trying to work out dish detergent, which can of course be found here in yet another plug for Zero Waste Chef:
    http://zerowastechef.com/2014/06/20/diy-dish-soap/
    Haha

    Reply
  2. Becky A Post author

    It was that very post by the ZWC that inspired me! But I do have a few odds and ends of soap lying around so I’ll get on with trying your solution now.

    Reply
  3. Rachelle Strauss

    Hi Becky
    Good luck with plastic free July. You might consider a soda stream if you can’t live without the fizz – now that will REALLY take you back to your childhood! I used to use a company called ‘nothing nasty’ for toiletries – she used to sell in glass bottles. Not sure if this is still true, but might be worth a look?
    And if you enjoy plastic free july, I’d love to have you signed up for Zero Waste Week – it takes place 1-7 Sept this year 🙂

    Reply
    1. Becky A Post author

      Hiya

      Thank you for commenting!

      To be honest I own a soda stream somewhere (we couldn’t afford one as a child – so I got one as an adult and it was just as fun, we have used it to make cheap fizz out of cheap white wine like Blue Nun and also to make carbonated fruit juice!) I’ll dig it out for the challenge!

      Zero Waste Week sounds like my sort of thing, I’ll pop over to your blog and check it out!

      Reply
  4. Louba

    Good luck! Like you I’m working my way through the shopping to see what we can cut out. For hand soaps we’ve moved back to traditional soap bars, I seem to have amassed lots of mini ones from Crabtree and Evelyn that are in cardboard rather than plastic. I’m not a big fan of fizzy drinks but I’ve switched from juice in cartons to either plain water or water infused with fruit in a big jug. I’m planning on trying the dish soap too!

    Reply
    1. Becky A Post author

      Hi Louba

      Thanks for commenting – I’d love to hear more about how you reduce plastic. Isn’t it amazing the more you look the more plastic you find.

      I use bar soap for most of the sinks but I just have these two which are too narrow 😦 Bar soap is much better and I’ve had great experiences with solid shampoo in the past. I might go back to it!

      Reply
  5. Kake

    I’ve tried several ways of making my own liquid soap from bar soap and I didn’t like any of the end results. I now use liquid soap from Splosh (www.splosh.com) which comes in little concentrate sachets that you just put in the dispenser and add hot water to. There’s a small amount of plastic in the Splosh packaging, but nothing in comparison to buying new bottles every time. The packet of refills costs £6, fits through the letterbox, and makes four 250ml bottles of liquid soap (so that’s £1.50 each, which I think is quite a reasonable price).

    Reply
    1. Becky A Post author

      Thanks for commenting Kake! I’ve already ordered some Dr Bronner soap – I’ll see how it works but if it doesn’t then Splosh sounds like a great alternative. Thanks for the suggestion!

      Reply
  6. thehomemaderoad

    This is a really inspiring post…starting from a basic enjoyment of making things myself I am now also trying (very slowly) to turn towards a more sustainable, self-sufficient life. Plastic is so hard to avoid. We’re pretty good at reusing plastic bottles (in one way or another) at our allotment but as you say, cutting down all together would definitely be the best option! Would love to hear how you get on with this…

    Reply
    1. Becky A Post author

      Thank you so much! Since I started thinking about what a true no plastic July would look like I’ve been pretty horrified at how pervasive it is in my life (and I thought we were quite Green before!) It just feels that like oil, single use plastic has crept into our lives so now it is impossible to give up. But I’m not daunted, I might not be able to give it all up (yeast packets I’m looking at you!) But I reckon I can make a big dent in it.

      Reply
  7. Sue D

    For liquid soap: Glass jars with pump tops ( sorry plastic I know), or cork top with stainless spout as for olive oil, or old favourite – saucer or small dish for bar soap.
    Re-usable bags for supermarket shop. Trash free lunches for all school packed lunches and cloth napkins ( tho’ I often cheat for yoghurts). Only water for kids for school- in reusable flasks. ( Healthy schools policy so no choice- helps as kids can’t argue!) Do make them smoothies to take sometimes in reusable pouches – plastic, but last years.
    We keep a few chickens, grow some vegs and fruits, reuse where we can. Good to hear how others are making out tho’ we are in Bermuda so not quite the same growing season, availability etc. We are looking at solar for hot water, catch rain for all out household needs and drinking-via our roofs ( 65,000 of us, not just our family.)

    Reply
    1. Becky A Post author

      There are some great tips in here Sue and it is always so interesting to hear what people in countries other than the UK are doing. I especially love reading about what different people can grown in their back gardens all round the world!

      Re-useable smoothie pouches sound great!

      Reply
  8. farmer liz

    great post, I reckon the best thing about plastic free July is it gets you thinking and being creative about not using plastic. I’m joining in too. Thanks for sharing your ideas!

    Reply
    1. Becky A Post author

      Hi thanks for commenting – sorry I’m so late in replying you got caught in the wordpress spam filter!! How rude of WordPress. I’ll definitely check out your blog and see what you are up to, especially with no plastic July.

      Reply

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