Tag Archives: no plastic

No Plastic July – The first days.

As you know I have pledged to give up 5 areas of plastic consumption for No Plastic July.

I have been watching blogland and the key to all these challenges (No Plastic, No Waste, Buy Nothing New, Give Up Supermarkets) is research, planning, organisation and preparation.  Sometimes something unexpected will upset those plans, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t worth doing, it just means sometimes you have a blip.

This is day 6 of the challenge but there is already plenty going on …

1. Crisps and Savoury Snacks.

I already have a selection of tins and airtight contains to keep the homemade ones in and Josh has been getting very excited about trying to make our own corn tortilla wraps and turning those wraps into tortilla chips.  The problem being that we would still have to buy the cornmeal in a plastic bag but it would probably be less plastic than bags and bags of tortilla chips.

As soon as I thought of this challenge I knew I wanted to make cheese straws.  They are delicious, we both love them and I also wondered how cheap they would turn out to be.  They were a huge hit and far from feeling like No Plastic July was deprivation at this moment it felt like luxury.

I used this recipe and made a very large amount of very rich cheese straws (which are more filling than the ones you get in foil, plastic packets in the shops).

But the problem I am hitting is that even making things from scratch does eliminate plastic.  I don’t have a co-op type shop nearby where I can take my own containers and weigh our flour from  big bins.  So the local supermarkets supply butter, baking powder, cheese, cornflour etc.

I think I can take my own container to the cheesemonger in town and I’m going to give that a go next week when I go to the market with my own bags.  I’ll report back!

We also went to a local farm shop with lots of lovely artisan cheese crackers.  As we have guests coming at the weekend we would normally pick some up.  Not this time as every single variety had some plastic in the packaging.  Crackers are next on the “to make” list.

2. Children’s toothbrushes – “I’ve found only one bamboo toothbrush in a child’s size.  I’m going to give it a go but he will only be 1 so it might still be too big for him.”

I wrote the above sentence in a fit of hubris.  I didn’t buy the lovely bamboo one I bought the silicone baby brush.  Is silicone plastic.  If so then I have already failed a little.  Basically R has decided to meltdown every time someone tries to brush his teeth.  He doesn’t really object to the toothbrushing, he objects to relinquishing control of his toothbrush.  He had to have a bath with it the other day so close is his attachment.  The baby brush is supposed to allow him to clean his own teeth so I don’t need to hold his toothbrush for him.  I’m hoping this doesn’t boot me out of the challenge – we have speculated it might be better than a plastic one as it might last longer… but who knows.  We will be trying bamboo again when this interesting phase is over.

[Update: I really not convinced that the baby brush is working.  R loves chewing on it but he doesn’t seem to be working the actual bristles into his actual gums and teeth. I knew there wasn’t going to be an easy solution to this.]

3. Yoghurt – I’ve already got some recipes for this and as I posted about here, in a recent charity shopping trip I found an original vintage 70s Yoghurt thermos flask for £1.95. I had one go at making yoghurt as a test run.  It was a total disaster.  Turns out a) you don’t need to sterilise your yoghurt making equipment and b) you can’t sterilise a vintage 1970s yoghurt maker.  I just made a £1.95 donation to the charity shop as I killed the yoghurt maker and will be going back to the glass jar in a haybox idea.  I also learned that Greek Yoghurt doesn’t have the cultures to get you going, milk powder can curdle! and my sugar themometer says 180F but this is a lie.  Luckily I did all this learning before the challenge.  I am now ready with some definitely bio yoghurt, more tips from the internet and a glass jar in a haybox!

4. Bottle Drinks – Well I didn’t buy lots and lots of bottled drinks to get me through the next month in my last shop.  That would obviously have been a cheat.  In fact I’ve been trying to get through my stock to make this a real challenge.  My key piece of preparation was getting a jug (I broke our last one).  My Mother Out-Law had a heavy glass jug which was too heavy for her to life and so I gratefully took it home and filled it with warm water and herbal tea bags.  It has been chilling overnight and I can now enjoy iced spearmint and chamomile tea whenever I like.

For people coming at the weekend I ordered juice in a glass bottle from Abel & Cole and a couple of posho drinks like “presse” which come in glass bottles.  But I am disappointed to learn via polytheenpam that they all have plastic in the caps of the bottles.  I’ll also be using the juice in some homemade hummous later in the week.

5. Handwash – I took the plunge and ordered some Dr Bronner plain organic soap (it is the baby soap so R can use it as well).  I already have a huge stash of essential oils.  I’ve been using them since I was about 17! and I’ll use boiled water from the tap to make up the handwash according to this recipe and just put it in my existing dispensers.  I’ll be posting more about it when I make it but so far I’m impressed because the soap bars come in paper wrapping only and the company I ordered it from  (The Ethical Superstore) sent it through the post with recycled cardboard wrapping in a recycled cardboard box and although there was a little bit of tape to keep it closed even the invoice didn’t have the stupid plastic backed peel off bit on it.  A win all round!

No Plastic July – starts here!

Well today is the first day of No Plastic July and as you know I am trying to lose plastic in 5 areas of our life.

Plastic Free July

Plastic Free July

I’m doing this because plastic doesn’t break down for years and years and years.  When you have single use, disposable plastic we are just putting it somewhere out of sight and out of mind but it still exists.  It sits there in landfill somewhere – but that landfill is filling up and in world with a huge and growing population I can’t think of a more disgusting waste of land. Or worse it is getting dumped into the ocean and damaging the wildlife.

Unlike my compost heap this stuff isn’t being broken down it is just a giant bin which keeps on growing. Recycling just isn’t as good an answer as we think, it isn’t as widespread as it needs to be, it doesn’t cover all types of disposable plastic, it uses more energy (than just not having the disposable plastic in the first place) and reading No Plastic July website it is being recycled in “third world countries with substandard conditions for the world’ poorest people”.

There is a potential impact on our health with BPA chemicals getting out of the plastic and into our bodies and there is a growing impact on the oceans which I had no idea about until recently.

Yikes!

It is interesting to me how issues aren’t just about “the environment’ anymore, there is always a very human impact, often on the poorest and most vulnerable people and BPA affects everyone.  That is why I embrace ‘sustainability’ as a term.  It covers everything and reflects the fact our actions impact in lots of different ways.

So the journey to give up disposable plastic starts today.

One of things we are giving up is crackers and crisps and savoury snacks in plastic wrapping.  So today I’ll be whipping up a batch of these cheese straws to eat instead. I want giving up plastic to mean we eat better and enjoy life more whilst saving the planet. There will be dancing (and eating cheese straws) in my revolution!

Alongside my 5 things, I’m also going to be watching some documentaries and learning more about the issues and writing to a few companies to ask them to change their packaging.

A little example – I like to buy organic butter because organic farming is more sustainable and less oil dependent than other types of farming.  But the foil wrappers on most organic butter – (Yeo Valley, Sainsburys Organic and Rachels – I am looking at you!) contain a thin layer of plastic.  So do I go plastic free or do I by the more sustainable organic option!  My solution is to lobby Yeo Valley and others to change their packaging so I don’t have to work out the lesser of two evils.

There are some other amazing bloggers, going even further than me and I’m going to get a lot of inspiration from them over this month.

Check out their links and cheerlead them to the finish line!

Westywrites

EcoThrifty

Plastic is Rubbish

Plastic Free UK

Sustainable Witney

Plastic Free July In Croydon

My Zero Waste