It’s #plasticfreejuly again – an initiative that is growing each year as more people are pledging to give up single use plastic. I’ve signed us up again, and you can also register on the site here: www.plasticfreejuly.org
It’s full of helpful tips on how to clean, cook, store food, gift etc. without using single use plastic.
I’ve noticed that because I am quite tired and busy at the moment, my black bin is filling up with more and more crap as I’m not putting as much thought into what I’m bringing home. Takeaways are very tempting when you just want to lie down in the evening and watch back to back Netflix series. With wine.
So, I am thankful for an opportunity to reboot. I love this campaign as it’s a grassroots movement, all about the small changes we can all make that add up to one big ground-swell of discontent. Although changes really need to be made upstream by policy makers, we can still vote with our money and refuse to buy the things we don’t want or need.
I’ve said it before, but just to be clear, I certainly don’t think ALL plastics are the devil.
For me, looking at my plastic waste was a gateway to looking at how I lived generally and the effect it was having on the environment. I’ve seen a lot of celebration over places like Morrisons swapping all their plastic bags for paper ones. Which is a good step, and we use paper bags as well. BUT, paper comes from trees, and we kind of need trees too. Which is why bringing your own and re-using what you have will always be the best thing to do.
I’m sure by now, most of you know what sort of things we can do and swaps we can make as consumers. Here’s some that are easy:
1. Saying “no straw ta” when out for a drink. Many companies are phasing out their use of single use straws anyway, but there’s still a long way to go. Support the businesses with their no-straw policy. It’s highly unlikely you will die without a straw in your martini. If you are that arsed, buy a steel one and take it with you.
2. Water bottles. Take your own. Easy.
3. Get a re-usable coffee cup for all your smoothie, coffee, iced tea needs. Somewhere along the line in the last century we have been completely sold the idea that we must walk around and consume a beverage. Kudos to the person who sold that idea to us, because I actually find walking and drinking fairly inconvenient.
4. Write down all the crap that is heading into your black bin, and therefore to landfill. Pick one or two things, work out an alternative. Meat containers? Take your own tupperware to the butcher/deli counter. Bread bags? Find a good bakery and take your own bag. Veg wrapped in plastic? Find an excellent, super friendly greengrocers who do a happy dance every time you bring your own bags.
5. Just do without. You know what, this list could be endless. But sometimes, if there’s not a good alternative, then just don’t bloody buy or use the throw-away thing. We can’t always be prepared with our many containers, water bottles, reusable straws and coffee cups because life is chaotic and has to be unplanned sometimes in order to be Actual Life.
Although single use plastic is certainly not our only environmental issue, it is a very good place to start and often inculcates other thoughts and actions around how we engage with the space around us. Please don’t be fooled that we can all just swap single use plastic for single use paper/bio-plastic/insert other material. There are billions of us here, and most materials have to come from somewhere. “Recycle” has moved down the pyramid somewhat in recent years, to be trumped by “Refuse”. I could wax lyrical about the problems of the Consumerist dream, but I’ll leave that for another time. Needless to say, the less stuff we buy, the less stuff we have to put in the bin. You only have to look down your nearest street to see how completely overwhelmed we are by litter and rubbish.
Anyhoo, as a business, our next steps to help reduce single-use plastics are:
1. We have introduced bulk household cleaning products to the shop, bring your own bottles/jars/wellies/whatever to fill!
2. We have signed up to become a Terracycle collection point, which means you will soon be able to recycle certain currently un-recyclable items with us such as biscuit wrappers and beauty products. More info on this soon
3. I am continuing to look into ways of reducing our stretchy plastic. Although most of our fruit and veg doesn’t come individually wrapped, some boxes are covered in stretchy plastic to keep it fresh. I’ll be honest in saying this isn’t something that is going to change very soon, as some is undoubtably needed to keep the fruit and veg fresh (and food wastage is an important factor to consider for us). We currently get as much use as possible out of the stretchy plastic, but would like a better option for when it reaches the end of it’s life.
4. Continue to look at our takeaway soup cup options. At the moment these are “compostable”, but only at high temps in certain conditions. It’s still single-use, which makes it not ideal. Again, bringing your own container is the best option here, as we give you money off. Win win.
I hope you will join us in signing up, we would absolutely love to hear about the changes you are making and, importantly, the issues you face in making changes. We are all human, we are all busy and we are all operating within a system that is built around more is more. It’s not always easy to make changes and keep them up, but please shout about the ones you do make!
Em : )