Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Plastic Free July

Has everyone signed up for Plastic Free July?  The idea of Plastic Free July is to try for a month to actively avoid single-use plastic.  You can sign up for the whole month, or just a week, and you can avoid all single-use plastic or just the TOP 4 challenge (plastic bags, bottles, takeaway coffee cups & straws).

This post contain affiliate links from Biome and Rad Pads, as well as advice from my personal experience.  You don't need to buy a whole lot of things to reduce your plastic consumption, there are many things that you can make yourself, I just suggest a few of the items that have helped us and may help you too.

Why?  Plastic is designed to last forever, but when we use it for "disposable" items they do not biodegrade and end up polluting waterways or filling landfills.  Each of us can make a difference by just reducing (or aiming to eliminate) single-use plastic.

Don't know where to start?  Here's a few posts I prepared earlier, and see below for my pinterest board of plastic free and zero waste ideas (click over to my blog if you're reading in email or Bloglovin)

Plastic Free - cleaning products

Plastic Free - Food shopping and food storage


I also wanted to share with you three things that we have changed permanently since I first participated in Plastic Free July in 2011.


1. Replacing plastic bin liners with newspaper
We have not used plastic bin liners for 5 years.  I didn't think this habit would stick, but it has.  We line our bin with newspaper and we take the whole bin out to the wheelie bin each week.  We don't put "wet" items in the bin as all veges and fruit scraps go in the compost.  Anything really gross goes straight out to the wheelie bin, which is less stinky anyway.


eight acres: plastic free July tips, tricks and tools


2. Replace plastic food and drink containers with glass, ceramic and metal
We still use a few tuperware containers for storing fruit and veges, but all hot food goes into glass containers.  We've had pyrex dishes for a while, and I recently got a set of Glasslock containers from Biome (affiliate link) and a Klean Kanteen bottle each (affiliate link).  As well as reducing waste (and not buying Gladwrap for 5 years!), this reduces our exposure to plastic additives which are known hormone disruptors.  Its taken a while to get to this stage, because the glass containers are expensive, but I've gradually built up enough to keep most food in glass (and the other option is ceramic bowls with a plate on top, but then I forget what's in them!).


eight acres: plastic free July tips, tricks and tools


eight acres: plastic free July tips, tricks and tools


3. Replace plastic shopping bags with reusable fabric bags
We have made a real effort to take our own bags and to refuse plastic bags (this is half the battle, saying "I don't need a bag" in time!).  Our reusable bags live in the cars, in my handbag and by the front door, there is no excuse!  They are cheap, and also easy to make, so make sure you have plenty and make an effort to remember them.  Apart from the larger bags to hold shopping, I also have a set of mesh produce bags (affiliate link).


Things to help with the TOP 4 challenge (affiliate links)

- Replace plastic bags reusable bags
- Replace plastic bottles plastic free water bottles
- Replace takeaway coffee cups with reusable options
- Replace plastic straws with metal, glass or silicon straws (or go without)


An finally, for the ladies, did you know there are reusable menstrual options?  Check out Rad Pads here (affiliate links) or read more about my experience here.



Are you doing Plastic Free July?  Do you have any tip, tricks or tools to share?




5 comments:

  1. Hi, Liz. Do you have a particular technique for folding/laying newspaper in bin??? I use pyrex too which I've collected over years by buying one or two containers whenever on special at supermarket. They come on special fairly regularly. I recently purchased some cotton and mesh produce bags on sale from an ethical shop I like to support. I have also found a pattern, in an old Grassroots mag, for making own produce bags. Our worms and compost bins gobble up all our scraps and our dog takes care of a few food scraps too:)One thing I'm going to work on for Plastic Free July is making homemade crackers. It's almost impossible to buy these without plastic coming home too so I am testing out some homemade cracker recipes this month. Enjoyed your farm update! Meg

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    Replies
    1. Hi Meg, I just push it into the bin long-ways and overlap each sheet until its all covered. Takes a couple of minutes. Suppose it depends on the shape/size of your bin, so you might have to play around with a few different arrangements :)

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  2. Liz I've been cutting back on plastic gradually over the past 2 years, for the two reasons you mentioned. I'm horrified at the nasties in plastic, and this really correlates with the much higher incidence of cancers since plastic was discovered. Plastic shopping bags were phased out in South Aust approx 5 years ago, and we all got used to taking our own cloth bags to the shops or market. I prefer to use glass to store our fresh cow's milk and leftovers in the fridge. I cringe when I see folks at work heating their lunch in the microwave, in Tupperware containers. Double whammy of evils.!

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  3. Such a good post Liz and with helpful practical advice - which I often find lacking when people talk about being plastic free. It's something I hope to work towards one day, we're fairly waste free as it is with having our own milk (so no plastic bottles) and we have a good supple of glass dishes for storing food and leftovers.

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  4. When we get to NZ we will not have wheelie bins like here in Australia. We will have to drop our recycling off at the recycling depot and I believe we will have to buy plastic rubbish bags that we can put at the end of our road once a week. So I suspect we will be making lots of changes to what we do now as we have become a bit lazy of late.

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Thanks, I appreciate all your comments, suggestions and questions, but I don't always get time to reply right away. If you need me to reply personally to a question, please leave your email address in the comment or in your profile, or email me directly on eight.acres.liz at gmail.com

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