A few weeks ago Biome reached out and asked if I wanted to participate in Plastic Free July. Given my experimenting with producing less waste and overall adjusting my attitude to throwaway products, I thought why not. Up to now I’ve been giving myself time and leeway. After all it’s kind of pointless to self flagellate absolutely every time you don’t adhere to ‘the rules’, because we’re all human. Life gets in the way, and sometimes you just have to do what you need to do to get by.
This challenge is a great chance for me, personally, to really fine tune my plastic-free efforts to date. Call it a finishing school experience.
Plastic Free July isn’t meant to be a forceful or intimidating exercise. You’re not suddenly meant to eschew every plastic item in your household for 31 days cold turkey. The goal is to just reduce single-use plastic in one area of your life, because even that will make a difference. The action can be tiny – not using Gladwrap/plastic wrap; bringing your own cup to take away coffee; bring and use your own reuseable stainless steel straw instead of the plastic ones that come by default in cold drinks. More conventional ideas may be to not use plastic bags when you’re shopping (that’s mostly a given in Tasmania, since the use of plastic bags are banned in all large supermarket chains).
Initially I thought of great life-style changing plastic free ideas, like throwing away all the plastic in the house and not purchasing anything that came packaged in plastic/contained plastic as part of a component. Ambitious, I realise. And the perfect way to set myself up for failure.
The more realistic commitment for me is an extension of what I’m currently doing – using my tiffin carrier and stainless steel lunch boxes to contain any outside purchased food – and now to also ensure that all the fresh produce I purchase does not come in plastic bags. I’m talking mainly those thin long green ones you get in supermarkets to collect the loose vegetables in, but really trying to avoid all other forms of plastic in fresh produce shopping too.
Biome is helping me in my plastic free pledge, and are generously providing me with a reuseable cutlery set for my lunches/take out food (further assisting me in my quest to never need to throw away another single use cardboard box, tray, or bamboo fork. Also the inclusion of chopsticks are a genius move), and a set of Onya mesh produce bags. The bags are made from 100% recycled plastic bottles, virtually weightless (so they won’t interfere in weighing loose produce), and machine washable too. These will in effect replace the need for me to use those aforementioned thin green plastic bags.
During the month I’m also really interested in logging all the dry waste that I am producing, and I’ve designated a glass jar to contain the things that I would normally trash from purchases – tags, receipts, other random accessories of consumption. Usually I see this whole glass-jar-keeping-your-waste-there a bit full on, because let’s be honest, it feels good to just throw things away. It’s cathartic and a mindless enough action to do that gets rid of stuff you don’t need. But since I want to be more aware, I’m doing the jar thing during July.
I also won’t be beating myself up if I am caught in situations where I absolutely have to resort to using plastic. Things happen, and you do what you gotta do. If I can, I will definitely log the plastic in the jar to keep a tab on those times.
What doesn’t count
I’m not one to force anyone to do anything, so I’m not roping the husband into this challange. Also I’m not blanket applying my plastic free pledge to any purchases I need to do for him or for my mother, for whom I do limited weekly grocery shopping for. Currently it’s easy for me to control my actions and reap the consequences of my actions; it’ll be too much for me to think ahead for an additional 2 people, both of whom have their own agenda, patterns, expectations, and values respectively. Plastic free is just for me.
|Why don’t you give Plastic Free July a try? Your plastic free pledge can be the tiniest thing – changing out your plastic water bottle for a stainless steel one; not making any online purchases for a month; not using Glad Wrap and finding alternatives to plastic wrap; bringing your own utensils to eat takeaway. The point is not to guilt people in their plastic using ways, but to take this month as an opportunity to experiment in what you can do without.|
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