So July is over, and that means Plastic Free July is over. Thank god I can go back to getting takeaway coffee, using two straws in every drink and spending my spare 5p pieces on a plastic bag every time I pop out for groceries! (Even writing that as a joke made me feel guilty about pretending to luxuriate in single-use plastic, is that normal?)
But July has come to an end, and the plastic that I actually did use has been dutifully saved up, photographed, agonised over and is presented here for judgement.
It can be broken down into the following categories:
The regular offenders
So this is the stuff that despite my best intentions I haven’t managed to give up yet. A big part of my day to day plastic rubbish creation relates to the fact that I am terrified of dentists and having to have stuff done to my teeth. This means toothpaste with fluoride (if someone has a plastic-free toothpaste recommendation that comes with fluoride PLEASE tell me), dental tape and possibly most shamefully, mouthwash. Part of me suspects that mouthwash is something they sell to gullible dental enthusiasts like myself, but the fear keeps me using it. I have cut down the mouthwash and flossing section of my dental route to once a day though, so technically I have halved the amount of waste it produces. That counts for something, right? Right?! Yeah ok, still rubbish, I know.
The other parts are a rare block of halloumi cheese, a couple of those pesky fruit stickers that sneak in when you aren’t looking, a water filter wrapper from the kettle because our water is hard as hell and ruins everything if not restrained, and the label from some yogurt. The last one is especially annoying as the yogurt comes in lovely reusable glass jars which I’m saving up for our first honey harvest. Writing to the company that make them to ask them to consider paper labels is on my to do list.
The giant ball of plastic at the top makes me so angry! Not only is it huge, but it was so unnecessary – we borrowed a clothes rail from a friend whilst we didn’t have a wardrobe. On moving it, we accidentally snapped one part of the rail. So I bought my friend a replacement because you can’t give something back with a giant gaffer tape repair around it. Every single pole in the new packet came wrapped in this stupid plastic! So not only did I have to buy something I wouldn’t had to if I’d been more careful, I have pretty much doubled my plastic volume in the pile of shame.
Compost bin sticker – can’t feel too bad about that, it’s for composting food rather than chucking it in the bin.
Plastic chilli packet – another shame moment. We had a chilli emergency (if such a ridiculous thing exists) and these were the only ones I could find. I would feel better about the fact that they were grown locally, but they’re from a giant supermarket so probably went miles for processing and wrapping before being returned. Bad times.
Ikea label – needed a lamp, Ikea had a lovely one. Bought it. Stupid plastic stickers.
Bought some bamboo toothbrushes (which is a good thing, especially given the dental chaos above), requested for them to come wrapped in paper/cardboard. Paper came wrapped in sellotape. Frustrating. As an aside, Kate at Plastic is Rubbish found this excellent link to non-plastic tape, so that’s something for my own future packaging use.
I have no idea what this is or where it came from. But it was in the pile with the other stuff, so I am now the owner of a small plastic circle.
So, once again, the summary is ‘could do better’. But I did do better than previous years and there are loads of things missing from here – I now get milk and juice in glass bottles, most of my cheese comes plastic free, herbs come from our local herb garden roundabout, lettuce, strawberries and cherries from the market, soap in bars and much more. As I said in my last post, do what you can. And if you can do a bit more than that, do that too 🙂