As Plastic Free July draws to an end I find myself reflecting on my efforts to reduce single use plastic, and plastic in general. While I have been making conscious choices to avoid plastic, it seems to leap out at me.
In terms of the TOP 4 (straws, plastic bottles, plastic bags & coffee cup lids) I have done ok.
Straws - none
Plastic bottles - none personally but hubby has bought a couple of bottles of soft drink.
Plastic bags - probably about 8 for the month when I forgot a reusable bag BUT I have used my reusable bags for small shops, and also remembered my produce bags for small shops.
Coffee cup lids - Forgot the reusable cups at the weekend so that was 3 cups, but on the whole I have managed to avoid these, although the lids are recyclable so I don't feel as bad.
My pet peeves that I have encountered this month would be:
Stickers on fruit - really annoying, get everywhere and just rubbish.
Vegetables wrapped in plastic - I bought a cabbage that was wrapped in plastic film with the price sticker stuck to that. I was really tempted to rip the plastic off in the shop but knew that would probably confuse the checkout operator. They are not always wrapped so I'm not sure why sometimes the supermarkets insist on doing it.
Magazines wrapped in plastic - Some magazines come with bonus magazines or a calendar attached. Some are wrapped in plastic. I guess it is the different publishers but why use more plastic than necessary. I also subscribe to a couple of different magazines. One comes in a degradable plastic package, and the other comes in a paper envelope. Well done Go Gardening magazine for escaping the plastic trap.
Courier packages - While some of these say they are recyclable, when I asked at our local recycling centre they were dubious as they have the address labels, or plastic invoice pocket, which is made of a different type of material.
Milk bottle seals - By these I mean the little pull off seal from the plastic bottles. Then there are the little plastic rings which are equally irritating. Both of these have a habit of getting everywhere but the rubbish, and the rings can be seriously damaging to wildlife when they make it into waterways.
Little plastic bag tags - Like the ones that come on bread bags, and in the produce area of the supermarket. These are unnecessary at the supermarket if you use reusable produce bags such as these from Ecodeals. I got mine from Total Food Equipment and there are also a range of reusable shopping and produce bags from Onya. Alternatively, just twist the top of the plastic bag, and no need for a tag.
Nappies - Buying nappies in a cardboard box to eliminate the plastic packaging, only to discover the nappies are wrapped in two plastic bags inside the box!
So what have I learned?
I now keep a foldable and reusable bag in my handbag, and also a produce bag so I don't get caught out on a quick trip to the supermarket.
I am more consciously thinking of ways to eliminate plastic usage, and look for plastic free alternatives.
I am encouraged to continue to reduce one use plastic usage, and to become as plastic free as I can. I still feel as though we have a lot of plastic ending up in the rubbish, so I have more that I can work on.
Did anyone else sign up for Plastic Free July? How did you get on?