Plastic Free July was a success in that I reduced my plastic intake and learned A LOT, but I was definitely unable to completely eradicate plastic from my lifestyle.
I got better as the month went on and learned where and how to cut back on plastics, but this was not an easy task. In today’s world, plastic is so ingrained in our lives that I was finding it in every single thing I bought. I thought I’d share a few things I learned over the month:
- Buy less or buy more! Contradictory I know, but if everything you buy comes packaged in plastic, think to yourself if you really need it (usually you don’t). If it is something you need, see if you can buy it in bulk. Buying bulk saves a lot of plastic packaging and it usually comes out cheaper. Pasta is a great example of something you can buy in bulk, is non-perishable, and will reduce your plastic use (even the boxes of pasta have silly little plastic windows!).
- Plastic bags were the easiest thing to get rid of! The only plastic I managed to completely eradicate was the plastic bag, and it was a lot easier than I thought. Keeping a canvas bag in my purse (for impromptu purchases) and bringing numerous canvas bags for grocery shopping was the way to go!
- Convenience = Plastic! Getting drive-thru instead of making food at home = plastic; same goes for delivery (unless it’s pizza!). Coffee/Tea places were far better set up for reusable mugs than other places. Every time we got a cold beverage, it came with plastic. And let’s face it, it’s summer!
- Reusable food containers are the best! You can do without plastic sandwich bags and cling wrap if you have enough reusable containers. We’ve got a big drawer full of them ranging in size from dip containers to ones hold a whole loaf of bread.
- Buy local! Buying bread from the local bakery is less likely to come packaged in plastic than bread you buy from the store, and the same goes for loads of fruits and veggies. Visit your local farmer’s market, help local farmers, get better tasting food, and enjoy plastic free!
Next step? Not stopping tomorrow! The point of this challenge is not to go plastic free for a month and then slide right back into old habits. Make the changes and stick with them. Don’t beat yourself up when you get stuck with some plastic; simply recycle it and plan on how to avoid it next time!