Have you heard of the Plastic Free July campaign? It is designed to raise awareness of the issues around single use plastics and to encourage people to look for alternatives. Hopefully, saying no to plastic bags, cups, cutlery, straws and the like during Plastic Free July will help us develop better habits.
I have been trying to reduce the number of single use plastics that come into the house for a couple of years now. It isn’t easy! I find it incredibly frustrating how entrenched single use plastics have become in our lives. We just accept them as part and parcel of modern day living. However, most of us are becoming aware of the damage done to our environment and wildlife, as well as the sheer waste of resources, involved in letting this pervasive habit creep in.
This week’s story about Nestle wrapping a range of their snack bars in recyclable paper packaging shows what the big corporations will do if we put enough pressure on them. When we make other choices and there is potential for this to impact on their profits, suddenly anything is possible!! It is only one range, though. I will really celebrate when they get rid of their plastic packing altogether. Let’s hope this isn’t just a good bit of PR for Nestle.
Here are my frugal things for the week that have also helped to cut down on our use of single use plastics this Plastic Free July.
I mentioned in my Monthly Money Wins post for June that I had rediscovered a little farm shop near to us. They sell a range of (mostly) locally grown fruit and veg loose and at very good prices. We picked up a bagful of vegetables in our own bag, so no plastic there.
Boot sale fruit
I don’t usually pick up fresh produce at the boot sale, but was drawn to the stand by the sight of the most delicious looking cherries. They are my absolute favourite and I love them in season. We bought a huge (paper) bag, plus bananas, apples and satsumas, which all went in a cloth bag.
They were quite ripe so needed to be eaten quickly, but so cheap! I will definitely be buying produce there again.
Our own home grown produce needs no plastic wrapping, of course. This week we have been picking raspberries, redcurrants, parsley, chard and salad leaves.
I did reuse our lodger’s plastic strawberry container for the fruit. She has become a big recycler since living with us, so I am glad we are having a bit of influence. Now to stop her buying so many takeaways….
Plastic free teeth cleaning
I was given some zero waste toiletries for Christmas, one of which was this Georganics Natural Toothpaste in a glass jar. At £9.90, it isn’t cheap, but having said that, it lasts much longer than the usual stuff. I am only two thirds of the way down the pot. I have a bamboo toothbrush to go alongside it.
Using natural toothpaste is a shock to begin with. It doesn’t contain the nasty chemicals that make toothpaste froth up in your mouth. Nor does it leave your mouth feeling super minty and whiten your teeth. However, your teeth do feel very clean!
I am going to go super frugal and try making my own using this recipe once it is finished. Of course, I will reuse the Georganics glass pot! Incidentally, this post from Small Footprint Family also puts an interesting argument forward about why we don’t need (and maybe should avoid) fluoride in our toothpaste.
My new office and compostable packaging
Now that I am self-employed, I have been working to make my office super organised and functional. The desk came second hand from Facebook. It is a nice big size for working at. Best of all, instead of the tinted windows of the council offices where I used to work, I have this view of our garden. It is bliss!
I think that selling second hand items online is a sustainable business idea. Items are reused rather than thrown away, people get a bargain, and I can control the type of packaging I use! I have been sending things out in biodegradable plastic bags, but I am not happy with them. It feels as if they will take an age to biodegrade. This week I have found a supplier selling robust but compostable mailing bags made from potato starch. They will compost within 12 months in a home compost heap. I am going to give them a try.
At 7p a bag, they are more expensive than the cheap plastic ones I have used in the past, but this isn’t much in the greater scheme of things. I add P&P on anyway. I need to get some little cards or labels done next to encourage them to be reused and then composted!
Are you joining in Plastic Free July? Let me know in the comments how you are reducing your use of single use plastics.
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