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Plastic Free July – A Challenge For Us All To Consider

Every fortnight my black bin is virtually empty, but my recycling boxes overflow. So would it be better to just not chose the plastic option altogether?

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Plastic Free July is a global movement that requires choosing to refuse single-use plastics throughout the month of July, and find plastic free alternatives instead. So where do you start, especially with many small shops still closed?

Avoid Plastic Shopping Bags

No alt text provided for this imageWe’ve all done it; Gone to do our weekly shop, and found when we reach the supermarket we’ve forgotten to put the bags back into the boot. Then we’ve ended up getting more plastic ones when you get to the till.

The best option here is simply to remember to put them back into the car! But if you do forget – buy the fabric alternatives while at the shop. by spending a considerable amount more on a bag you are far more likely to remember to reuse.

The tote bag shown here is one I’ve made from unwanted exhibition fabric to raise money for charity. You can make your own by following this tutorial (https://youtu.be/GffbIDqlp5o) or you can buy them here: Tote Bags | Calluna Upcycling (calluna-upcycling.co.uk)

Say No To Plastic Wrapped Fruit & Veggies

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This could be a tricky one – supermarkets tend to plastic wrap their fruit and veg to prolong their shelf life, but they do usually have the loose ones available too. Also your local green grocer or farm shop is far more likely to have them unwrapped. This also gives you the option to hand select your produce.

When getting your veg, keep in mind you shouldn’t use the plastic bags to keep them together either! Use paper bags which are easily recyclable, or take your own drawstring bag (be sure to weigh the drawstring bag first so you don’t pay for the weight of this too!). Also remember to wash them well when you get home during this time.

If you want to make your own drawstring bag you can follow this tutorial (https://youtu.be/IHZ9Lvlbl7k) or buy them from recycled exhibition fabric here: Drawstring Bags | Calluna Upcycling (calluna-upcycling.co.uk)

Become Best Friends With Your Local Butcher

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Pre-packed meat usually has one of the worst bits of plastic there are. They are often sold on polystyrene trays; a type of plastic extremely difficult to recycle.

So visit your deli counter (if it is open) or pop to your local butchers or farm shop. Markets often have meat suppliers too. Most will be happy to use your containers that you bring with you – cake tins and sandwich boxes are fab for this as they are water tight!

Support Your Local Milkman

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I don’t know about you, but we get through a lot of milk! I have 2 young children and their favourite drink is milk. When you add in the cups of coffee, bowls of cereal, scrambled eggs and mashed potato, all said we get through roughly 3 pints a day. In fact, the vast majority of our plastic recycling is empty milk bottles. So this will make a huge difference for us.

My only hesitation on this one is the price difference. Knowing how much we get through, this is going to be far more expensive than just using our village shop. But at least it is supporting a local farmer, plus the cost to the environment by continuing to use plastic bottled milk is far more, so I am determined to try, and advise you to also!

Take Your Own Reusable Cups & Bottles When Going Out

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It’s very easy to be caught out when you are out and about. You suddenly find you are thirsty, but the majority of drinks come in plastic bottles. The trick is just to be more prepared. Never leave the house without a bottle of water, and keep one in your car (best using a thermos one here to keep it cool and fresh!)

What Next?

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There are so many other ways to reduce your plastic, from buying loose cereals, making your own shampoo and toothpaste, and more! If you want to make a major change then there is loads of information on the Plastic Free July website (https://www.plasticfreejuly.org/)

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