I have been asked by some people to provide them with some tips for going plastic free this July. Plastic Free July aims to raise awareness of the problems with single-use disposable plastic and challenges people to do something about it. People from 130 countries are involved in the initiative. You can pledge and find out more about it at: http://www.plasticfreejuly.org/
Many of the plastic free blogs are from outside of the UK, so hopefully I will be able to provide some tips for those in the UK doing the challenge. All my tips are based on swaps, as to achieve sustainable behaviour change, it is not about removing things, it is about replacing them with something that is better or just as good.
Washing powder: Swap capsules packages in plastic, for powder in a cardboard box. Washes just as well and cheaper!
Sweet treats: Many of us need a biscuit or something yummy to get past 11 am (I certainly do) and who has time to make their own? So swap those wrapped in plastic for any of the following, which come wrapped in paper and/or foil. Try Oreo thins (currently on special offer in Sainbury’s for 50p) and Mikado also on offer in Sainsbury’s for £1). A lot of the cholate bars also come in paper, such as Green and Blacks and Galaxy.
Breakfast: The large Shredded Wheat, Scots porridge and Wheatabix all come in paper packaging.
Lunch: If you are out and about, this can be difficult. I tend to eat at Pret as the toasted sandwiches come in paper bags.
Kids food: Baked beans, hoops, etc. all come in tins, and most of the frozen fish also comes in cardboard boxes (think fish fingers).
Condiments: Swap those in plastic, for those stored in glass jars. We buy Wilkin and Sons ketchup and brown source now. They are a bit more expensive, but do taste better.
Vegetables and fruit: Even if you don’t have a local farm shop like we do, you can get a lot of lose vegetables and fruit. Peppers, potatoes, apples, water melons, pineapples, etc. all come minus plastic packaging from supermarkets.
Toilet roll: Sadly we have never managed to buy toilet roll that is not wrapped in plastic. So myself and the kids use cheeky wipes: http://www.cheekywipes.com/baby-wipes-kit/all_in_wh.html?gclid=CLDg7Jzfz9QCFd2p7Qod-QIExA. They are like small facecloths and you have one box for dirty wipes and one for clean wipes. You simply add water. I love them, but I have to admit, we still have loo rolls in the guest toilet and I cannot convince my husband of their merits!
For the ladies: You can buy washable sanitary towels, and if you are using cheeky wipes, just wash them all together. I found these are the best ones: http://www.earthwisegirls.co.uk/earthwise-pads-long-give-p-713.html
Take-aways: Pizza is usually OK as in cardboard boxes and MacDonald’s – the burgers are mostly in paper boxes and the chips in a paper packet. MacDonald’s also do ice-cream in cones which both my boys love! Sadly you have to avoid places such as Wagamama’s as it comes in a mass of plastic containers.