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My Plastic-Free July - Week 1

Plastic Free July Family Food Shop

I started Ethical Eve to document my journey of going plastic free and share my switches and products to inspire others to do the same. I've since switched all my household products to plastic free which I actually felt was easy to acheive with all the options available today. 


When Plastic Free July came around, I saw it as a perfect opportunity to take the plunge into the food shop! As some of you know I started out the week committing to be "completely plastic free". I then woke the next day in complete panic mode worrying how was I going to achieve that with a family of 5 literally overnight?! I also remembered why I started Ethical Eve, to document my journey and to inspire others by sharing advice on how they can do the same. I came up with the following points:

  • Committing to go completely plastic free overnight just isn't realistic and it's not something other parents would feel achievable either.
  • By doing it slowly and realistically I could share more information and make it achievable to others
  • Going completely plastic free is harder when you have a family to consider. 
  • Not everyone lives near a zero waste shop. And unfortunately, I don't. Which makes it even harder to do a plastic free shop. 
  • We would all love to be perfect. But until companies start doing better with their packaging, its unlikely any of us are going to be.

So I set the new intention to decrease as much as I could and learn along the way. Taking that pressure off yourself also makes it a lot easier to carry it forward and keep it up. 


I started the week with a shop at Morrisons and I was so thankful for their plastic free fruit and veg that I managed to get all my items apart from cucumber plastic free (my kids love cucumber so I didn't want to take away a healthy snack). Here's some other positive finds:



  • Fruit and vegetables all plastic free (thank you morrisons!) We do have some growing in the garden but I think we'll have to expand into more next year.
  • Ice-cream in a cardboard sleeve 
  • Vimto Ice Lollies in cardboard
  • Glass juice bottles
  • Recycled glass glasses for the kids to put their ice-cream in - Help to make it fun with sprinkles and sauce!
  • I didn't buy the usual crisps, chocolate, biscuits and more wrapped in plastic that I normally would have.



        I say the word "fail" lightly. We shouldn't really look at anything as a fail when trying to go plastic free. We are trying and we learn along the way. We can't always be perfect! (Especially when the companies aren't transparent about the packaging).
        • I purchased two boxes of bread sticks for snacks. Once home I discovered they were actually in plastic trays and a plastic bag.
        • Puff Pastry roll - This was the same, wrapped in a plastic bag.
        • I like plant milk, and this comes with a plastic lid. 
        • My husband came home with plastic items! Sauce bottles, plastic yoghurts, cheese and multipack crisps. (Frustration for me!)
        • My stepdad works in a dairy and I came home to 3 loaves of bread in plastic packaging!
        • The mother in Law brought us cakes in plastic and tried giving us bottled water in plastic (which I politely refused!)


        Plastic free food items



            I haven't been able to find yeast anywhere for a long time. So I was over the moon when I walked into the garage and found a loaf of bread from Roberts Bakery wrapped in 100% recyclable packaging that you can pop into your recycle bin! So much so I bought 2 loaves!

            I looked into the company a little more when I got home and I've outlined some information below. Obviously the best option is to bake your own bread, but when you're a busy mum this isn't always possible and convenience wins. (I have since ordered some yeast online but its handy to know where I can get a quick eco alternative if needed)


            ROBERTS BAKERY 

            Roberts Bakery have set the mission to become plastic free as soon as they can. They have taken the responsibility and acknowledged the fact that 10,700 tonnes of hard to recycle plastic ends up in landfill a year by UK bakeries alone - the equivalent to 60 blue whales. And they decided to act instead of pledge by creating 100% recyclable bread packaging.

            • The packaging is 85% recyclable paper with a narrow sheet of 15% thin poly prop to ensure freshness.
            • Once you've finished, pop it into your recycling bin and it can be reused as recycled paper or recovered in energy savings. 
            • Roberts Bakery was the first bread brand to be awarded with the widely recycled logo - by the on pack recycled label (OPRL) scheme.
            They have agreed that there is no excuse for bread packaging in landfill anymore. 
            Thank you Robert's Bakery for taking responsibility and acting now. Not only is the bread delicious, I can now purchase bread guilt free when needed!


            My kids love a treat of fresh orange and I happened to grab this instinctively with its eco look brown packaging and I was so happy to learn all the facts about the company Don Simon when I got home.

            Here's some information I discovered:

            Don Simon have a strong commitment to the environment and CO2 reduction. They now print directly onto the cardboard instead of the old method of bleaching with chemicals. 

            • The cardboard is 100% recyclable and its FSC certified which guarantees its from a forest with sustainable management.
            • 60% of the material used is of vegetable origin (They aim to raise this to 80% in the future)
            •  -53% less CO2 emissions is now emitted into the atmosphere during production.
            • Commit to a policy where for every tree used in manufacturing the cartons, they will plant a tree in its place.
            • Zero waste - They make it their mission to waste nothing from the oranges they grow. They transform all the left over orange peel into animal feed, essential oil and perfume.
            • In addition they use drip irrigation to ensure they only use the necessary amount of water in the growing of crops and they have their own reservoir and use any water used in cleaning the oranges to water the new crops.
            • In addition, they have also reserved 250 hectacres of farmland as a nature reserve and are dedicated to the protection of the Bustard (a protected species in Europe) 

            Its so nice to hear of brands taking responsibility, paving the way for change and making our lives a little easier!


            WEEK 1 OUTCOME 

            So, what have I learnt from this weeks plastic free commitment?

            Firstly, to just commit to what you feel is achievable. Progress takes time and that's ok.

            Second, make sure everyone is aware of your commitment to prevent them turning up with items that you're trying to eliminate!

            And last but not least, try to do the shopping yourself so you can plan and prepare and make sure that no plastic ends up sneaking back into your cupboard from your other half!

            All in all, I am happy with my week but just to note we was also using up plastic wrapped snacks and some meals etc so its going to be more challenging in week 2.

            I've set the intentions next week of baking my own bread and snacks, making our own ice lollies and I have just discovered another little eco food find. Details of the company to follow!

            Onto week 2!



            My Plastic-free July - Result

            My Plastic-free July - Result