The end of Plastic free July and I've taken the time to reflect on how well I've done. I'll be honest, I haven't been as perfect as I'd like to be. I've found feeding a family on plastic free items a task at times and felt so frustrated going around the plastic supermarkets, but its so easily to beat ourselves up on this journey and virtually impossible to be 100% perfect as the shelves are crammed with plastic.
One thing I have come to realise is that imperfect "trying" is still good. If you are trying, it means you are aware of the problem. It means you are looking for solutions and it means you WILL find swops and products along the way that you won't go back too. And that is progress.
So if you are like me, feeling guilty for something or other but have made progress in other areas, then please be kind to yourself and be proud. One item over the year equates to a lot of plastic reduction. So hold your head up high and keep on going!
As I said, you will find swops along the way that will become an easy alternative. Here are some that I have switched to this month:
Bread - I have got into the habit of baking my own which is quicker and easier than I thought. Or in those rushed times, I buy Roberts Bakery bread in recycable packaging (See my previous plastic free July blog) I also make our own pizzas and garlic breads.
Juice - Switched to glass bottles. Yes its more expensive but it's also so much nicer!
Jams, peanut butter, spreads, sauces etc - In glass jars which I am saving so that I can learn to make my own. My next step!
Toilet Roll - Who gives a crap - These donate 50% of their profits to help build toilets around the world. Which in turn saves lives (through sanitation and hygiene) boost economies and strengthens communities.
I was baffled by their individually wrapped packaging but have found out its a marketing ploy. Because of the trendy design, people post pictures of it, and more marketing equals more sales which results in more toilets for those without. I would have rather purchased ones wrapped together with less waste and it wouldn't of affected my decision to buy (infact I nearly never bought it due to the excess waste) but considering they have just donated their largest amount of $5.85million to SHOFCO which is an amazing organisation committed to helping Kenya's urban slums, who gives a crap are doing positive things for these communities and making change so I am happy to continue with this. I also find the rolls last longer than your average toilet paper.
Bin bags and compost bags - From If you care and compostable.
Fruit and Veg - Morrisons (Thank you Morrisons!) I manage to buy all my fruit and veg plastic free from here apart from cucumbers (I'll add these to the veg garden next year!)
I did try a food shop in Sainsburys and I walked out with apples, bananas and pears. It was a plastic overload around this section which is such a shame. I had to go back to Morrisons to finish my shop so I will stick to Morrisons in future.
Kids snacks - Less chocolate and more fruit snacks. We also do a lot more baking and my next goal is crisps from the left over veg peelings. (I don't know why I didn't think of this before!)
Rice, Pasta, Nuts etc. I'm not fortunate enough to live close to a zero waste shop. So for items like this I now buy in bulk from the local cash and carry, so it's one big bag rather than lots of little ones.
Quorn - This is where I have struggled. My daughter and I are vegetarians and we eat a lot of Quorn when time is short. I have had no other choice but to buy in plastic. Although I don't buy as much as I used to and I'm looking at perfecting cooking with Tofu next.
This is what needs to change. We really need to start holding the companies accountable for their plastic packaging. And until they take responsibility for the damage their products are making to the environment, our plastic free journey is going to be difficult. The silly thing is that I feel they would actually increase their sales if they switched to plastic free as its such a growing movement and those of is that are on it, would all select that option in the supermarket given a choice.
So the next time you find rubbish from a certain company, lets highlight it. Lets start putting the pressure on for them to make change. And the same goes for the positives too, if you notice a company doing their part for the planet, shout about it. Praise them and share the hell out of it!
These businesses have such a power to change the world. And they are changing our world by destroying it to line their pockets. The minute the Plastic goes into production is where the damage starts. They want us to use single use plastic and they are constantly building new refinery's all over the world to up plastic production and make them rich with no care whatsoever what they are doing to our planet and all living beings.
We use it once and it lasts forever. There is no waste system in the world that can manage the finished product and the communities that are dealing with this waste on their land is shocking. It is in our seas, in our food and in our water. Beach cleans are great, but not enough. We need to stop the problem at the beginning and stop producing single use plastic and the only way this will happen is if we put the pressure on to those responsible.
So reflecting on my progress, I am happy with the changes I have made and I know I will continue to make more. This journey takes time and that's ok. Doing it overnight is unrealistic. We have to allow ourselves that time and then it will be more sustainable to carry forward.