At the start of July I wrote out some goals for my first ever Plastic Free July. How did I go? Let’s check in and see how well I met my aims for the month.
What I Aimed To Do
1. Refusing any single-use plastic
Here’s something that I learnt very early this month: you can refuse as much plastic as you like, but it will be forced on you all the same. For every time I confidently uttered, ‘I don’t need a receipt, thanks’, there was a self-serve checkout that didn’t even give me the option to refuse. There were cashiers that ignored me. There were packages I didn’t order that used plastic tape. Plastic is so insidious, some definitely made it’s way in to my life despite me refusing as much as I could.
2. Transitioning all my food containers from plastic to glass
I’ve done pretty well on this, thanks to purchasing one new set of glass storage containers. I still do use some plastic containers to store frozen goods, and I’ve been reusing the same plastic bread bag in the freezer for weeks now.
3. Passing on any unused products
This has so not been a priority for me this month. I’ve been quite hectic and this has particularly goal has fallen by the wayside. I’m always trying to minimise though, so this is an ongoing process.
4. Continuing to keep an open mind and continuing to research plastic free and zero waste lifestyles
I’m still obsessed with reading all my zero waste blogs and everything I discover has been more and more inspiring! One frontier I hadn’t really hit on until this month was the wonderful world of zero-waste Instagrammers. Check out the hashtags #zerowaste and #plasticfree for inspiration.
What I Aimed Not To Do
1. Replacing all my existing products
I bought a new set of glass containers for lunches, but other than that have been using up what I already own. I unearthed an old bottle of shampoo that I’m currently using before I undertake all those exciting looking apple cider vinegar and bicarb challenges, I’m using up existing beauty products, and I’m pleased with how I’ve curbed a lot of zero waste envy purchases.
2. Blowing the budget
While my budget was a bit over last month, it was more a combination of factors than the fact I was reducing my plastic waste. I continued to buy things like flour and chickpeas at supermarkets rather than bulk stores to keep my grocery prices down.
3. Feeling guilty or beating myself up
I think easing myself into things has made this month far more enjoyable than stressful. This challenge was actually a lot easier than I expected, and instead of being a one-off month, I’ve used it to adapt my lifestyle to continue these changes permanently. I’m so pleased with how easy zero waste can be, and I continue to improve every day.
One night I came home to find my housemates had saved their food scraps from cooking dinner for me to put in my compost! They’re not focused on the zero waste life but it’s so nice to see them making an effort for me.
I went on a work trip to Albury and like a complete nerd googled bulk stores in the area that I could check out on my morning off. I was not disappointed, and grabbed some awesome snacks for the drive home for only $1 (and no plastic!) from Border Just Foods.
My favourite shop of the month was my last shop of the month. After attempting to visit other markets or shop bulk in the supermarket, I finally made it to a local market that let me load up a box of produce for $15, then grabbed a few staples from surrounding stores waste-free, making this my first ever completely plastic free shop. No apple stickers! No price tags! Weird-shaped onions! The shops are in walking distance, so I carried it all home on my back, which was exhausting, but so enjoyable. I’m so lucky to have access to markets like this, and I’m counting my blessings. The whole process was so enjoyable I think I’ll have to do it weekly!
How was your Plastic Free July? Let me know any highlights (or total fails)!