Plastic free July!

For the last couple of months I've been making an effort to reduce my plastic consumption, particularly single use plastics and head towards a zero waste lifestyle.

Ever since Blue Planet 2 burst on to our screens and shocked the world with how much plastic was floating around in the oceans, the #plasticfree movement has grown bigger and bigger. People are waking up to the massive issue of plastic waste and finding ways of reducing their consumption of these toxic products. Recycling is great but it is not enough for the scale of the problem that we face. A lot of everyday plastics such as food wrappings and coffee cups aren't even recyclable and so end up either in landfill or in our oceans where they continue to be plastics for hundreds of years to come. Every single piece of plastic that was ever made is still in existence!

Currently here in Leeds we can only recycle plastics 1,2 and 4. Yogurt pots and butter tubs are often plastic 5 so goodbye Alpro soy yogurt my once favoured friend! Make sure you check your local recycling chart as before I was putting these straight in my green bin!

It was only when I really started to pay attention to my consumer habits that I noticed how much stuff came in unnecessary plastic packaging and at first it seemed like a herculean task to eliminate plastic from my life. However I started small and changed the things which I knew I could do instantly:

  • Only buy loose fruit and veg from the supermarkets and other items in glass jars

  • Bulk buy nuts, seeds, pulses and grains from local market stall (The nut shop)

  • Always take a bag with me to the shops

  • Use a washable face cloth instead of face wipes

  • Only get a take-out coffee if I have my KeepCup with me

  • Always carry my reusable water bottle

  • Switch to package free soap, shampoo and conditioner. (Lush supply all of these)

  • Buy loose leaf tea and package free coffee beans

  • Composting food scraps

  • Who gives a crap? Plastic free loo roll subscription

  • Only buy clothes made from cotton or natural fibers

  • Use washable cloths instead of kitchen roll

These have now become habits and I don't think twice about doing any of them which is great! Also it magically makes you eat incredibly healthily as ALL junk and processed food comes in plastic wrapping. So ditch those jammie dodgers and get creative in the kitchen, there's loads of snack foods you can make without reaching for packaged items.

Recently I have added in a few more sustainable swaps which have also made a huge difference.

  • Plastic free toothpaste and floss from Georganics

  • Homemade vegan butter as most dairy free butters contain palm oil and don't come in recyclable tubs.

  • Homemade nut/seed milk

  • Began growing herbs and salad leaves

  • Local veg box subscription

  • Ecover re fill scheme for Laundry liquid

  • Invested in some Thinx period underwear. (Sorry ladies only)

Some of the ones on the second list do take a bit of pre planning and patience but it's definitely worth it :)

So if you're considering jumping on board the plastic free train then now is the time! Even if you just pick a couple of swaps, trying to change everything all at once is daunting and probably too overwhelming so start small and progress from there.

Check out the Plastic Free July website for some more handy tips :)

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