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How To Do Plastic Free July

Plastic Free July

Started by the Marine Conservation Society this is how to do Plastic Free July. There is an Instagram version of plastic free living and it is hard to achieve; especially if like me, you have a fairly large family. The recent BBC1 show War on Plastic with Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall showed that we do need to try and reduce our dependence on single use plastics. Let me tell you the easy ways I have found to drastically reduce my plastic waste I am throwing away.

  • Reusable dish cloths
  • Reusable wipes
  • Tupperware storage boxes for shopping
  • Reusable cup
  • Bars of soap and shampoo
  • Easy shopping swaps

Plastic Free July Plastic Litter in Tree

Reusable Dish Cloths

Not the plastic scrubbers I have bought in the past. A good old cotton dishcloth that can be thrown in the wash afterwards. It doesn’t have to be a massive investment – a trip to your local pound shop will kit you out.

Reusable Wipes 

I cut up a worn out towel! But in fact you can use anything. Have an old t-shirt? Don’t throw it away cut it up into wipes. I have sewn myself some prettier wipes out of my fabric stash with a lovely towelling backing. I have some for sale in my Etsy shop.

Tupperware

Buying meat? Get it put in your own container. So many people do this in my local butcher it’s become his norm. Even supermarkets are getting on board with their customers using their own containers. Why not do this at the deli counter too?

Reusable Cup

I love mine. It’s taken months but I finally remember to take it out more often than I forget it. Some are better than others and for bottles it is often worth investing a bit more. My favourite thermal cup cost me £15 but it keeps my tea warm for a full day.

Soap and Shampoo Bars

Soap is an easy no brainier swap. Shampoo bars have been a bit trickier. It takes some getting used to a shampoo bar because they don’t clean your hair in 5e same way as conventional shampoo. Some of them left me looking a bit dull and greasy. I’ve recently starting getting re-fill shampoo from my local zero waste store instead.

Disposable Plastic Cup

Easy Shopping Swaps

One example – pasta in cardboard boxes and not plastic bags. Ketchup in glass bottles, salad dressing in glass bottles. I’m lucky that in Cardiff there is a brilliant zero waste shop for me to buy pasta, rice and other cupboard essentials. That shop has saved me a lot of plastic waste!

Fruit and vegetables loose and not wrapped in plastic. This is hard! I’m stubborn and our diet is compromised because most fruit and veg come wrapped in plastic. You used to get mushrooms loose. I can’t remember the last time I saw a loose mushroom in my local supermarkets!

So, there are some ideas for an easy way to do Plastic Free July. A lot of those swaps are easy to carry on doing forever. I have reduced the amount of waste I put out on bin. On average I have two black bin bags per fortnight. Remember there are five of us – including a toddler who wears disposable nappies overnight. Two recycling bags go out as well every week. I always have a full food bin! Not full of wasted food but peelings.

Good luck and enjoy #plasticfreejuly

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Can You Find Party Supplies Without Plastic?

Party Supplies Without Plastic

Can you find party supplies without plastic? It is an increasingly common question. Well if you are here you know you can. I don’t believe you need plastic to party.

Eco Friendly Party Supplies to Go Green

How To Party Without Plastic

  • Think about using natural fibres only
  • Plan ahead for a zero waste strategy
  • Minimise how much single use supplies you use
  • Reusable is the key to long term and affordable plastic free parties

Natural Fibres Only

Natural fibres means anything that can be grown. If it is natural it can generally be composted, and composting is a brilliant zero waste Why of disposing of party waste. Paper and cardboard, bamboo, wood, sugarcane fibres, palm leaf supplies and reusable coconut bowls.

Zero Waste Strategy

Zero Waste sounds difficult but all it means is you don’t use anything that can’t be composted or recycled. Only 9% of all the plastic ever manufactured has been recycled; and it can only be recycled a few times. Concentrate on easily recycled materials like glass, aluminium and paper.

Minimise Single Use

Yes I sell single use supplies so it might sound strange to advocate considering reusable. But if you have a lot of parties in the long run reusable will save you money. This also includes food packaging. What food can you serve that doesn’t come wrapped in plastic film? Food packaging is hard to avoid! But every little bit you can avoid is worth the effort.

Reusable Party Supplies

I sell a lot of bunting and party decorations that are perfect for keeping and re-using year after year. Made from paper, cardboard and twine most of them are suitable for composting once they’re damaged. If you have space to buy reusable party plates made from bamboo in some beautiful colours you will have a gorgeous party year on year. An easy and space saving way to start are reusable table cloths and napkins.

Click here for compostable party supplies without plastic and some funky square sugarcane plates.

Creating Eco Friendly Parties

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The Plastic Bottle Return Scheme

Scotland are leading the way. Wales led the way with a 5p charge for plastic carrier bags. Scotland have already decided that a 20p fee will be paid on the return of a single use plastic drinks bottles. The deposit return scheme even includes cans and glass bottles. It is only PET plastic bottles at the moment – think your fizzy drinks and water – not your milk containers. So exactly how is this going to work?

Plastic Bottle Return Scheme

These things take time and the scheme isn’t going to be in action until 2021; but the effect could be huge. Imagine the numbers of drinks bottles not being recycled and just put straight into black waste that might be captured and recycled. It’s great to remember that it isn’t just plastic pollution that’s a problem. Take a look around you and you will find glass containers and cans dumped everywhere as well. Even the lazy arsed litterer may think twice if they are throwing £1 into the nearest bush rather than taking them home.

I’ve read that some small retailers are concerned about storage issues with the scheme prior to collection of the returned drinks containers. My view is if you can sell it; you can take it back to recycle it. We are so focused now on money over environment. Plastic pollution will only be conquered if our buying habits change – and that doesn’t just involve the supermarket chains but the corner shops and small businesses in our local communities. Maybe littering will only be reduced if we bribe people not to do it? Let’s face it many people already think it’s ok to do it.

But what about online drinks retailers? Heh they aren’t exempt (at the moment only pubs are). Although I can’t imagine how easy or successful returning your empty drinks bottles to Amazon or your online supermarket would be.

Bottle Return and Carrier Bag Re-use

I hope the rest of the UK follows Scotland’s lead and implements this scheme asap. I remember as a child the glass pop bottle return scheme. Going round the streets with my cousin to find extra bottles so we could spend the money on sweets.

It might be more expensive in the short term, the logistics might add to your workload and take up space. But what if within 5 years we can reduce littering significantly and take our recycling rate up to over 90%? Won’t that be worth it? It will show the manufacturers that the UK means business on environmental protection. 

Need more evidence? Consider the carrier bag scheme. On 1st October 2011 Wales started charging 5p for one carrier bag. It wasn’t very popular at the time. I remember many people moaning about why should they pay to carry their shopping. From it’s introduction to 2014 the use of single use carrier bags and dropped by 71% and between £17 and £22 million was raised for charity. 

I still don’t always remember my shopping bags and it’s 2019! But in a couple of years we’ll stop moaning about the fact we store bottles and cans to take back for a couple of quid and do it routinely. And come on kids; this is your chance to earn some extra cash surely!