Plastic Free July is a chance to try to start using less single-use plastic. Single-use plastic means things like straws or plastic bottles that are only used once and then thrown away. Single-use plastic is bad for the planet because it is only used once but it lasts forever! It can end up in the sea where animals might eat it. You might use a plastic bag once and then throw it away but it can end up in the ocean where it might look like a jellyfish and a poor turtle might eat it! It’s a bit better if you can keep reusing the plastic bag again and again but when it breaks it will still have to go in the bin so it’s best not to get it in the first place.
I’m going to tell you how I have been trying to use less plastic.
In the Kitchen
We made some beeswax wraps for wrapping food up instead of clingfilm which is made of plastic. They help because we can keep washing them and reusing them.
We use a bread maker to make all our own bread, pizza and garlic bread instead of buying bread which comes in plastic bags and pizza which comes wrapped in plastic. We also make our own yoghurt so we don’t have to buy yoghurt, which comes in plastic pots.
When we can, we try to buy things in bulk to save plastic and other packaging. We go to The Weigh Forward when we can because it’s a zero waste shop and they don’t use any plastic packaging. We get organic fruit and veg boxes from Riverford and that helps because most of the fruit and vegetables come loose in the box. The box is made of cardboard and at the end of the week we leave it out, then they will take it and keep using it again and again.
We’ve started using dish soap for washing up instead of washing up liquid. Washing up liquid comes in a plastic bottle but dish soap comes wrapped in brown paper. Instead of a sponge scourer which has plastic in it and can’t be reused very easily, we use a bamboo dish cloth which we got from The Weigh Forward and when it gets dirty we wash it. We also use a coconut scrubbing brush which will be able to go on the compost heap when it wears out. We use washable wipes to mop things up instead of kitchen towel, which usually comes wrapped in plastic.
For washing clothes, we’ve been trying laundry soap which comes in a paper bag instead of washing tablets which come in a big plastic box.
In the Bathroom
We’ve been using solid soap, shampoo and conditioner bars, which come wrapped in cardboard, instead of shower gel and liquid shampoo and conditioner which come in plastic bottles. We use washable flannels to wash with.
We’ve been making our own bath bombs to use in the bath instead of bubble bath, which comes in a plastic bottle.
In the Garden
We make out own compost to plant things in, instead of using shop-bought compost which comes in plastic bags.
When we do get food that’s wrapped in plastic we try to reuse the plastic in the garden as much as we can. We reuse plastic milk bottles as plant pots and to fill with nettle juice to feed our tomatoes.
We use old clear plastic bags instead of cling film to cover seeds with before they germinate, so that when the water evaporates it drops back down onto the seeds.
When we needed new raincoats we chose raincoats that were made from recycled plastic bottles!
When we wrap presents we use brown paper and string instead of sellotape, which is made from plastic. When we really need to use tape for something we try to use paper tape, which can be recycled. When I had a birthday party with my family I made my own party bags from recycled paper and I put in homemade fudge wrapped in a beeswax wrap, homemade bath bombs and some seeds wrapped in brown paper. I’ve already started collecting recycled materials to make my own Christmas crackers!
Even though it’s nearly the end of July, you can still help. It’s important to try to use less plastic all year round!