I Tried Plastic Free July

I don’t know when Plastic Free July became a thing – until this year, I’d certainly never heard of it before.

But I thought it was something I could have a go at. Usually I don’t jump on bandwagons…I like to watch them roll by! The thing is, I thought this was doable for one main reason…work!

I could pack my own lunchbox for work!!

So, what did I do?

I bought myself a glass water bottle from Wilkos for a measly £2.50 and it has worked perfectly as my workplace has a staff canteen where I can refill it with either water or squash.

I also bought myself a glass pyrex lunchbox and some metal reusable cutlery.

There is only one problem with all of the above and that is the very obvious ‘But Sarah, they’re made of glass!‘. Yes, yes they are! I proved I had the reflexes of a cat ninja the other day when my glass water bottle fell out of my locker.

Overall though, the plastic free lunches worked quite well. I still had the odd bottle of Coca Cola or Fanta…it’s a heatwave kind of summer you know? So, there were a few plastic items that slipped in.

The thing I did really well was that I started recycling MORE of my plastic last month. I didn’t realise my local supermarket took in soft plastics to recycle, so on the way to work lately I’ve been dropping off a plastic bag full of soft plastics to recycle. Soft plastics such as bread wrapping, food packaging, food bags etc.

I’ve used my local greengrocers more and opted for paper bags over plastic ones.

And as always I’ve brought my own shopping bags with me (such as the one below I designed myself for my Zazzle store).

tote bag woolly orbit zazzle

So, my ‘plastic free’ July was mostly focussed on food and shopping. I didn’t go completely free as it just wasn’t possible for me then. I got sick in July and something else cropped up and I had to just focus on a couple of things.

But I still class it as a success though as I got into the habit of thinking about plastic and I actually made a start!

What’s next?

I guess there’s always health and beauty products, but honestly, I’m not ready to completely change my period products just yet!

I do have some ideas for other things though; a selection of either sewn or knitted facecloths or pads, buying shampoo bars instead of bottles, hard soaps instead of in bottles etc.

And there’s always cleaning products for the home. I’m experimenting in finding the right dishcloth pattern with cotton yarn. I find cotton quite hard to knit with, so I’m still looking for the ‘perfect’ pattern.

Such as the ones below from a couple of months ago.

I did buy more cotton yarn in different colours, so I might have a go and see what I can make.

I quite like the colours and the texture of the yarn of James C. Brett’s It’s 100% Pure Cotton DK range. Another cotton yarn by James C. Brett which I’ve used in the past is Craft Cotton which is good for cotton dishcloths. You can get it from The Knitting Network here. It’s also quite cheap for a 100g ball in my opinion!

I quite like The Knitting Network as they don’t use any plastic in their packaging. I’ve ordered from them before and can recommend them!

I’m glad I tried Plastic Free July, even if I still bought and used some forms of plastic. It just goes to show how widespread it is in our lives. It’s also given me a bit of a push to look at how much plastic I’m using in other areas of my life, such as crafting and hobbies.

But more to come on that in another post!

For now, I’m going to continue using my glass bottle and just pray I don’t drop it!


This post contains affiliate links. That means if you click on the link and make a purchase, I could earn a small commission at no extra cost to yourself.


Advertisement

Recycling in the UK

Every other week we have a curb-side collection for recyclables. Our local council recycles glass bottles and jars, hard plastics like bottles, metal tins and cans, cardboard and paper.

There’s a local recycling centre nearby where you can drop off bigger things like electrical appliances, old bikes, household stuff, that sort of thing. And in some of the supermarkets you can recycle things like batteries.

But there seems to be a heck of a lot that DOESN’T get recycled which could be.

Have you heard of TerraCycle? I’ve heard of them before, they run schemes across the country to get you to recycle ‘other’ things that wouldn’t normally get recycled such as bread bag recycling, kids food pouches, sweets and crisp packets etc.

The trouble is that you drop them off at your local collection point and there aren’t any that are really close to me. I just feel it defeats the object if I have to travel by car for an hour to drop off a few bags of crisp packets!!

And unfortunately we don’t have the space to become a collection point ourselves 😦

But, I am determined to save up some things and maybe, on the off-chance that I ACTUALLY get to travel anywhere after the year we’ve all had, then maybe I could make an extra stop.

One thing I want to start saving is medicine blister packs…you know, the plastic packs that your tablets come in. I wouldn’t have thought they could be recycled but apparently they can.

Did you know you can recycle Marigold washing up gloves too? I’ve just seen a local collection for toothpaste tubes. Exciting times!

Photo by mali maeder on Pexels.com

One really good idea I’ve seen is the recycling boxes by TerraCycle UK. Basically you buy a box, fill it up with a specific kind of recyclables, then use the pre-paid label to post it back. This would be great for food places like restaurants and cafes to recycle crisp packets, sweet packets all the usual items. There’s even a box which accepts Christmas ornaments including broken ones, bottle caps, garden waste, arts and crafts, a box for VHS tapes and cassettes…

These would be ideal for schools, restaurants, hotels, some zero waste shops and even other shops as well, maybe libraries…all sorts. Including in your home – they are not cheap though, the smaller boxes start at £120, depending on exactly what you want to recycle, but if you agreed to collect your street’s coffee pods for example, then if every chipped in £5 or £10, it would soon reduce the costs.

I really like this idea, especially the one to recycle disposable face masks – you see them everywhere on the ground now.

Have a look for yourself and see what you think:

https://zerowasteboxes.terracycle.co.uk

I’d love to look into this more and find out some of the stats for a scheme like this.

You can see a general list of TerraCycle’s UK recycling programmes here:

https://www.terracycle.com/en-GB/brigades

And don’t forget Earth Hour is coming up soon too…

https://www.earthhour.org/new-in-2021