Plastic Free July swaps
So that's it. Plastic Free July ends for another year....but the changes I have made won't be coming to an end. This month has really made me think and made me take steps to making some permanent changes.
Here's a list of all the changes we have made as a family and where we failed too. These changes may seem minuscule to some and just about achievable to others. It's a journey for all of us. This is what I have managed to do in those last couple of weeks of school and the first couple of weeks of the holidays. Not always the ideal time for making changes but when is?!
I must admit that I planned to make some cleaning products myself after watching Hugh's war on Waste but this just hasn't happened. What I have done is purchase some of these pods of concentrated cleaning liquids that go straight into your old cleaning bottles. You top up with water and so far it's as good as my old cleaning solutions.
I've been getting refills of my washing detergent from my local natural food store and we've given up using Softener. Our Hand wash is also being refilled at the local Loose Food store.
I am loving my wipes from Cheeky Wipes and Bonnie Pop Makes. We have been using them for hands and faces, wiping surfaces and general spills around the house. I always have a couple of dry ones in a snack bag ready to wet and use.
This hasn't taken off as well as I hoped. We all get hay fever so our tissue usage can be pretty high during the summer months. I bought some cotton handkerchiefs but after the initial novelty the kids kept leaving them lying around the house and no one knew who's was who's. We have decided to use them in bed only as we also have close friends who are immunocompromised and we can't risk to pass on our germs from a snotty handkerchief.
I am testing out some of the period pants from Cheeky Wipes. I did wear them running one day and they did the job of a Tena Lady pretty well but I'm waiting to test them out properly.
As far as toilet rolls go, we haven't made any changes as yet.
I have been buying lots of my store cupboard staples from the local Food Loose store in Cheltenham:
Salt, Pepper, baking Powder, cocoa powder, corn kernels, oats, pasta, rice, cous cous, raisins, nuts, seeds, lentils etc are all being purchased in my own jars and reusable bags.
We have switched to a milk delivery service in glass bottles which I am loving from our local Cotteswold Dairy.
I discovered that my local farmshop Primrose Vale has a new freezer section with various foods without packaging. There are plastic bags provided for taking the foods away but I will go again with my own tubs and reusable bags. Their mini potato Gratins were yummy!
I have stopped buying one of our regular items because it comes in black plastic. We don't buy much in the form of ready made meals anyway but it's still really hard to get anywhere close to #zerowaste. This is definitely work in progress for us.
Skin and Hair
We are now using soaps in the bathroom although the children are still using Childs Farm products as they have sensitive skin. As they get older we will encourage them to use soaps as well.
We all use Bamboo toothbrushes but we haven't yet swapped out toothpaste or deodorants so we definitely have more work to do here.
I am currently alternating between an old bottle of shampoo, some re-filled shampoo and a shampoo soap bar.
Takeaways & eating out
My children are 6 and 8 now and they still love the odd happy meal. We usually only get one if we happen to be travelling over tea time. They have both recently volunteered to refuse the toy, unless it's a book or something else that isn't plastic.
They have chosen to refuse straws for a good while now as we take out our reusable silicon straws. It's great to see that hardly anywhere has plastic straws now anyway.
On a Friday night my husband and I generally have a Chinese takeaway. We have recently swapped to a more eco-concious restaurant that use a lot less plastic packaging and even give you your order in old boxes.
With the help of my reusable snack bags and food pouches we do pretty good at saving a lot of waste when it comes to snacks but 1 change I have made this month is making my own pop corn. The kids love it and have begged to take some camping next week so they can pop it on the camp fire.
Take your own bags, Cups & containers
We have all been taking our own bags to shops for quite some time. I have only accepted a bag when I've absolutely needed to even if it means carrying a big pile of shopping rather awkwardly home. It's also been over 6 months since I accepted or purchased a hot drink in a disposable cup. My local shops know that I will buy the odd bread roll or croissant and take it to the till in one of our reusable sandwich bags.
I would love to hear how you have done and what changes you have made during Plastic Free July. If you didn't take part how about seeing how little single use plastic you can use in this last day of July. Just being mindful of it helps you think about how you can reduce your own consumption.
Thank you for reading!
PS. I have extended the plastic Free July offer of 15% off until midnight on the 2nd August to help those of you that were waiting for pay day! Usecode REUSE15 at checkout here