It’s the end of week one of Plastic Free July and time for my first plastic audit of the month. I’ve been saving all our plastic waste to show you. Here it is:
The pile on the left is the plastic I can’t recycle and the pile on the right in the plastic I can recycle. Last Plastic Free July, I discovered that I could recycle ‘soft’ plastics (the kind that they use for a bag of potatoes) in with the carrier bags, so now I save up those pesky cucumber wrappers and bags from potatoes to put in the carrier bag recycling at the supermarket. Most of the pile on the right is made up of this kind of plastic. There is also a plastic juice cup that my youngest bought on sports day at school. We did manage to cut down on the usual waste we create on sports day by buying our traditional post-sports day slush treat in our own glass jars this year.
Now, let’s take a look at the pile on the left. This pile is, unfortunately, destined for landfill. The main culprits are:
- The packaging from a delicious packet of biscuits that someone kindly bought my husband because he was leaving work to move back home. Not complaining about this one, because it was a lovely gesture and he also gave my husband a bottle of Slovakian vodka and we’ll reuse the bottle.
- Drink can holders. These will be cut before being disposed of so that, if they do end up floating about somewhere, they won’t get entangled round some poor creature’s neck.
- Noodle packets. Once every couple of weeks, we need a very quick tea and noodles do the job, ready in ten minutes. I’ve searched high and low (even the big supermarket in Chinatown, Newcastle) and can’t find these quick noodles that the children like in better packaging.
- My son’s medication packaging.
- The hard, plastic, blister packaging from a battery charger that I bought to cut down on our use of disposable batteries. I have a sneaking suspicion I might be able to recycle this and I’ll check with the council before it goes in our landfill bin.
- The lid from a jar of chocolate spread.
So, there you have it. There’s our plastic waste from week one. There has also been other waste from our household this week, but it amounted to about a quarter of our kitchen bin, which is a traditional waste paper basket size. That just goes to show that the most problematic waste for us is the unavoidable plastic waste.
A few ways that I avoided waste this week:
- I baked my own bread.
- I baked scones when I had some friends over and also used them for packed lunches.
- I bought fruit and vegetables plastic-free where possible.
- We get a milk delivery from Dairy+.
- I needed to buy a few items of clothing for my daughter to take on a school residential trip and left the hangers at the checkout.
- We bought slush in our own glass jars with lids and straws.
- I bought meat in our own containers.
- I bought sweets for a trip to the theatre tomorrow from a traditional sweet shop in a paper bag.
How is your Plastic Free July going? Are you finding it easy or challenging to stick to your pledge? What have your high points been so far? Let me know in the comments.