Plastic Free July…

Image from Plastic Bottle Village.

Did anyone else just get majorly stressed out by plastic free July?? I know it is such a great thing but I found myself having internal debates of guilt while out shopping, and going home with headaches!

I’ve always thought myself quite good at the old plastic thing and try and choose better alternatives for things when I can. However our recycling box just seems to get bigger and bigger – at least we’re recycling my other half says, but I know there are statistics being thrown around that suggest not much is actually recycled at all…

During July I made a real effort to try and minimise our plastic but it seems EVERYTHING comes in plastic!! Food is a huge issue. I try and order a veg box from Riverford when I remember, which is definitely less plastic than a supermarket shop. I’ve also tried to get to more farmer’s markets recently – but that means driving.. I found a brilliant little place in Crystal Palace called The Store Cupboard which is a place to go and buy store cupboard essentials without packaging; they buy in bulk and you take your own containers. There is also a place next to them to refill washing liquids and other things like that.

Hummus is a staple in our household – we’ve tried to make it several times but a certain little person will not eat homemade – any supermarket brand full fat or low fat, just not ours. Yes we have tried to put ours in a supermarket pot – she won’t have it!! She also loves yoghurt and berries, which come in plastic. I want her to eat hummus, yoghurt and berries so I’ve got to come to terms with the fact that we will have that plastic in our house. I just need to reduce it elsewhere…

I teach a couple of times a month up in Soho and would usually buy lunch and a juice – each time literally as I paid I would curse myself for more plastic. In July I took my own lunch – I always used to do this anyway so just getting back into good habits – and took my own container for the juice 🙂 I’ve also finally bought a Pukka bamboo cup for buying hot drinks out.

So some good and positive change for sure. I’ve definitely put things back on the shelf since starting plastic free July – they either had too much packaging or were made of plastic and we didn’t actually really need them or I knew I could get non-plastic versions elsewhere. We had lots of birthdays in July – I put cards back because they were individually wrapped in plastic and bought sheets of paper rather than rolls wrapped in plastic. We also have a lovely box of cards designed by my friend Ellie Good that have no plastic and are printed on recycled paper – every household should have one! We discovered biodegradable balloons too 🙂

So what about the beauty side of things? Lots of green beauty products come in plastics and I’ve heard brands being asked why that it is. Packaging is such a tricky thing and I’d say that all of those bona fida brands are genuinely choosing the best options available for their products at that time – perhaps a bigger blog post is needed here to investigate and explain – I’d certainly like to learn more. There are of course many brands doing everything in glass such as Neal’s Yard Remedies and Therapi Honey Skincare. However speaking as a make-up artist, if everything were in glass, my back would be in even worse shape!!

There are many other ways we can reduce our plastic in our beauty routines though. Cotton buds for example – always choose those with paper stems. Did you know that many wipes also contain plastics, so choosing those that biodegrade is such an easy way to lighten your plastic load. I’ve recently been trying a deodorant by Organic Essence which comes in paper packaging and it has been brilliant – I just did three days at a festival with a 6 hour drive there and I didn’t smell at all! Just started to on the way back 😉

Buying bigger is a good way to avoid excess packaging. Dr Bronner’s is a staple in our household so I bought a big bottle and have decanted it into old smaller bottles. We also have a good old bar of their soap in our bathroom instead of a pump. I use Natracare feminine care products which contain no plastic.

Plastic Free July has been a headache without a doubt. Yes it has made me more aware which is fantastic, but it has also made me frustrated; there are so many things that are out of our control. However I have made positive changes – there are lots of little things that we can control. It’s these that we need to concentrate on and be proud of and continue to do, because if we all do lots of little things they will add up and will make a difference.

More tips for sustainable beauty if you fancy a read..

Did you try Plastic Free July – how did you get on? Any top tips?

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