Plastic-free July

Last Plastic-free July, my Report Card would have read somewhere between “flashes of brilliance” & a few ticks in the “room for improvement” column.

First of all, we want to REDUCE.

Continued habits which I’d love you all to take on board, when you consider the world population is estimated at 7.6 billion people…

  1. Switch to bamboo toothbrushes – an average household of 4 people would go through 20 never-degrading toothbrushes per year. YUK. I bought two dozen from Solander & Banks which were delivered to my front door. Now I don’t have to think about ordering more for a while
  2. Take your non-plastic reusable bags everywhere. There is really no excuse for plastic bags now.
  3. Take your reusable coffee cup everywhere. My work colleagues laugh at me & say they are going to refuse to get me a coffee in it but they always do 😉
  4. Going to the local Farmer’s Market – where the majority of fruit & veg is not packaged in plastic
  5. Using Who Gives a Crap for both toilet paper & paper towel. No plastic packaging. All either recycled or made from bamboo & sugarcane. Also delivered to your front door so unlike the lady I saw today with a trolley overflowing with a huge plastic wrapped package of toilet paper & nearly equally big plastic packaged pack of paper towel, you hardly have to lift a finger.
  6. Growing it yourself – I am no green thumb but am enjoying watercress, rocket, rosemary, thyme, oregano, kale & mint from my garden. Even these small volumes make an incredible difference when it comes to decreasing plastic as herbs & salad greens are almost always packaged in plastic. Imagine if one thousand or even one million people adopted this small habit (hashtag dream big)

Some new habits

  1. Making our own Popcorn – we bought the kernels at Naked Foods – they are about $5 per kilo, a hell of a lot cheaper than the individually packaged ones at the supermarket & the kids loved watching it pop.
  2. Making our own bread – it’s not a proper one, but is so simple & satisfying to make
  3. Plastic free meals – I’ve made a real effort to create some plastic-free meals which is harder than it sounds! If it has cheese, meat, seafood, dairy – it often has plastic. Even most sauces have a small piece of plastic to seal them. I make a weekly batch of pesto which goes on nearly everything I eat from salads to toast to eggs – Harris Farm Markets & Wholefoods House in Woollahra sell parsley with no plastic. I make a weekly batch of mayonnaise which my eldest LOVES & would eat with everything if I let him.

Areas where I’ve failed

  1. Berries by the punnet – I stack the empty punnets & recycle them but it is still plastic. Can anyone guide me towards fresh plastic-free berries in Eastern Suburbs of Sydney? Even if they come by the box, I’d be happy to split with friends.
  2. Milk – I don’t drink cow’s milk, nor does my daughter but my sons do. They like a particular organic brand which comes in plastic.
  3. Cheese – we all like cheese….
  4. Cereal – over winter my children tend to alternate between oats (bought by the scoop) & eggs. When they have cereal I rinse the packages, they go into my soft plastics & are taken to the supermarket.

Something you learn quickly is how entwined health is – the less plastic you use = the less processed foods you are eating = the more likely it is you are buying fruit & vegetables that are in season = the more likely your health is to benefit.

So who thinks it’s a bad idea to decrease their plastic usage? Tell me all your fabulous tips to decrease plastic usage & let’s make this earth a better place, rather than waiting round for someone else to fix it.

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2017 resolutions 

Be An Unf**ker is a brilliant account you should be following on both Facebook & Instagram. Their messages are short & succinct. Here’s my 5 resolutions for 2017:

1. Embrace minimalism to the best of my ability. With 3 children I feel we have more clutter than I would like- 2 scooters, 2 bikes, 2 boogie boards, rugby balls, books, school bags. For the baby a change mat, bouncer, car capsule – all hand me downs but still take up a lot of space

2. L.E.S.S Local | Ethical | Sustainable | Seasonal – buy products that haven’t been transported thousands of kms, that haven’t been made using child labour or sweatshops, sustainable products including MSA certified seafood, buying food that’s in season (no apples in summer!). Using Nappies that are produced using sustainable ingredients for example. As a side note, I don’t want anything to go to waste, so I haven’t thrown out my plastic containers & won’t do so until they break. If I choose to no longer support a product but have some of it left in the house, I will use it because throwing it out just contributes to the issue of our “disposable life”

3. Activism – rather than just boycotting brands, write to them or tell them what they could change. A simple one is telling the local sushi shop not to package in a soy sauce “fish” with each container – just ask people if they want soy. Ultimately they save money, & we decrease our environmental impact. Even better, tell them to ditch the fish & have an alternative.

4. Go even more plastic free. I already buy pantry staples in recycled glass jars & use recyclable bags for shopping. For me this will mean making more school snacks rather than buying packaged ones. 

5. Encourage friends & family to do the same! This point is also about authenticity & having the confidence to say “this is what I stand for & im not ashamed to say it” ie a total environment & food nerd who wants to be actively involved in educating our children & making the world a better place for them. 

What are your 5 things to unf*ck in 2017?