For Plastic Free July, we each pledged at Soap Folk to swap one piece of regularly bought single-use plastic. From bottles of smoothies to punnets of strawberries, we challenged ourselves to find a plastic-free alternative for the month. Each individual step, however small, can together make a big difference to the plastic problem. Here’s how we got on (hint: not as easy as we thought).
#1 Katy's swap: plastic-wrapped strawberries
Katy – “My rose-tinted intentions of going strawberry picking with the kids has not come about, due to lack of time. Like Becky, we have enjoyed the few strawberries we have ordered online and made them less of a daily summer pudding and chosen loose rhubarb and other fruits instead, when I haven’t been able to find it in plastic-free packaging. Strawberries have become more of an enjoyed luxury instead.
My Dad lives in a village where they grow and sell strawberries in old fashioned plastic-free punnets so I am definitely looking forward to visiting him next weekend also!
#2 Fiona's swap: plastic-free deodorant
“Confession time - as the temperature cranked up to 30 degrees, I caved in and reached for my tried and tested plastic encased deodorant. That particular occasion I needed the confidence that I could get through the whole day feeling fresh and comfortable. Apart from that little blip, I have been really pleased with my handmade alternative and have got used to reapplying it every couple of hours in the workshop.
I will definitely stick with it beyond plastic free July, but have my regular deodorant on stand by for emergencies and very hot days.”
#3 Becky's swap: plastic-free pasta
Becky – “Plastic-free pasta is going ok here - I would probably say that we are eating less pasta as a result, as there just isn't as much of it in the house! I did my big shop on Sunday last week, so the shop I would usually go to for loose pasta was shut; I guess it isn't quite as convenient as supermarket pasta. This is probably poor planning on my part and something I hope I would be able to overcome in the longer term. I like to think we will carry on with plastic-free pasta but may find on occasion that we have to subsidize with some in plastic wrap but hopefully that's a step in the right direction.
The kids are on their school holidays now so maybe they will treat us to some fresh pasta - it is more time consuming but tasty and plastic-free!
#4 Jess' swap: plastic-free smoothies
"I managed to make a pineapple, mango and banana smoothie for my girls. The struggle is in finding fruit that isn’t wrapped in plastic. Most of the plastic free fruit has been shipped from the tropics so the carbon footprint is hideous. I’ve just taken delivery of a load of strawberries from my parent’s garden, so the problem is solved…but for how long?!"
#5 Danny's swap: plastic-free laundry and dishwasher tablets
I've switched over to plastic-free washing tablets. I've wanted to go greener for a while and this months pledge has given me the incentive to finally do so. The tablets are wonderful, I've used them a few times now and everything came out just as clean as normal and smelling super fresh.
Beyond Plastic-Free July?
We enjoyed the challenge and agreed that to make long-term changes, we have to change our mindset to not ‘simply accept’ products would be available in the format we wanted, when we wanted them and maybe choose a different product instead.
We had a couple of blips along the way but we are all determined to keep making gradual changes and this exercise challenged us to think about what we are buying and consuming and to shop around for the right solutions.