That's a wrap: Plastic Free July

02 August 2018
The perfectionist in me wants to label my Plastic Free July attempt this year a bit of a failure. BUT of course, nothing is truly a failure just a learning experience (yes, keep repeating it Laura until you believe it!!). There were some wins too but mostly a LOT of learning experiences.

I set myself a few goals this year (outlined here) and In the interests of keeping things real I thought I'd report on my progress, a few 'learnings' and some goals for the future.

Gratuitous holiday pic but also the reason this is so important - protecting our natural environment.


Overall I did OK with my goals.

1. Build awareness of ongoing plastic sources

So much awareness built! Still so many single use plastics come into our home. Despite the huge amount of things I make from scratch there are so many things that come in plastic. I can only imagine the amount of plastic that must be amassed in households where there is absolutely no awareness or attempts to reduce. More on this in my future goals.

My plastic bag of 'shame' - and this doesn't include our holiday.

2. Start making pasta from scratch again

Despite cracking a packet of pasta on the very first day of July (d'oh) I'm claiming this one as a victory. I managed to make up a heap of pasta (pasta day) and dry early in the month and am happy to say we still have some on hand. Although that's probably due to being away for the last half of the month. I think I'll have to bump up my amounts on pasta days of the future but I'm hoping I can maintain the regular make day and momentum.

3. Refuse plastic straws

This one was mostly hit with a few misses. I managed to remember to refuse straws most of the time and I was happy to see a few more paper options available on our travels. I purchased a set of bamboo straws for our trip that we used several times as my kiddos enjoy having a straw when they get a drink out and about (novelty factor I suppose!). There were a few times though that I forgot so still room for improvement for sure.

Reusable bamboo straws for the win!


My collected soft plastics bag is pretty full and definitely a reality check. I've been working on reducing it but there is still work to be done.

So, goals going forward:

1. Keep up pasta day
2. Continue to refuse plastic straws and keep my bamboo ones in my bag
3. Work on reducing single use soft plastics. I think I'll work on this one in a few stages. The products I'm going to work on in the immediate future are:

  • Make re-usable produce bags (this has been on the agenda but it's time to stop procrastinating and make it happen - declaring things on the internet do help me with this!).
  • Switch to paper wrapped toilet paper
  • Investigate alternatives for rolled oats - I'm thinking either find a reasonably priced bulk option or switch to boxed oats.

A few things I 'learned':

  • Single use plastic is so embedded in daily life.
  • I need a house cow - this would remove cheese wrappers, butter wrappers (plastic lined) and milk cartons in one move.
  • Reducing plastic while travelling takes a bit more planning and work. I packed a heap of homemade things for our trip but when I hit the shops to gather supplies I was limited in my options at times. 
  • As aware as I feel I am I still have a lot of work to do in this area.


Did you take part in PFJ? If so, how'd you go?
Are you working on reducing any disposables or plastic at the moment?

10 comments

  1. Wow! You did a great job in anyone's book. For loo rolls, have a look at the online business Who Gives A Crap where you can bulk buy. You just need to find a place to store the massive box that arrives!

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    1. Thanks for the pep talk. I'm a recovering perfectionist trying to be kind to myself!!
      Yes, I've looked into who gives a crap before but haven't bitten the bullet. I love the environmental and social ethos of their company. Just need to do it...and fine somewhere to store it all :)

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  2. I think you did very well. I'm also trying to reduce plastic, especially single use ones. It's not easy though.
    So, when are you going to have a cow? 😀

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    1. It's a long way off yet on the cow front Nil. I'm living in suburbia currently so they don't look kindly upon livestock in the backyard!! I'll keep dreaming...

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  3. I didn't officially do Plastic Free July but I'm very aware I need to make yoghurt again. We buy big tubs of plain yoghurt to portion out rather than individual pots but our milk is delivered in glass bottles so making it is a much better option, I've just got out of the habit.
    I've also bought lots of salad this year. The vegetable garden hasn't liked the peculiar weather we've had in the UK but I need to get some sown now for the autumn and then try again next year. I keep telling myself it's a learning curve too, but actually I'm really cross it hasn't gone right!

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    1. I find my yoghurt making goes in waves. Currently we are out of the habit too. I think it'll pick up a little as the weather warms. I love that you can get your milk in glass bottles still.
      Yes, we can be a little hard on ourselves. Good luck with the autumn planting.

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  4. Laura I didn't officially do Plastic Free July either, instead I try to work at reducing and recycling every day. Our farm-gate customers are even getting into the act and returning jars, egg cartons and even the swing labels to be re-used!! Yeah, it's a pity there's no-one close to you with a cow who will trade you some raw milk.... I actually have to scrounge yogurt and icecream containers from friends to use for trading my diary products, the dog's meat, soap molds, storing stuff etc. 'The War on Waste' ABC TV has been a great boon in educating those who watch it, but I think it should be shown in all schools. Why doesn't everyone carry their own Bamboo or stainless straw with them? and buying water in bottles has always really griped me..!

    ReplyDelete
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    1. It's great to hear about the farm-gate customers getting into the act of reusing. Hopefully it's a sign that it's catching on??
      Yes, the war on waste has definitely done some great work on raising awareness and hopefully that translates into change. I was really heartened to see several cafes on our trip with paper straws.
      Oh, I would be a very happy lady if I found somebody close by that would be willing to trade me some milk...one day.

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  5. I think you've had a really good crack at it, Laura. I think soft plastic packaging is a real issue so being aware of what you buy wrapped like that is a great first step to reducing it. I reduced this source of plastic at our place by buying from bulk bins and not buying fruit/veg wrapped in plastic. I was disheartened during the week to hear that Coles will continue to provide free plastic bags until later in the year, supposedly in response to customer complaints. I simply cannot get my head around the backflip given just how obvious the damage these types of plastic do now is. Frustrating! Meg:)

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    1. Thanks Meg. Yes, awareness is a great first step - it's just gets to me a little sometimes that everything is plastic wrapped. I've started to do some looking into options here for bulk buying. Now I just have to prioritise some time around going to check them out.
      Interesting how they backflip over plastic but not things like milk prices or other areas where consumers have lobbied against their actions. Also, many states have had plastic bans for a long time so it really makes no sense. Very frustrating.

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