Author Topic: Plastic-free July  (Read 4130 times)

Fresh Bread

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Plastic-free July
« on: June 20, 2018, 05:52:08 PM »
So.. who's up for no-single use plastic in July? Or vastly reduced single-use plastic?! People at all stages of the waste-free journey are welcome!

http://www.plasticfreejuly.org/

The website above has lots of tips to reduce single-use plastic and also ideas for lobbying authorities for change. Plus here's my previous attempt with lots of discussion around alternatives and things to try:
https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/throw-down-the-gauntlet/plastic-free-february/

My personal goals are to reduce my needless use of oil and reduce the amount of waste going to landfill. Side benefits (based on the February experience) will be a better diet with more fresh food and more cooked from scratch. Although there will be extra time spent shopping and cooking, I will save time washing and drying plastic packaging to give to our soft plastics recycler (it's really been bugging me this week)! Cost savings will come from just not buying stuff that comes in packaging and having to make do.

I am prepped and ready, with jars and reusable plastic containers ready to go to the packaging-free store, reusable lady products and the bread machine is primed.

As per February, the stumbling points will be around dairy - milk in particular. This time I will try to create a routine around nut milks and I will try to re-use any plastic milk bottle that comes in the house!!   
« Last Edit: June 20, 2018, 05:55:04 PM by Fresh Bread »

krmit

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Re: Plastic-free July
« Reply #1 on: June 20, 2018, 08:25:57 PM »
I'm in! I'll be traveling the first week, so that may be a challenge.

I'm interested in reducing my general packaging. I've got pretty strong reusable bag/thermos/water bottle habits so I'd like to step up my game in bringing my own bulk containers.

Abe

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Re: Plastic-free July
« Reply #2 on: June 20, 2018, 10:30:53 PM »
I am in! My wife and I have stopped using single-use plastics. No plastic utensils, no straws, no bags. The only plastic coming into the house are cereal bags, milk jugs and packaging for occasional purchases. Iím switching to bulk granola instead of cereal to fix the first problem. Havenít found any glass jars of milk in all these overpriced Whole-Foodesque grocery stores though. Third problem can be solved by not buying things unless absolutely needed - working on that with my wife. We are exempting diapers for our son, which is a big caveat for the next year but afterwards should be fine.

haypug16

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Re: Plastic-free July
« Reply #3 on: June 22, 2018, 07:52:52 AM »
I'm in. An overall goal for DH and I this year is to reduce our waste, so this will be helpful for that goal. We recycle a ton and it would be nice if we could reduce overall plastic coming into the house instead of increasing the amount of plastic being recycled. I predict my biggest struggle to be with snacks, milk, and cereal.

Plan of attack will be to;
1. Cut out snacking or make my own snacks from scratch.
2. Make nut milk or find glass bottles of milk.
3. Switch to oatmeal purchased in bulk.

Hirondelle

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Re: Plastic-free July
« Reply #4 on: June 22, 2018, 08:43:30 AM »
I don't think I'll manage 100% but posting to follow for inspiration and tricks. Would love to at least reduce my plastic usage. I already don't use plastic bags, often refuse straws and try to take the least-packed option for foods. No plastic plates/cutterly also helps.

Most of my plastic is food packaging and that's a tough one to eliminate.

Meowmalade

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Re: Plastic-free July
« Reply #5 on: June 22, 2018, 09:38:47 AM »
I'm in!  We've been actively trying to reduce buying stuff in plastic containers, especially after finding out that Oregon has been shipping its plastic to China, and now China is rejecting it due to contamination!  So now we think of plastic as trash.

lizzzi

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Re: Plastic-free July
« Reply #6 on: June 22, 2018, 07:48:37 PM »
I thought you meant "No Credit Card Use in July". Ha-ha. Well, I'll try not to do face punch spending with my CC, and as always, I'll try to reduce my use of plastics. I hate single-use plastic for the most part, but it's hard to avoid entirely.

Fresh Bread

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Re: Plastic-free July
« Reply #7 on: June 22, 2018, 11:33:43 PM »
I'm in!  We've been actively trying to reduce buying stuff in plastic containers, especially after finding out that Oregon has been shipping its plastic to China, and now China is rejecting it due to contamination!  So now we think of plastic as trash.

This has also happened in Australia... Basically most of our hard plastics can now be expected to go to landfill and will therefore live for eternity. There are a couple of companies here recycling and producing plastic chips for industry but it's just too expensive if they are competing with China. On the plus side, we have a company here recycling soft plastics and they seem to be doing ok as they supply local governments with park benches etc.


Fresh Bread

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Re: Plastic-free July
« Reply #8 on: June 22, 2018, 11:37:41 PM »
I'm in. An overall goal for DH and I this year is to reduce our waste, so this will be helpful for that goal. We recycle a ton and it would be nice if we could reduce overall plastic coming into the house instead of increasing the amount of plastic being recycled. I predict my biggest struggle to be with snacks, milk, and cereal.

Plan of attack will be to;
1. Cut out snacking or make my own snacks from scratch.
2. Make nut milk or find glass bottles of milk.
3. Switch to oatmeal purchased in bulk.

We pretty much have the same problem areas! I'm going to order some bulk oats - first I'm going to email and see which brands come in a paper sack. In Australia we have a few online store options for bulk oats & flour.

Fresh Bread

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Re: Plastic-free July
« Reply #9 on: June 22, 2018, 11:43:24 PM »
Welcome everyone!! Hopefully we can find a few solutions that become habits that stick :)

Today I'm beginning the process of ordering bulk oats. The ones I've had before have come in a plastic bag, so I'm going to enquire about paper. Bulk flour (5kg) seems to universally come in paper sacks so that's easy. I'll pick up my order at the company's stall at the organic market next Sunday (1st of July!) They sell packaging free pantry staples at their stall so I'll also get nuts, seeds, lentils and so on.

HappierAtHome

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Re: Plastic-free July
« Reply #10 on: June 23, 2018, 12:07:36 AM »
I'm posting to follow for ideas :-)

Nederstash

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Re: Plastic-free July
« Reply #11 on: June 23, 2018, 03:08:15 AM »
I love this challenge, but I get a mini-panic attack when I think of ALL the damn plastic we use on a daily basis and how to replace that. My biggest challenge is not getting caught in 'analysis paralysis' and giving up. I'm a little bit of a perfectionist, so I'll have to challenge myself to do my best and not be discouraged I won't be able to score 100%.

Plan of attack for July (excepting 1 week of holiday):
1. Buy fruits & veg at a nearby farm every Saturday
2. Make a loaf of bread from scratch
3. Buy a Divacup - I've read and heard rave reviews!
4. Meal plan according to what's available plastic free
5. Buy (plant based) yogurt and milk in glass bottles at local Ekoplaza

Advanced stuff like making your own shampoo/soap/cleaning supplies etc isn't necessary yet, but I'll try that when my regular stuff runs out.

Hula Hoop

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Re: Plastic-free July
« Reply #12 on: June 23, 2018, 03:50:08 AM »
I'm in.  It's difficult here just like it is everywhere else.  One problem areas for us is kid lunches for summer camp and my lunches for work.  I bought some small thermoses last year for sending hot things in kid lunches like pasta or rice and also some reusable cloth ziplock bags.  I also got a lunch box at IKEA for my work lunches.


We also usually get the plastic milk bottles but we could switch to the traditional paper cartons which are slightly more expensive - I assume those are better for the environment?


We generally use the cart for groceries so no plastic bags or we use reusable bags.  I have a folding one in my purse.  Here in Italy, you have to pay for grocery bags and also the plastic bags used in supermarkets for fruit and veg and they have to be biodegradable by law.  Only problem is that we do a lot of our shopping at the food markets which are both cheaper and better than the supermarket and they are exempt from the biodegradable plastic bag laws.  The vendors seem to put everything in plastic bags before you can say anything.  I'll try to bring my own bags next time we shop there.

« Last Edit: June 23, 2018, 03:51:45 AM by Hula Hoop »

chaskavitch

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Re: Plastic-free July
« Reply #13 on: June 24, 2018, 07:49:12 AM »
Me!  I've been trying to reduce my plastic usage for a while, and the thing I'm having the most trouble reducing is packaged whole foods.  Berry clamshells, plastic around my meat cuts, plastic wrapped bulk cheese, etc.  Almost all of my other plastic use can be reduced further by just being more mindful; I need to remember to bring my own cream to work for coffee, and I've been buying fewer and fewer other things generally, which helps a lot.

Also, @Nederstash , I have used a DivaCup for almost 15 years and I absolutely LOVE it.  I've noticed this for myself, and I just read somewhere that it's a proven fact, but using a cup actually helps reduce the severity of any cramping you have.  It's amazing.  I haven't found a perfect soap for washing it, other than the DivaWash that comes with it, but I'd recommend not using castille soap.  I tried that for a while and I feel like it made the plastic smell really awful, even when it was completely clean.  Expect some discoloration, but don't bother replacing it unless there's something wrong.  I've had the same two that I switch out the since I started using cups, and they still work as well as they did the day I bought them.

Yasha

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Re: Plastic-free July
« Reply #14 on: June 25, 2018, 04:10:59 AM »
I'm keen! I will commit to 'as plastic free as possible without pissing off the husband' haha. He is a bit of a slow-convert to things like this and doesn't like 'challenges' or competitions or the like, but he does know that I do and will tolerate a fair amount (with a bit of grumbling).

My plan is to do a daily Facebook post about something PFJ related for the 31 days of July to reach out to my friends and family. I will try to remember to cross-post to this thread too! @HappierAtHome I'll include my planned list and you can pinch any ideas you like ^_^

1. Who gives a crap toilet paper (100% recycled paper. Comes in a box, no plastic)
2. BYO mug - I have a cute mug that says "for [fox] sake" with a picture of a fox, as well as a glass keep cup and a plastic keep cup (that I rescued from the garden two years ago), so plenty of non-disposable coffee options.
3. Cutlery keeper. I am planning to make a keeper for my handbag cutlery instead of randomly jabbing my finger with a fork tine while rummaging, or tasting gritty bits from the bottom of my bag when I use my steel straw.
4. Box o' veg from the local farm which employs refugees, hoping to reduce food kilometers as well as packaging.
5. Safety razor
6. Meat. Found a local butcher who sells hunted pests (rabbits, deer etc) who I am hoping to visit and see if he will sell meat without packaging and I can put it in my own container. This may also give us a meat option which is a little easier on my tender heart. I am already 6/7ths vegetarian due to qualms about the meat industry, but I would like to eat pest meat if it is a possibility for the 7th day.
7. A friend and I have committed to doing a beach trash-bash each weekend in July. We have done two of these already and it is quite a bit of fun. (Also free, good for the planet, and exercise - very Mustachian)
8. Worm farm update
9. Water- bottle, thermos, drink from a bubbler or a tap.
10. My gym has steel straws you can drink your smoothie through and then washup. I will shout them out for this.
11. Bamboo toothbrush.
12. Loose leaf tea. I will purchase a tea strainer and drink loose leaf tea. I dropped the glass strainer from my teapot last month and it (and I) shattered.
13. Implanon. Since I have had this BC implanted I haven't had a proper period for two years, just a little spotting now and then and one freak event. Way less packaging for sanitary products as well as no plastic blister packs from 'the pill'. I am sure this is not an option for everyone (and I feel like the little tube is technically plastic), but it has changed my plastic consumption dramatically.
14. Powershop - my power company sends all updates by email and I pay my bill through their app - no plastic windowed bill in the mail. (I also have a code for $75 off both my bill and theirs if anyone wants to switch which seems like a sales pitch but I can hopefully frame it in a non MLM type way -_-).
15. Grocery shopping with reusable bags. The two big supermarkets in my state will stop providing lightweight single-use plastic bags from the first of July, we have already been using our own bags as much as possible, but occasionally still bringing home a plastic bag which we 'needed' to line our bin, which leads to...
16. Bag-free bin. Can't believe it took me this long to work out - but I am trialing just using a bucket as our bin, and a wire basket for recycling. There is a tap in our bin room, so I can swish it out if there is anything yuck in there, and then I can scrub it in the sink if it reeeeeally needs it, but most of our food scraps go to the worms, so there isn't much wet rubbish anyway.
17. Mug libraries. There are at least two on my university campus and I will shout them out as a great idea (borrow a mug to put your coffee in, bring it back clean later, donate unwanted mugs to the cause).
18. Shampoo... I am going to try using a shampoo bar. I have relatively short hair and Mr has quite long hair, so this one might be just me.
19. Bar soap. I don't love bar soap... but I am going to try some out to see if I can find one that doesn't leave my hands feeling like desiccated coconut.
20. Dishwasher tablets - I have found one brand (one!) that comes just in a cardboard box without individual little wrappers or one big holding 'bag' inside.
21. Washing powder - I have found one brand that comes in a cardboard box without the little plastic scoop.
22. Local bulkfood store. I will be collecting my produce box from here anyway, so I will be on the lookout for any great deals (they had free lemons last time I was there!).
23. Beeswax wraps - my Mum gave me some but I haven't used them yet - looking forward to giving them a go.
24. Hankies - we don't really use tissues, usually toilet paper to blow noses (who gives a crap from pt1) but sometimes we use tissues on the go - I have hankies, I like hankies, I just need to remember to pack them (and to wash them - it's winter here eek!).
25. Email our local bars and ask them to switch to paper straws instead of plastic. Especially since we live so close to the beach.
...
31. Summary, review of the 'dilemma bag', post PFJ thoughts.

I still need to think of 5 more topics- July does have 5 weekends, so I can double up on the trash-bashes, but I am looking for other ideas too. Glad to have like-minded people to pick ideas from that aren't going to cost an arm and a leg.

chaskavitch

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Re: Plastic-free July
« Reply #15 on: June 25, 2018, 06:08:01 AM »
@Yasha I just started using a shampoo bar too!  It takes longer to use, mostly because I have to suds up my hands like 10 times to work it in all over my scalp, but I have long hair, and it's working out fine.

You could also make your own toothpaste or buy powdered toothpaste in a tin, for another topic :)

ETA - does anyone know how to make lotion?  I made some coconut oil/shea butter lotion last year that I like, but it leaves my hands very greasy, and I handle a lot of paperwork at my job.  Fingerprints all over official documents isn't frowned upon, exactly, but no one loves it.
« Last Edit: June 25, 2018, 06:09:47 AM by chaskavitch »

Fresh Bread

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Re: Plastic-free July
« Reply #16 on: June 30, 2018, 10:01:14 PM »
It's July!

I have kicked it off by doing a shop at the bulk food store including almonds for milk. Then we got plastic-free stuff at the supermarket, excluding one bottle of milk*. I got frozen breadcrumbed fish and salmon wellingtons in cardboard boxes so we have convenience food, which will help. I then went to the plastic free butchers and used my own containers.

The supermarket didn't have the cheap loose powder in the cardboard box that I get and I couldn't bring myself to pay 7 times the price in the bulk foods place. It's really annoying that of the 5, yes 5, Coles stores within 3km of my house, only one sells the budget powder in cardboard.

*The plan for milk is: 1) cut down, 2) make nut milk, 3) buy one 3L plastic bottle & one 1L glass bottle a week, then make more from milk powder if needed. The plastic bottle will be re-used as a seedling pot, I will take a pic.

Yasha

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Re: Plastic-free July
« Reply #17 on: July 01, 2018, 06:29:37 AM »
Copied from my FaceBook post:

PlasticFreeJuly, July 1. It doesn't have to be a 'reusable bag' to be a reusable bag. We don't have a car, so for a long time we have utilised backpacks to make for a 'single trip' with the groceries. Also look for things that are already designed to be carried (pictured: kitty litter) that don't need a bag at all. On the left are all the easily plastic free items - just toss the veg loose into the trolley - no need to separate into those produce bags, the trolley isn't grosser than everyone walking past breathing/sneezing on your veg, they need washing anyway. On the right are challenge items (with plastic) this shop: Cat food, brown sugar, cheese, vinegar, meat (I think if we take a box they will put things from the deli into it directly rather than wrapping in plastic, I think we would have to go to the butchers to get a plastic-free roast), chives, 'special' mushrooms, cream.

[list of non-plastic purchases]
-Fettucini in cardboard box (no plastic window)
-Dishwasher tablets in cardboard no plastic inners
- Chickpeas and tomato paste in cans
- Veggie stock and butter in paper
- Jam, olives, peanut butter and passatta in jars
- Fruit and veg loose
- Kitty litter in paper bag

[list of plastic purchases - MR indicates this was a spousal decision and I am washing my hands of it]
- Brown sugar MR
- Cream MR
- Special mushrooms MR
- Special cheeses MR
- Chives (chives! MR. He said he couldn't wait for me to pick some from the veggie co-op :( )
- Pork roast, proccutto, some other meat something MR (I am veg 6/7 days of the week and eat meat only when 'out').
- Vinegar
- Parmesan
- Cat food

---

There has already been some discussion of my post on Facey about not putting produce into a plastic bag between my sister and my cousin - my sister made the brilliant suggestion to use a laundry 'delicates' bag and I think the cousin may take the suggestion on. Huzzah for dialogue! [/list][/list]

SunnyDays

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Re: Plastic-free July
« Reply #18 on: July 01, 2018, 10:40:39 AM »
@Yasha, brown sugar is nothing more than white sugar with molasses mix into it.  You can do this yourself and neither ingredient comes in plastic.
I will try my best for this challenge, although I am addicted to a certain cookie that comes in plastic.
For soft plastic bags that things like frozen veggies come in, I re-use as garbage bags.  If they have to be thrown out, better full than empty.  I just put a grocery store bag on the bag frame inside my cupboard, then put the veggie bag inside that.  When the grocery bag gets grubby from overflow/missing the smaller bag, I just wash it out and put it back.  I then throw them directly into my metal trash can without using a hefty-type bag.  I also found small mesh bags for fruit and veg and have to be more conscientious about remembering to take them with me.
I've heard that often glass jars and bottles end up in landfills, because there's not enough of a market for them, so buying things in glass may not really be a solution.

krmit

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Re: Plastic-free July
« Reply #19 on: July 01, 2018, 01:17:08 PM »
Started the month with buying plastic wrapped sausages... completely forgot it was July until I got home.

This will probably be my one meat purchase for the month and I'm heading out for a vacation Tuesday, so the sausages combined with whatever's in the fridge is dinner for the next two days, so I'm not beating myself up about it.

I'm preparing for air travel with a plan to pack lunch and water bottles, and turn down the packaged snacks and plastic cups on the plane.

Washed a couple Ziplock bags for re-use and set aside some glass olive oil and vinegar jars aside to refill at the co-op. I also took out the bathroom trash and didn't replace the plastic liner (usually a re-used plastic grocery bag). 99% of our bathroom trash is tissue and dental floss, so no real need for it.

haypug16

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Re: Plastic-free July
« Reply #20 on: July 01, 2018, 01:32:45 PM »
Happy July everyone.

I headed to the grocery store this morning to pick up a couple things. DH requested bread on the way out the door and I told him we can't get it because it's wrapped in plastic. I picked up some eggs (cardboard), Milk (mostly non-plastic) I couldn't find any cartons without the plastic spout! I will not be going to Stop N Shop for milk again. I know Wholefoods has it and may even have glass jars of milk at the one near my work, Peanut butter (glass jar with small plastic strip around the top) Darn it! I have to make sure I just go to Wholefoods and get the crushed Peanuts in one of my mason jars. The only other plastic was a poop bag for my dog. Not sure how to get around that.

Day 1 - 3 pieces of plastic (PB Jar, Milk, Poop Bag)

chaskavitch

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Re: Plastic-free July
« Reply #21 on: July 02, 2018, 07:17:44 AM »
I also forgot it was July, and started my month off with plastic creamer packets :(  I have cream at home, in glass jars, but I keep forgetting to bring it in to work. 

I did go to the food co-op to check out what they have, and I'll definitely make a trip this month to stock up on some unexpected things, including olive oil, honey, dish soap, powdered detergent, and vanilla.  I had no idea you could even buy those things in bulk!  Sprouts near my house has a large bulk section for nuts and flour and chocolate and stuff, so those things are easy, but who knew you could get bulk olive oil?

Yasha

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Re: Plastic-free July
« Reply #22 on: July 02, 2018, 07:31:43 AM »
No plastic today - success!

Post copied from Facebook:

#PlasticFreeJuly July 2nd. The perfect cure for Monday-itis is a nice cup of HotBeverage. There are lots of options to buy your cuppa without costing the Earth. With over a billion coffee cups used in Australia and then thrown away every day it is important to remember that they are not recycled nor recyclable. The standard coffee cup is made from virgin wood and canít be recycled in the usual bins (though I have seen some 7-11s have special cup recycling bins). If you can remember to BYO mug the little action makes a big difference. It can be a standard coffee mug, a Ďtravellerí or a keeper cup, the container isnít really important. Lots of Cafes also offer a discount for bringing your own mug.

Fresh Bread

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Re: Plastic-free July
« Reply #23 on: July 02, 2018, 09:50:37 PM »
It's Day 3 and I'm still doing ok. Today I made biscuits to avoid packaging - so much for eating better ;) Yesterday I made a fruit loaf to avoid buying a loaf in plastic. I think treats generally generate a lot of plastic but I'm practiced at making biscuits and sweet loaves so it's not to big a leap. However, stuck together cereal bars continue to evade me so I'm going to aim for a chewy oat slice.

We had no luck finding dishwasher powder in cardboard so hubby bought a plastic tub. Ah well. The only other option I can see is to buy tablets in a cardboard box that have the dissolvable wrapper - I assume it's made of corn starch or something? But they are so so expensive, I don't think he could bring himself to buy them.

Hubby has cut right down on milk so the 3L bottle is still going. I'm leaving home early on Thurs, so planning ahead that means soaking almonds tonight to make milk tomorrow so it's ready for brekkie on Thurs. There's a lot of planning to avoid plastic! I can also hopefully make it to the shop that sells milk in glass.

Fresh Bread

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Re: Plastic-free July
« Reply #24 on: July 02, 2018, 09:57:59 PM »
Who was asking about dog poo bags? For your own yard, you could dig an in-ground worm farm or bokashi - you scoop it in sans bag. There are systems you can buy or you can bury a bottomless rubbish bin with holes drilled in the side - make sure you label the lid. For on walks, there are compostable poo bags or you can take a sheet or two of newspaper and then twist/roll it up. The paper is a bit more tricky with a bigger dog.

Hirondelle

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Re: Plastic-free July
« Reply #25 on: July 02, 2018, 11:59:47 PM »
I did quite okay yesterday. Like many, in the morning I forgot and bought a plastic bag of carrots.

For my afternoon grocery errand I told myself not to buy any plastic-wrapped veggies and managed to stick to it! Loose bell peppers were on sale so got those over the packed 3-pack (usually the 3-pack is the same price as 1.5 loose one..) and got a cauliflower instead of broccoli as the latter didn't have a plastic-free option.

Fresh Bread

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Re: Plastic-free July
« Reply #26 on: July 03, 2018, 01:32:05 AM »
I did quite okay yesterday. Like many, in the morning I forgot and bought a plastic bag of carrots.

For my afternoon grocery errand I told myself not to buy any plastic-wrapped veggies and managed to stick to it! Loose bell peppers were on sale so got those over the packed 3-pack (usually the 3-pack is the same price as 1.5 loose one..) and got a cauliflower instead of broccoli as the latter didn't have a plastic-free option.

Broccoli in plastic? That sucks. From what I see and hear about other countries, I think that Australia is actually pretty good on the plastic wrapping of fruit and veg. Generally in the supermarket there isn't too much plastic wrapping of single items. Maybe telegraph cucumbers and the odd lettuce in a bag, because the roots are muddy. Good for you for voting with your wallet.

----

I find it hard to resist heavily marked down plastic-wrapped things that I would normally avoid because I like to get the bargain and avoid supermarket food waste. On Sunday at the cheese section there was some good-looking brie for 60% off because it was v ripe. I decided not to get it, but if I was less shy maybe I could have asked how likely it is that it would get sold later in the day. 2 weeks ago I got a huge 2kg bag of carrots for 50c, we are still eating them.

Hula Hoop

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Re: Plastic-free July
« Reply #27 on: July 03, 2018, 01:56:51 AM »
I went to the supermarket yesterday for the first time this month and it was disheartening.  I bought the milk in a paper carton rather than plastic bottle and got sliced salame and ham from the deli counter rather than in a plastic container but then I got some mozzarella in a paper container and the deli guy stuck it in a big plastic container.  I asked him if it was necessary and he said that otherwise the mozzarella would leak everywhere.  I guess I can reuse the plastic container next time I visit the deli counter - but he may think I'm insane.  The only small tomatoes they had came in a plastic container.  Next time I'll try to go to the markets where they use paper bags but unfortunately, they're only open in the mornings and I'm always at work.  I often go on Saturdays but it's crazy busy.

At checkout I had all my own bags so that felt good though.

Fresh Bread

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Re: Plastic-free July
« Reply #28 on: July 03, 2018, 02:09:35 AM »
I went to the supermarket yesterday for the first time this month and it was disheartening.  I bought the milk in a paper carton rather than plastic bottle and got sliced salame and ham from the deli counter rather than in a plastic container but then I got some mozzarella in a paper container and the deli guy stuck it in a big plastic container.  I asked him if it was necessary and he said that otherwise the mozzarella would leak everywhere.  I guess I can reuse the plastic container next time I visit the deli counter - but he may think I'm insane.  The only small tomatoes they had came in a plastic container.  Next time I'll try to go to the markets where they use paper bags but unfortunately, they're only open in the mornings and I'm always at work.  I often go on Saturdays but it's crazy busy.

At checkout I had all my own bags so that felt good though.

Mozzarella is a hard one to solve because it's so wet... I agree, maybe you can take the container back. I've stopped buying cherry tomatoes now because I don't have a plastic-free option at my usual shops - I didn't think about checking the weekly markets. I did get 3kg of loose ones once that a farm stall were chucking out and made the most delicious sauce!

Hula Hoop

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Re: Plastic-free July
« Reply #29 on: July 03, 2018, 03:42:15 AM »
Thanks, Fresh Bread.  Here in Italy, we have the option of supermarket or regular indoor food markets.  The supermarket seems to only have cherry tomatoes in plastic boxes but at the food markets they put everything in paper bags or I could even bring my own reusable bags.  I just have to keep saying "no grazie" to the plastic shopping bags they put everything in at the markets.

Unfortunately, my younger daughter's favorite food of all time is mozzarella and it seems to only come either in a hard plastic box or a plastic bag - even at the markets.

chaskavitch

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Re: Plastic-free July
« Reply #30 on: July 03, 2018, 05:48:44 AM »
I went to the supermarket yesterday for the first time this month and it was disheartening.  I bought the milk in a paper carton rather than plastic bottle and got sliced salame and ham from the deli counter rather than in a plastic container but then I got some mozzarella in a paper container and the deli guy stuck it in a big plastic container.  I asked him if it was necessary and he said that otherwise the mozzarella would leak everywhere.  I guess I can reuse the plastic container next time I visit the deli counter - but he may think I'm insane.  The only small tomatoes they had came in a plastic container.  Next time I'll try to go to the markets where they use paper bags but unfortunately, they're only open in the mornings and I'm always at work.  I often go on Saturdays but it's crazy busy.

At checkout I had all my own bags so that felt good though.

Mozzarella is a hard one to solve because it's so wet... I agree, maybe you can take the container back. I've stopped buying cherry tomatoes now because I don't have a plastic-free option at my usual shops - I didn't think about checking the weekly markets. I did get 3kg of loose ones once that a farm stall were chucking out and made the most delicious sauce!

I've never had an option to buy mozzarella from the deli counter, it's almost always just in a plastic container in the cheese section.  Could you bring some tupperware or a glass container and have them tare it, then weigh the mozzarella directly into your container?  The deli at the grocery store nearest our house will do that.

I bought frozen riced cauliflower yesterday because there were zero heads of cauliflower at the store.  I should have just waited or gone to a different place, but I was in a hurry to get home and I didn't take the time to think it through.  I also got strawberries in clamshells, but I think everything else I bought was plastic-free.  I'm going to try to make it to the farmers market this weekend and see if they have any fresh fruit - our toddler eats SO MUCH FRUIT, and the only way I can get berries at the store is in clamshells :(

Hula Hoop

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Re: Plastic-free July
« Reply #31 on: July 04, 2018, 06:31:42 AM »
I found buffalo mozzarella in a small milk carton today at the cheap supermarket.  Yay.
« Last Edit: July 04, 2018, 06:35:09 AM by Hula Hoop »

chaskavitch

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Re: Plastic-free July
« Reply #32 on: July 04, 2018, 01:43:11 PM »
I got our bacon and some lunch meat in Tupperware instead of the standard plastic wrap at the butcher in the grocery store and no one batted an eye :)

SunnyDays

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Re: Plastic-free July
« Reply #33 on: July 04, 2018, 03:23:01 PM »
Reporting in on my first shopping trip since accepting the challenge.  First, took my cloth bags and mesh produce bags, so no plastic there.  All produce either put loose into cart or in said mesh bags.  Bought a field cucumber instead of a wrapped English one.  Mushrooms went in a paper bag.  So far, so good.  Oh, also a watermelon, no packaging needed.  Wimped out at the milk.  Bought a 4 L jug instead of 2-2 L cartons.  Also at the pop.  Couldn't bring myself to pay $6.00 for 12 cans, when the plastic 2 L was under 2.00.  Bypassed my FAVORITE cookies, because plastic.  When I run out of my stock, I will make some instead.  Bought a paper wrapped chocolate bar instead of my usual chocolate covered almonds/peanuts in plastic bag.  Caved at 2 pkgs of ramen noodles because they were on sale.  Ditto cat treats.  The ice cream was in a paper carton, but has a plastic strip around the lid.  Also bought 2 severely marked down hanging flower baskets in plastic pots.  So, I guess slightly more losses than wins.  Who knew this would be so hard?

JoshuaSpodek

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Re: Plastic-free July
« Reply #34 on: July 04, 2018, 03:36:41 PM »
Why specify only plastic and why specify only July?

Why not avoid single-use everything forever? That stuff just pollutes.

I'm not at zero, but here's a video showing my garbage for a year: First time emptying garbage in a year.

Actually, it's been 13 months since I made that video a month ago and haven't appreciably added to the bag.
« Last Edit: July 04, 2018, 03:45:00 PM by JoshuaSpodek »

Fresh Bread

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Re: Plastic-free July
« Reply #35 on: July 04, 2018, 06:55:22 PM »
Why specify only plastic and why specify only July?

Why not avoid single-use everything forever? That stuff just pollutes.

I'm not at zero, but here's a video showing my garbage for a year: First time emptying garbage in a year.

Actually, it's been 13 months since I made that video a month ago and haven't appreciably added to the bag.

Because it's a global challenge so it's a good way to get enthused. Good for you.

Fresh Bread

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Re: Plastic-free July
« Reply #36 on: July 04, 2018, 06:59:18 PM »
Also bought 2 severely marked down hanging flower baskets in plastic pots.  So, I guess slightly more losses than wins.  Who knew this would be so hard?

Hopefully your flower pots aren't single use, ha ha! I don't think there's anything wrong with plastic in appropriate uses - eg plastic is light which is great for a hanging basket situation. My hubby uses plastic for reusable coffees cups and lunch boxes because he rides to work and doesn't want glass in case of accident. I think you did ok for a start, you were conscious and that's the start of changing behaviour.

HappierAtHome

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Re: Plastic-free July
« Reply #37 on: July 04, 2018, 07:27:14 PM »
I don't think there's anything wrong with plastic in appropriate uses - eg plastic is light which is great for a hanging basket situation. My hubby uses plastic for reusable coffees cups and lunch boxes because he rides to work and doesn't want glass in case of accident. I think you did ok for a start, you were conscious and that's the start of changing behaviour.

And I use (reusable, BIFL) plastic food containers because I have arthritis and struggle to carry heavy containers. Plastic is an amazing substance - we've just gone way too far as a species in using it for everything all the time.

SunnyDays

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Re: Plastic-free July
« Reply #38 on: July 04, 2018, 10:01:14 PM »
I will definitely re-use the flower pots next year, as they're actually pretty nice.  It's astounding how many food items are packaged in plastic when you pay attention.  I mean, why does a cucumber need to be wrapped?  I also noticed that reusable mesh produce bags were located in some random aisle, and not near the produce.  Next time I go to that store, I will ask the manager to move them.  Maybe they'd actually sell some if people noticed them!

Fresh Bread

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Re: Plastic-free July
« Reply #39 on: July 04, 2018, 11:19:19 PM »
Plastic-free July has coincided here in Australia with our two national supermarkets no longer giving away plastic bags at the checkout. You now pay 15c for a thicker reusable one or $1 or $2 for a green bag (also made of plastic but lasts for an eternity) or of course you bring your own bags.

And the uproar!! Some people are really throwing their toys. One store had to backflip and giveaway free reusable bags for a week for a week to calm the masses. It's incredible. The most annoying thing I have seen is a video doing the rounds on FB showing a guy sarcastically showing his green bag that he's just bought because he wasn't allowed a bag, and then unpacking it of all the plastic wrapped goods, the implication being that "banning the bag" does nothing to curb plastic use. The annoying thing is that nothing that he unpacks is actually food, it's all crisps, biscuits etc. Nothing in the bag was necessary. If he'd unpacked bread, rice, milk, I'd have a little sympathy to his point.

Another thought that is bugging me this week: Buying packaging free is fucking expensive. On Sunday I paid $4.50/kilo for loose non-organic oats compared to $1.50/kilo in plastic bag from Coles. I will check the price at the co-op but they have mainly organic stuff, so it will be probably similar. The cheapest I found online sans plastic was $3.60/kilo but it was a 25kg bag. I guess it's the real price of food?

haypug16

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Re: Plastic-free July
« Reply #40 on: July 05, 2018, 08:50:13 AM »
Who was asking about dog poo bags? For your own yard, you could dig an in-ground worm farm or bokashi - you scoop it in sans bag. There are systems you can buy or you can bury a bottomless rubbish bin with holes drilled in the side - make sure you label the lid. For on walks, there are compostable poo bags or you can take a sheet or two of newspaper and then twist/roll it up. The paper is a bit more tricky with a bigger dog.

Oh I like the newspaper idea. My dog only poops on walks she wont go in the yard. She's a small dog so not worried about big poops from her (TMI?) lol

Anyway, I have been doing terrible this first week. EVERYTHING IS WRAPPED IN PLASTIC!!! my god I didn't think it would be this difficult but now that I'm actually paying attention I see how big this plastic problem is.

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Re: Plastic-free July
« Reply #41 on: July 05, 2018, 11:59:40 AM »
I've been trying plastic free for a while and bring glass jars to my co-op, but also focusing on this July. Most of the bulk food like oats are cheaper than buying in a box or silo (for oats specifically). Some things can be more expensive but the cheaper things kind of even out the costs. I can even get fresh peanut butter in my glass jars, which I saw someone mention earlier their need for plastic peanut butter.

For July I am trying to avoid usually trouble foods like chips/snacks that have plastic.

Nederstash

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Re: Plastic-free July
« Reply #42 on: July 05, 2018, 01:22:57 PM »
This is so flipping hard. Plastic is everywhere. I'm getting so disheartened.

JoshuaSpodek

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Re: Plastic-free July
« Reply #43 on: July 07, 2018, 07:35:39 PM »
This is so flipping hard. Plastic is everywhere. I'm getting so disheartened.

Three big shifts happened in my lifetime that tell me change here can happen:
  • Drunk driving: it's not down to zero, but there's a lot less of it now than my childhood and its social acceptance is lower still
  • Cigarettes: when I was a kid people associated them with Humphrey Bogart. Now they associate them with cancer
  • Seat belts: people didn't use them much when I was young. Now safety equipment is a major selling point of a car and everyone I know puts on seat belts without thinking twice

We're at the early stage of this shift. It hasn't become automatic but we're not the only groups acting. If everyone, including us, keeps it up, we'll stop filling oceans and the rest of the world with so much plastic and our behavior will be as automatic as putting on seat belts.

Fresh Bread

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Re: Plastic-free July
« Reply #44 on: July 07, 2018, 08:40:02 PM »
I've been trying plastic free for a while and bring glass jars to my co-op, but also focusing on this July. Most of the bulk food like oats are cheaper than buying in a box or silo (for oats specifically). Some things can be more expensive but the cheaper things kind of even out the costs. I can even get fresh peanut butter in my glass jars, which I saw someone mention earlier their need for plastic peanut butter.

For July I am trying to avoid usually trouble foods like chips/snacks that have plastic.

That's great that you can get some things cheaper loose. Every single thing is more expensive where I am. It's even more expensive to make certain things like cereal bars from scratch because I tend to buy treats when they are half price only! The power of our supermarkets to beat down the prices of the suppliers (ie rip them off) is phenomenal.

Fresh Bread

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Re: Plastic-free July
« Reply #45 on: July 07, 2018, 09:00:27 PM »
This is so flipping hard. Plastic is everywhere. I'm getting so disheartened.

Three big shifts happened in my lifetime that tell me change here can happen:
  • Drunk driving: it's not down to zero, but there's a lot less of it now than my childhood and its social acceptance is lower still
  • Cigarettes: when I was a kid people associated them with Humphrey Bogart. Now they associate them with cancer
  • Seat belts: people didn't use them much when I was young. Now safety equipment is a major selling point of a car and everyone I know puts on seat belts without thinking twice

We're at the early stage of this shift. It hasn't become automatic but we're not the only groups acting. If everyone, including us, keeps it up, we'll stop filling oceans and the rest of the world with so much plastic and our behavior will be as automatic as putting on seat belts.

I think you are right - these big shifts do take a generation. I do worry that because the health of people isn't directly and immediately negatively affected by plastic use that behaviour change might be a bit slower coming. Governments are fairly reluctant to bring about change that might also reduce consumption / impact the economy. But it is happening, definitely.

@Nederstash Please don't be disheartened! Plastic is everywhere and now you can't unsee it, right? Maybe just focus on a couple of small changes you can do for this month. e.g. refusing straws/bags/plastic cutlery or making something you already do most times become every time. Maybe pick up a bit of plastic litter if you see it.  I think it is a MASSIVE lifestyle change to go plastic-free currently. And what if you don't have packaging free stores near you? It becomes pretty impossible.  Just do what you can and you will make a difference.

Fresh Bread

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Re: Plastic-free July
« Reply #46 on: July 07, 2018, 09:26:24 PM »
I had a bit of a fail on Friday - I had been ill with a migraine for a couple of days and had a mouth full of ulcers, and the only thing that was going to get me through the last 3 hrs of work was a packet of crisps and a chocolate milkshake from the servo (gas station). I was so out of it that I didn't even remember plastic-free July til I'd bought them. They did the trick though.

This morning I woke up fighting fit at last and have redeemed myself by making almond milk and then tried to make almond crackers with the pulp. They turned out crumbly so we will have them as a topping to our dinner instead. Then I hulled some pumpkin seeds to get some pepitas to add to breakfast oats - it was slow and painful and I recommend just buying them! I've also made a loaf of raisin bread and yesterday I made ginger biscuits to settle my stomach. I've just now got to get out and about and stock up on staples and some meat and the success can carry over into the week. 

Annoyingly a lot of our spices are running low this month so I may have to fiddle about with tiny scoops at the bulk store. I'm going to put that off as long as possible...

Abe

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Re: Plastic-free July
« Reply #47 on: July 07, 2018, 09:50:10 PM »
I went to a local grocery store, and I've always put all the various fruits and vegetables into one bag (why bag them, then bag them again?). For 15 years I've been doing this. Today, the cashier accused me of trying to steal fruit because when i dumped the food onto the conveyer belt and sorted them for him, one of them got stuck in a fold in the bag. I explained (in a less sarcastic way) that a more logical explanation for why that one tomato was in the bag was that it got stuck and I didn't notice, not that I was stealing 50 cents worth of food while paying for the other $26.90 of it. He still insisted I was stealing, and I said "fine, call the police and let's see if they think this is a good use of their time". By then the manager came over and apologized to me. I did point out that their store routinely double-charges me for fruit because they suck at counting, and I have to check the receipt every single time. Not a single time did I threaten to call the police because they were stealing from me. At any rate, I'm never going there again. They lost their minds because I didn't put fruit into little plastic bags before putting them in a big bag.



Fresh Bread

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Re: Plastic-free July
« Reply #48 on: July 07, 2018, 10:07:04 PM »
I went to a local grocery store, and I've always put all the various fruits and vegetables into one bag (why bag them, then bag them again?). For 15 years I've been doing this. Today, the cashier accused me of trying to steal fruit because when i dumped the food onto the conveyer belt and sorted them for him, one of them got stuck in a fold in the bag. I explained (in a less sarcastic way) that a more logical explanation for why that one tomato was in the bag was that it got stuck and I didn't notice, not that I was stealing 50 cents worth of food while paying for the other $26.90 of it. He still insisted I was stealing, and I said "fine, call the police and let's see if they think this is a good use of their time". By then the manager came over and apologized to me. I did point out that their store routinely double-charges me for fruit because they suck at counting, and I have to check the receipt every single time. Not a single time did I threaten to call the police because they were stealing from me. At any rate, I'm never going there again. They lost their minds because I didn't put fruit into little plastic bags before putting them in a big bag.

Oh how bizarre! I would also shop elsewhere, who needs that sort of service.

If I don't have my see-through produce bags with me I just put stuff loose in the trolley. It's already been sneezed on and handled by various people so a few extra trolley germs won't hurt.

chaskavitch

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Re: Plastic-free July
« Reply #49 on: July 08, 2018, 06:37:56 AM »
We get our milk delivered in glass bottles, and yesterday I made yogurt with the inevitable overage.  We only drink about .75 of the gallon we get every week, so after a few weeks we have an overage of almost a gallon, and then I make yogurt.  I've considered changing our delivery schedule to get rid of the extra (1 gallon one week, then a half gallon the next week, etc), but I like having a reason to make yogurt once a month or so :)  It turns out quite well, actually - I've figured out how to make greek yogurt out of it, and if you want it to be sweet, just add some fresh fruit or some jam and it ends up being really tasty.

Also, I had a coupon for Yoplait Oui French style yogurt from Kroger, so I bought one.  It comes in an adorable little glass pot with an aluminum foil lid.  I'm keeping the little pot, obviously, but it seems odd that it would be better overall to have a half dozen little glass pots to recycle every week than six plastic ones.  I know it is better, but they're just so sturdy and hefty that it feels like you're getting rid of something that should be saved and reused. 

I've seen some articles lately about how a lot of the glass that is put into recycle bins in the US isn't actually recycled.  Apparently here in Colorado, a majority of our glass recycling is just put in the landfill because we can't afford to recycle it, or the facilities are overworked or something.  I almost wish I could toss our glass straight into the ocean for it to become pretty beach glass and eventually sand.  Probably a bad plan, but better beach glass than buried in a landfill for a zillion years.