Plastic Free July – What I’ve learnt after a month of trying to give up plastic

That’s it! 31 days of living with less plastic are (almost) over!

It’s been much harder than I thought it would be but I’ve learnt a lot.

Here’s what I now know after trying to go plastic-free for a month.

  • I eat too many crisps

I do love crisps so very much, but crisp bags have to be the biggest generator of plastic waste in our house this month.

I know crisps in compostable bags are available, but they’re also expensive and the kids aren’t keen on them. That doesn’t mean I won’t buy them as a treat though.

The best I could do was buy big bags off crisps to share. This still generates plastic waste, but surely one big bag of crisps has to be better than six bags wrapped in one big bag of plastic? How can I work this stuff out for real? Someone, somewhere do a study on this please.

  • Convenience fuels plastic waste

If we all had multiple spare hours in the day to grow our own veg, cook from scratch, make our own clothes and play with the kids, then there would be much less plastic waste in the world.

Sadly, how modern society is run means we’re all stretched to the limit and are barely at home. If we are at home, then we don’t have any time or energy, so instead we buy plastic-wrapped convenience food, or plastic wrapped fruit and veg, buy clothes made from plastic and buy our kids plastic toys, rather than playing with them ourselves.

I use ‘we’ here but I’m talking about me really. Or, at least me before Plastic Free July.

As an aside, I wonder if the relatively new thing of watching boxsets and binging TV shows has contributed to plastic waste? If you’re going to watch four hours of Stranger Things in a row, then you’re probably not going to have time to make a proper tea or your pack-up for the next day. Just a thought.

  • Evan needs to potty train faster

As well as crisp packets, nappies have been another persistent plastic this month.

I have three Tots Bots nappies that I bought new and which work a treat. Unfortunately, I have eight secondhand Tots Bots nappies that don’t work at all. Instead, Evan does one wee in them and is soaked through and grumpy.

The compromise we’ve come to is that we put him in the nappies that do work whenever he’s at home. I’m trying to figure out which of the secondhand nappies work a bit and which don’t work at all.

In the meantime, Evan is getting acquainted with Joni’s old pink potty. So far this isn’t going well. He did a poo in the potty today so small I had to squint to check it wasn’t a raisin. I then put a nappy on him and he decided to do a giant dump.

It’s early days though and every wee or poo in a reusable nappy or the potty is a very small win against plastic waste.

  • Sometimes, buying fruit and veg in plastic is better

I’ve been going back and forth on this one, but surely buying UK fruit and veg packaged in plastic has to be better than exotic fruit not packaged in plastic? I don’t know for sure if this is true, but it makes sense that buying local is going to be better for the environment than buying something that’s been grown thousands of miles away.

  • I’ve permanently changed my mindset on plastic

This is the most important lesson. After doing this for a month, I can’t see myself going back to buying plastic without giving it a second thought.

Now, the annoying voice in my head pipes up whenever I’m considering buying something made from, or wrapped in plastic.

So, Plastic Free July has very much been a success and I reckon we’ve saved around £200 buy thinking more about what we buy before we order it or put it in the trolley.

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