One word that ties together two parallel subjects, 'Midway' is the title of a Chris Jordan film about the devastating effects that plastic pollution is having on albatrosses nesting in the Midway Atoll of the North Pacific ocean. I saw the trailer late last year, utterly devastating and a well past due wake up call. The full film is scheduled for release in late 2013. Here in Australia I've been reading up on our own 'Midway situation'. The remote and pristine paradise of Lord Howe Island is yet another distressing case study for marine plastic pollution and its devastating effects on bird life - namely shearwaters. Learning about both of these situations within a short period, as well as the alarming microplastics statistics from recent surveys, was the jump-start that put me onto a path to concerted plastic reduction.

And here I am at the midway point of my plastic free month. It's been a fortnight of success and failures (I've been doing relatively well at not *intentionally* buying plastic, but it sure finds its way in).
A few lessons;
  • Preparation is KEY. Doing anything out of the ordinary, or being pressed for time, means plastic can quickly jump in through the convenience door.
  • Sneaky plastic is sneaky. Notable unexpected plastics fails so far this month include a metal shoe rack that had Every Single Component  wrapped in a bag. I have no idea why this would be necessary. But it blew out my plastic free footprint bigtime. Grrr.
  • Cheeky little snacks from other people that have purchased plastic wrapped items is kind of cheating, but difficult to avoid.
  • Making replacements for all your favourite treats demands a constant time commitment. It's either that or go without.
I figure almost everyone who tries this lifestyle change will encounter their 'List', of either essentials or non essential favourites, that they can't or don't want to give up. I currently can't source the following (at any of my local stores) without some proportion of plastic: contact lenses, face moisturiser, pasta, sunscreen, toothpaste, dry dogfood, frozen berries, pine nuts, maple syrup, loose leaf tea, several spices, salt crystals, specialty sauces, oils *
* some of these items are available online/from overseas stores. Again, you need to be organised/prepared

A few success stories;
- Taking a giant tupperware tub into the local fish store, zero packaged fish! (they were quite amused)
- Making my own veg stock supply from scratch and bottling it
- Making kefir as a yoghurt replacement
- Keeping and refilling my old dishwashing liquid bottle at the local organic food store
-Attending a (serendipitously timed) whole foods workshop that gave me lots of ideas for recipes I could make from packaged-free produce

This is my plastic footprint for the first 2 weeks (will try and do better next fortnight)
- 7 (!!) unexpected plastic bags from a self-assembly shoe rack
- A bottle of mozzie repelling essential oils (for camping, not pictured here). I will reuse the bottle.
- A bag of popping corn (for camping - admittedly not essential but...camping snacks!)
- Two glass pots of face cream (with plastic lids, not pictured here). I couldn't find any zero plastic brands. However, this brand is otherwise very earth friendly and the pots can be reused.
- Contact lens pouches (I don't wear them often, but I do sometimes need them)
- An unexpected bag in a box of pasta (I thought it was loose packed with only a plastic window)
- Wrapping from a subscription magazine
- A plastic plate from a post beach clean up day community event (hmmmm)

Plastic waste collected but not bought during July:
- Moisturiser (replaced with a brand in a metal tin). Will be reusing the container
- Sanitary product wrapping
- Face cream (now replaced with a lower-plastic version)
- Loose leaf tea packaging (can't seem to avoid this)
- A cotton thread spool (Will try and only get cardboard ones now)
- Buckwheat flour packaging (local organic store now has it in bulk)
- The plastic from a large bag of dry dog biscuits (I separated it out - top left of image -  the brand I buy is 3 parts paper to 1 part thin inner plastic lining)
- Assorted creams (gifts and freebies)

Will post my final update in a couple of weeks.


  1. I think you're doing better than I have. Traveling, I kept forgetting my travel coffee mug, so I have lids to recycle. I haven't solved the cosmetics container issues yet either. But the main thing is that I'm more mindful. -- Sandy

    1. It's a great exercise in seeing what your main plastic sources are, as well as figuring out what you can do without or replace. Good luck with your own declutter project too - I tackled that head on last year, still a work in progress! I guess PFJ is an extension of that attempt to get what I own and use under control. Nat