Not so earth loving, lovingearth
Well, that's the end of another Plastic Free July and a month of realising that if I want to actually do these things without ending up going periodically hungry then I really need to be a bit more diligent with my shopping routine (the road to plastic is paved with bad meal planning).

Unlike last year I didn't a) include any of the plastic that came from products I finished during the month (only what I bought) or b) indulge in packaging porn and photograph it. Since last year I've cut down on my plastic a lot, so the levels are pretty consistent now. This time around it was more about looking at some of my more regular standard plastic purchases to see if I could incorporate more changes into my life.

Plastic tally for the month; 23 items, of which 5 were recyclable

- Dog food packaging
- 5 bottles/cartons of milk
- Mini chocolate wrappers (3)
- Plastic wrapping on 2 frozen chickens
- Plastic film lined bag of coffee
- Chocolate block
- Ice-cream (hidden seal on a paper carton tub)
- Plastic label loops on a few new clothes
- Cheese packaging
- 2 birthday gifts that contained plastic (3)

I did pretty well for the first three weeks, almost half of this total happened in the last week, when my no-food-in-the-fridge emergency shop coincided with a produce train having fallen off the tracks (such are the consequences of living in a region that ranks pretty low on the food autonomy scale) leaving some very bare shelves. I also bought some cooler weather outdoor clothes for my upcoming trip to NZ, and I had a birthday.

Dog food: Plastic from dry dog food is pretty unavoidable. There's nowhere that sells dog biscuits in bulk and every brand has some plastic in the packaging. I give my dog a mix of food scraps and biscuits but I plan to try and improve things here.

Milk: I'm finding whether to buy milk in cartons or plastic is a bit of a dilemma. Milk bottles contain more plastic but are completely recyclable. Cartons contain only a thin film but it can't be recycled. On balance, I'm not sure which of the two options is better (and I can't get milk in glass here).

Chocolate: The mini chocs were a work craving fail. The one advantage of avoiding plastic is that it keeps junk food pretty much off the shopping list. One downside is if you fall off the wagon you get to feel doubly guilty. Decided it's time to start my own personal plastic free afternoon cravings stash to hide at the back of the fridge as sometimes the 3pm slump gets the better of me. The other chocolate plastic was of the sneaky variety, a cardboard wrapped brand I'd never bought before it was up to to the eyeballs in green earth friendly credentials.  I expected it to be foil. Fail.

Chicken: My local store had a 50% off deal on frozen chickens from one of Australia's most reputable free range organic chicken farms. They're pricey chooks, it was way too good a deal to pass up. Generally I'm able to get my meat unpackaged.

Coffee: Down to bad planning. I forgot to go to the stall at the weekly market where I normally refill my own bags and I couldn't bear not having my breakfast coffee for a week.

Clothing: Sometimes you can find garments that have tags attached with ribbon or string, but mostly they're plastic. Even in second hand stores.

But, more importantly...Avoided Plastic
- My local store has getting more and more dry goods in bulk these days. I can now get sugar, flour, spiral pasta, chia seeds, oatmeal, sunflower seeds, polenta, almonds, coconut flakes, pearl barley and rice (amongst other items but they're my most common pantry goods). They also do dishwashing liquid and oil refills so filled up a couple of old bottles during the month.
- Made my own yoghurt instead of buying it. It's way easier than I expected. Doing this long term will save an extra 1-2 containers a week.
- Bought cheese in glass jars, wax coated and from the deli (waxed paper wrapped)
- Went fishing and scored some unpackaged fish for dinner!
- Took my own containers to the butcher and was again reminded how much better quality it is than supermarket cuts. 
- My new favourite lunchtime eats place has paper straws! Yay!

My unpackaged pantry
On the downside: Aside from fresh fruit and veg, there's very little choice in terms of where I can buy other items unpackaged. This often means a higher price tag and certain additions to this month's shop were a little hard on the purse - especially as it's all brought up from down south.

1 comment

  1. This is such a brilliant idea. Even though we recycle as much as possible, including some allowable plastics, I am horrified at how much packaging is in both bins by the end of the week.