Today I bought milk – in a plastic bottle – but not for me, so I don’t feel it counts.
I pretty much managed a totally plastic-free day today. I shopped at the local farm shop where all the veg I bought was loose and both the butchery and the cheese counter obliged to only wrap in paper rather than extra plastic bags. Unfortunately the labels they stuck on each packet were plasticky and, when I opened the can of beans I’d bought there, I found it had a narrow strip of plastic film inside it. I’m wondering what becomes of this film though. I imagine that cans get melted down in the recycling process so does this little strip simply get burned away? I will do some research.
Later my husband picks up some of my prints from the framers. They have a plastic wrap around the outer edges to hold them together and protect them. I don’t feel like I’ve “bought” this as such although it is very much single-use plastic that has just ruined my day!
I pop into a supermarket for a lunch snack and there’s not a great deal in there that doesn’t involve plastic! ALL of the organic fruit and veg are wrapped in it. I don’t even bother scouring the shelves for anything that isn’t but manage to get some onion bhajis from the deli counter in a paper bag – it does have a plastic sticker on it though. Later I pop to the greengrocer’s where everything is gloriously loose. I fill the basket with lots of lovely fruits and vegetables. Something else I need is a birthday card – they’re ALL wrapped in plastic of course so I decide to make my own instead.
I’m bleeding today and it’s one of those days when I just want to eat and eat and eat. I’m working in the restaurant all day so I’m able to eat there but later on I need a snack and it can’t be sugary. I go to the health food shop but, apart from fruit which isn’t filling enough, there’s nothing available that isn’t wrapped in plastic. I fancy a smoothie – filling and easily digested – but there are none here so I go for a glass jar of kefir. I know it has plastic on the inside of the lid but this feels like an emergency situation and I will re-use the jar.
I don’t buy any plastic today whatsoever. I’m house sitting for a friend and she’s left mozzarella in the fridge to be eaten up so we still get to have a treat!
I don’t buy anything with plastic today apart from the sticker on the sausages at the farm shop again.
Today my husband bought two sacks of compost. It wasn’t until afterwards that I realised that, of course, the bags are plastic and, since I was giving him the money for one of them, I inadvertently bought it.
Today I needed to go to the Post Office and also wanted to buy some fish for my husband’s dinner. I decided to venture to our local small town though, with further thought, I knew I wouldn’t be able to get fish that wasn’t wrapped in plastic there. I remembered that there’s a Fish Deli in the next town along so I went there instead. I told them I was doing Plastic Free July and they said they only ever wrap the fresh fish in paper anyway. Next I needed something for myself so I took a pot of their homemade hummous, in a vegware container. Since my last vegware purchase I’ve read that they have to be in a temperature of at least 40 degrees to break down. What are the chances of that in the UK? Perhaps it is possible inside a vast rotting heap in Summer though I’m not so sure. Bio-plastics certainly do assuage consumer guilt, but do they really work in practice? The best thing to do seems to be to take your own containers everywhere you can and shop in places that will accept them without question. The woman in the fish deli told me that they are all about sustainability so she was glad to hear I was shopping there especially because of it although I paid over £10 for two items so not very personally sustainable I have to say!
Everything was pointing to a Spanish omelette for tonight’s dinner except that old fall-down, the milk. Fortunately, still being on my house sit, there was a large carton of milk in the fridge and it was still usable, so I made a huge omelette! Apart from that I only bought a few loose fruits but instructed my husband to get his own sausages since I wasn’t venturing anywhere that wouldn’t wrap them in plastic. I almost bought a tin of beans but that little plastic film inside would have scuppered things so instead I used peas (from the house sit freezer) which my husband doesn’t really like, so I hid them in the depths of the omelette and he was none the wiser.
I have to admit that so far this week I’ve been looking forward to the end of this month when I can buy anything at my own convenience again. However, there’s a big part of me that really can’t continue to do that. I’m feeling that if I can get my shit together I can get better at this. I can soak dried pulses ready to cook the next day, I can switch to water kefir, I can keep taking my own containers out shopping and I might even be able to source milk straight from the dairy in one of them. I live off-grid, without a fridge, so I shop pretty much everyday for food anyway and don’t eat a huge amount of dairy products or we use them up very quickly. Summer has, as usual, been pretty hectic and I haven’t been in a good groove with myself but rather just about getting by with some half-decent nutrition. When Autumn comes I’ll be much more ready and able to come home to myself and lick this thing!
Cheryl Tipple-Trepat is a writer, artist and Editor of She Who Knows Magazine, currently undergoing the challenge of Plastic Free July!
Isabella Lazlo is a mother and an artist dedicated to bringing through the voice of the feminine in service of healing and re-balancing upon our Earth. As Editor at She Who Knows, a new and inspiring woman's magazine, she weaves an ever-expanding rich tapestry of voices from today's leading women, the inspirational, impassioned, heartfelt voices of women who care for our Earth and serve as midwives in the birth of a new world.