Plastic Free July? Challenge Accepted

This July I’m going to attempt the Plastic Free July challenge by refusing single-use plastic! The official website suggests choosing from two different levels of participation: Attempting to refuse all single-use plastic or refusing the top four — plastic bags, bottles, takeaway coffee cups, and straws. I already use reusable shopping bags, a stainless steel drink bottle and a reusable coffee cup, and straws are something I encounter about once a year on average, so I’ve signed up for the harder challenge.

Now I’ll have to admit upfront that going completely plastic-free would require some dietary changes that I’m not quite prepared to make just yet, in particular giving up milk and yoghurt. New Zealand’s last glass milk bottling plant closed down in 2005, which means the only options are plastic or tetrapak. While looking for alternatives, I did come across the suggestion to buy powdered milk from bulk bins. However, having recently learned that milk powder is made using coal-fired boilers, I’d rather buy it fresh! I will try to cut back on the amount of dairy I consume, but ultimately my July will be more in the spirit of “plastic a lot less” than “plastic free”.

I plan to post a tally of the plastic waste I generate each week — some of which will be recyclable (like those plastic milk bottles and yoghurt containers) — and talk about what is and isn’t working for me. I’ll also have a go at the extra challenge posed by The Non-Plastic Maori of picking up plastic from my local beach each week.

Wish me luck!

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6 thoughts on “Plastic Free July? Challenge Accepted

  1. though I try there is always the sticky must have items that come not only in plastic but swear swear plastic moulded packaging …. what to do? !!!!!
    this applies in so many fields from buying batteries ok so use rechargeables to hardware – living here requires maintenance and a lot of building goes on from time to time and gone gone gone are the days when you could order a pound of nails and they weighed it out and popped it into a brown paper bag.
    I order organic seeds to plant but they come in a tiny plastic zip locked bag and so it goes on…
    best thing really is to hide in the sand for the month of july and then spring up feeling virtuous but if you have to do it well then the best of luck to you.

    • I’m not sure that it’s possible to avoid all plastic packaging, no matter how hard one tries. But I’ve been reminded several times recently not to let perfect be the enemy of good – and it sounds like you’re miles ahead of the average person, so well done!

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