This month a campaign is running to raise awareness of plastic pollution and in particular the scourge that is single-use plastic. We must all be aware of the problem by now, so instead of making you miserable by reminding you about the giant floating islands of plastic in the Pacific or the huge number of disposable coffee cups thrown away in the UK, in this post I’ll focus on positive steps you can take to reduce your plastic footprint, and that go beyond the obvious ‘avoid bottled water and disposable spoon’ advice.
We in the Meddwl Coed house have tried a number of new things over the past weeks and months to help us move away from a dependency on supermarket shopping, as part of our One Planet preparations. (To achieve a One Planet footprint, which we must do to be allowed to build on whatever plot of land we eventually buy, we have to grow our own food and process our own waste.) Here are some things that have worked well:
- Buy fruit and veg that comes in its own skin.
- Re-use your old fruit bags. If you forget, we found that Morrison’s in Patchway were more than happy to find some paper bags for us to use – it’s always worth asking! This also works for cheese and meats from the deli counter!
- Take tins or tubs to the butchers and ask them to put your meat inside. You might want to take some grease proof paper for them to rest the meat on for weighing.
- Get your bathroom essentials from Lush, who have a range of ‘naked’ products. I’ve been trying out their shampoo bar, and been really pleased with the results. I have hard-to-manage curly hair, and went in to this fully expecting a headful of frizz due to the lack of conditioner, but it’s worked beautifully.
- For the more adventurous, try cleaning your teeth with bicarbonate of soda and a bamboo toothbrush, or if you’re really after the back-to-nature experience try a tooth twig! I haven’t finished with my old toothbrush yet but will be giving this a go pretty soon and will try to remember to report back.
- Get into home baking. We’re lucky to have time at home for this kind of thing, but if you can fit it in at all, making your own biscuits and cake saves on a bundle of packaging.
- Find a local milk supplier who sells in glass bottles or will fill re-fillable containers for you. Farmers Weekly has an interactive map you can use to find a supplier – we’ve had delicious raw milk from Dora’s Dairy near Swindon and will be trying out the Old Green Dairy near Bristol as soon as our supplies run out again.
It’s never too late to take action, so if you want to join the Plastic Free July project, you can do that here. If there’s anything you’re really struggling to find, contact us and we’ll see if we can help!