My big sustainable living challenge for this month is Plastic Free July. What is Plastic Free July?
It’s a challenge, started in Australia, and being accepted each year by people all around the world. The goal is to raise awareness of the problems from single-use plastics, and to encourage people to build new habits by choosing to refuse (#choosetorefuse) single use plastic.
Folks choosing to take on the challenge can do it in whatever way is right for them: focus on a particular habit (disposable water bottles or straws, perhaps), try to reduce across the board, or try to go completely 100% plastic free. I’m trying to reduce across the board, and today is Day 1 for me and my first trip to the food co-op with the challenge in mind.
So how did I do?
I had some real successes, which should be celebrated. In the bulk bins I was able to get tofu, corn chips, walnuts, coffee, licorice candy, and grated parmesan cheese. All of that went into reused and reusable containers and bags.
I also got my produce all either in bags I am reusing or just in their own skins … produce doesn’t always need to be wrapped in plastic! It might be wet, yes, but that problem can be worked around.
And I bought some locally made yogurt that comes in a mason jar … which I can then reuse again and again.
But it wasn’t all good. I couldn’t find any milk in glass bottles (other than goat milk, which my kids just don’t like), so I got it in plastic. I have a re-use for that bottle, but still. And then the other ingredients for lasagna also came in plastic. Cheese is going to be hard. Of course, there are other issues with dairy products, so maybe I just need to wean us off dependence on it at all.
Then here is the worst of it: the clamshell package. This packaging is not recyclable, not reusable, and pretty awful wasteful. Small stuff, like berries, almost always come packaged this way. I know all this, and yet I bought these blue berries anyway because I want to make a 4th of July cake tomorrow. I have strawberries in my garden, but not blueberries. So here I made a deliberately bad-for-the-planet choice for the sake of a holiday cake.
It’s just day 1. Let’s see how the rest of the month goes!