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Plastic free Lent #1

Like many people, I’ve been trying to cut down on plastic for a while, especially single use plastic. So we’ve all got stainless steel bottles for water; stainless steel straws; reusable, non plastic lunch containers and a beeswax wrap (I keep meaning to make some of my own); moved to milk delivery in glass bottles etc. But I like a challenge and so I decided to try to go plastic free for Lent. Hmm, 4 days in I’m finding that MUCH easier said than done!.  I thought I’d blog about it so I can track my progress.

Day 1: Staying in York with the children at my mum’s house.  Fall off the plastic free wagon immediately due to sub zero temperatures and requiring a coffee to warm up upon arrival the Railway Museum.  2 cups with plastic lids and the dubious “cardboard” cups – are these recyclable? My mum is less on the anti-plastic thing than me so attempting to ignore bread in plastic wrappers, shrink wrapped cucumber and so on.  To be fair she still uses Tupperware from the 1970s and doesn’t throw anything away.  However, think it might be easier to start in earnest at home….

Day 2: This is better as we don’t really leave the house with the exception of taking two children for a walk along by the river.  Still lots of plastic packaging in the house.  Thursday is the day I plan our family meals for the week ahead and sort the Ocado shop. “That won’t be a problem” I naively think.  Suddenly realise that despite attempting to reduce plastic for ages our online shop is still massively packaged in plastic.  Can see solutions for something things – eg order more milk via milkman, buy dry goods from local health food shops – but current problems are frozen veg, own brand Wheatabix and cheese.  Fall asleep dreaming of cheese wheels after texting partner to ask if buying a whole cheese to avoid plastic is taking it too far.

Day 3: After posting my Wheatabix dilemma on Facebook someone has added me to the “Plastic Free Lent” group. Great ideas on here and loads of people head scratching about the same things.  Depressingly though keep discovering things I thought were recyclable (butter wrappers) actually aren’t. Sigh.  Heading back to London so forego buying tea or coffee for the train due to plastic cups.  Take all our lunch in Tupperware but children do have contraband Pom Bears, not even sure what that packaging is, some form of plastic I’m sure.  Console self with thought that they have about 3 packets each a year so …… Still struggling with online shop.  Advice from the Facebook forum is to take containers to shops, but this means finding local shops that have a cheese counter.  Remember there is a Farmer’s Market on Sunday, hurrah, this means I can get meat and cheese there. Partner laughs hysterically at me taking a tea towel to bring home a chicken but children are more up for the challenge. In the end get too exasperated with online shop and can barely make minimum order.  This is unheard of.  Partner looks sad at prospect of so little food entering the house, try to console him by telling him he could take a box to the local butchers for sausages, he doesn’t seem convinced.  In more positive news we get a rare fish and chip take out and its all wrapped in paper (ignoring the evil mushy peas in polystyrene). And I learn to make yoghurt, how have I never done this before?

Day 4: Sad, tiny Ocado shop arrives.  They’ve used 1 bag for 1 packet of rye bread grrrr. I fail with the ridiculously expensive soy sauce I ordered to make minimum delivery amount which the children notice is a glass bottle wrapped in plastic.  And they didn’t have the bread I wanted so have sent a substitution, wrapped in plastic instead of paper. Sigh. At least the rather odd Protein Wheatabix I opted for are wrapped in paper in a cardboard box. On the down side they say they are not suitable for under 3s which means youngest child will have to have something else. List for the local organic/health food shop grows, at least I know all their food is wrapped in biodegradable cellophane.  Yoghurt has set and “looks like yoghurt” says eldest child.  Will they eat it though?  We need chicken feed, realise we can use plastic bucket that we had left over from bulk honey order. Great! Provided they can put it into it. Have sold a couple of things on ebay, only way to package them is to use sellotape although do use paper to wrap.  My mum keeps muttering to me “don’t make life more difficult for yourself than you need to”. Not finding this advice particularly helpful.


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