I gazed down the supermarket aisles in awe. I felt confused, confounded, hungry. My confidence in my ability to survive this month with ease had dissipated with my first step into the store. Everything was coated in plastic, even most of the vegetables. My grin turned to a grimace. How would I feed our household? Every loaf of bread, including the organic and varieties was in a plastic bag. Every box of soy milk had one of those plastic screw tops. I simply couldn’t buy cheese. It’s not even an option for July in our house. I had a little dance in the pasta aisle as I discovered the only BOX of pasta… with no plastic at all. Thank goodness! In the Plastic Free July group that I belong to, people are singing the same tune: I didn’t realise how much single-use plastic had infiltrated our world until I tried to exist without it. Fortunately I can buy stuff from my local gourmet store (Blue Ginger), they have bins of flour and rice and paper bags as an option to put it into.
We’re going to be making our own bread this month, we’re going to be eating kefir cheese made out of Bannister Downs Milk. We’re getting inventive. Once you really think about it, single-use plastic is so ubiquitous that we take it for granted. We don’t even bat an eyelid at purchasing stuff packaged in plastic and putting it into plastic and taking it home and then throwing the plastic out when we’re done with it. Everyday. In every household. Across the Western world.
Here’s a challenge: next time you’re at the shops, try to do your whole shop without buying anything in plastic, see how far you get. it’s so normalised that we don’t even question it. Why aren’t we looking into other options? I just don’t understand.
Even after this month I’m going to be dedicated to using as little plastic as humanly possible. I can’t justify criticising Western consumption of plastic if I’m not willing to do anything about it myself. In fact, I really shouldn’t criticise at all, so I’m going to try not to, I’m going to try and be positive and make the kinds of changes I want to see in the world.
My mum is also doing Plastic Free July, she’s a bit of a legend, actually. She’s sewn some netting bags for taking to the shops to put vegetables and fruit in. I’m going to be trying a whole heap of things actually, one of my friends knits sponges out of old t-shirts. I’m super keen to try that out and I’ll totally post all about it.
How do you cut down on your plastic usage? I want to now your ideas… the more I can learn the better!