Wow! June is gone already. Time is flying and we hit the half-year mark, in no time supermarkets will start the whole Christmas decoration thing. Again. My birthday is also in July, so get ready for a cake/tart recipe. And also, it’s Plastic Free July! (Phew!) Have you heard of it?
This campaign consists basically in avoiding single-use plastics during the month of July (self-explanatory really). It seems like a not so challenging thing to do but if you look attentively, you’ll notice that single-use plastics are EVERYWHERE! Take-away cups, containers, straws, cling wrap, plastic bags, pads, nappies and the list goes on.
I could spend the whole month talking about it really, but I’ll keep it within kitchen range this time. Avoiding plastic and maintaining the kitchen plastic free is not exactly easy, but it’s totally doable and once you get the hang of it, it’s just so much better and practical to work around it. Also, you don’t have to do every single thing at once. Start slowly and build your plastic free kitchen one step at a time.
In the Plastic Free July website (here) you can find all information and resources needed to start the challenge and join the campaign. Great stuff right there plus lots of resources.
I started to join the plastic-free movement about 2 years ago. I wanted to have a cleaner, more organised pantry and I love the idea of keeping everything tidy in my kitchen. Obviously, habits don’t change overnight, so I had to work around the fact that I don’t always have the time to cook and we are always rushing around trying to get things done. Plus, we are now sharing a place with friends so we have to adapt to their reality too.
So here are some of the things that I already do and that I’ll be adapting to my reality to reduce the usage of single-use plastics in the next month (and for the rest of the year too!).
How to Create a Greener & Cleaner ‘Plastic Free’ Pantry:
Start Using Reusable Shopping Bags:
One of the worst offenders when it comes to plastic are the dreaded plastic bags. They pollute the oceans and take hundreds of years to decompose. Make a clever switch and avoid plastic bags when offered. Take your own shopping bags to the supermarket too, just keep them in the car. Or get a folded one which you can keep in your bag.
Buy in Bulk:
Since I found out about a shop that sells pretty much all my pantry items in bulk, I’ve made the switch and couldn’t be happier. They sell (almost) everything. From flours and rice to soap and softener. All natural, some organic and all is waste free. You can even take your jars, so you won’t have to use their paper bags. If you’re in Australia and is looking for one that is near you, click here.
Make your Food from Scratch:
Making your own pasta, sauces may sound difficult but it’s possible and you can make in advance, otherwise, choose products that come in a box instead of a plastic wrap, like Barilla.
Use Fruit & Veggie Bags:
Instead of using plastic bags for your fruit and vegetables, make or buy your own with thin cloth or muslin. Or if you can, avoid it at all. You probably don’t need a bag for just 2 apples anyways.
Keep the Jars!
I love jars! I have heaps of them and I had more before moving but had to give lots away as a lack of space. They are handy to store your bulk produce and keep it safe from pests and bugs. They are also reusable and they make your pantry look absolutely fabulous and easier to navigate! You can make jams, conserves and sauces. And you can even put them in the freezer with sauces and other conserves.
Pack Your Lunch:
Instead of buying a take-away for lunch, make your own ahead and take with you to work in glass container. It will save you money in the long term (even at the end of the week) and you’ll be saving a lot of plastic that otherwise would wasted after 15 minutes of use.
Use you Own Cutlery when Eating Out:
If you end up having take away and the restaurant doesn’t offer silverware, just bring your own cutlery and keep a set in your bag, ready to whenever you need it.
And your own cup:
Grabbing a coffee or tea is a necessity for many, but having cups that cannot be recycled thrown out everywhere is unnecessary. So just buy yourself one good and reusable cup that you can take with you or keep at work. It will make your cuppa taste a lot better.
Don’t Forget your Bottle:
Buy yourself a good reusable bottle. And use it at all times! We have lots of bottles at home and we don’t leave the house without it.
Say NO to Straws:
Just simply don’t use a straw but if you have to and need a straw, buy your own glass or steel straw to use anywhere. Remember to carry it with you too.
There’s always something we can do to reduce our usage and impact in the environment, so if we all get together to change simple habits, we can make the difference. Below, there are some other links where you can find information and more resources to rid your life of plastic (or avoid it when you can).
Share it with your friends and let me know what other ways you have to avoid the use of plastic. Would love to hear from you.
Peace and love,
Aluminium Bottles & Coffee Cups:
Glass & Steel Straws: