|Image from Blue Planet|
Many of us have been haunted by Blue Planet’s recent images of marine life struggling to survive in the tide of plastic created by our society, and also heartened to hear the UK government is considering a levy on plastic packaging.
Angela from the Education Team responded to the Marine
Conservation Society’s “Plastic free June”
Challenge in 2017, and for the last 6 months has continued the challenge and reduced her plastic landfill
from half a binbag to just one handful. Check out this before and after photo! The
cost of plastic free living was estimated to be only £10 extra over the
experiment, so it made sense economically too. https://www.mcsuk.org/plastic-challenge/
|Before and After Landfill|
Reducing my plastic footprint during 2017 has been really eye opening in finding alternatives to my plastic lifestyle and I thought I’d share my experiences here, as it has been life changing. I decided to start with eliminating single use plastics for landfill, and in the future hope to reduce the amount of plastic I put into my recycling box. Here are my experiences and seven tips to reducing your plastic footprint.
1. Fruit & Veg
I found a limited amount of plastic free fruit and veg in the supermarkets, so spent a couple of weeks
exploring local greengrocers, farm shops and veg box
schemes. For me, local Derwen Farm Shop and Shrewsbury Market are now my go to
places. Additionally, the veg patch is great for salads and seasonal fruit and
vegetables that are impossible to buy without plastic wrapping.
|Plastic Free Supermarket Shop|
2. Meat and Dairy
I take tupperware boxes to my butcher’s counter at the supermarket, whch has led to lots of interested enquiries from the butchers and the till staff, who all think it is a great idea. Derwen Farm Shop do the same with their cheese counter. My next challenges are milk (I am investigating glass doorstep deliveries) and yoghurt. My homemade yoghurt experiment was not very tasty, so more research and practise needed!
3. Bread, Cakes and Biscuits
Homebaking has been a lovely new habit to form! Meditative kneading of dough and the smell of baking have been brilliant new additions to homelife. Another unintended consequence is that we now value these as treats, and are eating less sugary food.
4. Store Cupboard
A local Shropshire organic farm, Pimhill, supply many local shops with paper sacks of porridge oats so breakfast is sorted! Rice, pasta and pulses have proved tricky to source as they come in plastic single use bags. Until a zero wate shop comes to rural Welshpool, I am using boxed rice from Uncle Ben, lasagne for pasta and canned pulses. http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/food-and-drink/bulk-makert-recycling-zero-waste-first-plastic-free-market-london-hackney-a7924781.html
|Shower bars of shampoo and conditioner|
LUSH shampoo and conditioner bars are expensive, but the “naked” packaging and lovely smells are worth it. LUSH also stock toothpaste powder and deodarant bars. Soaps are a good plastic free alternative to shower gel, but a small challenge to get them in card or naked packaging.
I have experimented with homemade toothpaste using coconut oil, bicarb of soda and salt, which is very effective. My bamboo
toothbrush is also a winner, £3.95 from
|Homemade toothpaste & bamboo brush|
Local wholefood stores stock toilet rolls (Ecoleaf) and plastic free sanitary products (Naturecare) in corn starch biodegradable wrappings.
6. Tea and coffee
I love using my travel mug to get my occasional fix of coffee, whilst out and about. Sometimes I’ll make it at home and it keeps hot for an hour, other times coffee shops will fill it. Buying tea and coffee without plastic packaging from the supermarkets has proved elusive, aside from herbal Pukka teas and Dr Stuart. I’ve still some research and lobbying to do with most beverage companies.
Keen to continue my plastic free habits into the festive period, I reused wrapping paper from last year, bought gifts from charity shops and made Christmas postcards from last year’s cards. Inspired from Preston Montford’s 60th birthday open day, I made a wreath from plants in my garden and made tree decorations from natural materials (dried oranges and gingerbread biscuits)
6 months into the challenge, and I have reduced my plastic footprint to a handful of landfill per month and am enjoying the slower lifestyle associated with growing and baking. Alternative products only cost me an estimated £20 extra per year, so it makes sense economically too. If you are inspired to make some changes – try a plastic free week, month or just change one thing about your lifestyle. I warn you, it is addictive and once tried, you’ll never turn back to plastic again! For forums and further tips look on https://www.mcsuk.org/plastic-challenge/
Preston Montford's Plastic Free Packed Lunches
We already stock paper bags for packed lunch and are no longer stocking plastic bottles of drink in our shop. Instead we are encouraging our visitors to bring a lunchbox and either bring or purchase one of our reusable water bottles.