Seven days have passed since the beginning of Plastic Free July, and we have survived Canada Day, community events, and what feels like endless amounts of rain. This week had its fair share of ups and downs, but here is what our team has learned taking on the challenge over the past week.
Kathryn: “We are roughly a week into Plastic Free July and what I’ve found the most troublesome is pet supplies. I get biodegradable clean up bags for the dog, but I don’t know how well they degrade outside of a compost pile. Cat and dog food comes in plastic or plastic-lined bags. I have three cats and a dog bigger than some miniature horses, so buying food in bulk in a reusable container isn’t really practical!
The biggest thing I’ve learned is how to prepare larger quantities of food at home and bring baked goods or leftovers in my own containers, rather than buying granola bars or getting take out.”
Clare: “My Plastic Free July has started off with a bit of a struggle but it’s called a challenge for a reason. It is interesting to actually see how many products actually contain plastics in them. I have done my best to cut back on my own plastic use but it requires preparation, openness and plenty of room for mistakes. I accidentally bought hummus in a plastic container the other day but this made me search for an alternative. Apparently, some local stores which make their own hummus will allow you to bring in your own container and charge you by weight. My friend who is also taking the challenge as well has ordered drink and received a plastic straw a few times. So I purchased some lovely stainless steel straws from terra20 on Wellington St W. yesterday. The packaging had plastic surrounding the straws but hopefully this will cut back on using actually plastic straws. The package contains 4 stainless steel straws in total so I will spread the love and give one to friends and family!”
Amanda: “My plastic Free July is off to a slow start. As a Zero Waster, I am tripping up more than I would have expected given the fact that I’m hyperaware of the waste I create, but that just means I have goals to work towards for next week! I’m going to head into next week being more prepared than I am now. I will make plans so I know exactly what I need for each day, and that way I can make food from home. Almost all of my waste has been from eating out, such as cup lids. I’m too shy to ask for a drink into my mason, that has to change soon, and the only options are a paper cups with plastic lids/straws (thank you stainless reusables!) or an entirely plastic bottle. I should forgo the drink all together but sometimes the meal is actually less expensive with the drink, so it’s a hard choice. But more planning, and more eating healthy meals from home will hopefully all but eliminate the plastic in my life from here on out.”
Josh: “I ran into a few problems trying to celebrate Canada Day, such as encountering a temporary tattoo with a plastic cover, a bracelet that had to be thrown away, but otherwise for the most part it’s been smooth sailing!”
Zheng Xin: “Something that I have struggled with recently during Plastic Free July is being conscious of everyday purchases when I am on the go. For example, I prepare the night before my lunch is a glass container and bring reusable water bottles for work. However, getting my morning coffee with a plastic lid is something I do without even thinking about it, or accepting a straw with my cocktail when I am out for drinks. These instances that are not always planned in my day to day activities are when I have to check myself to make sure I am not consuming plastic. The key is more preparation, and to remember that it is not as easy as just packing my lunch in tupperware and not using throwaway cutlery.”
Collectively, our goals are to plan better, cook more from home, and be more conscious about our consumption of the products around us. With 24 days left to go, we have plenty of time to act upon our plans and hit our goals with a bit of effort and determination.
What are your successes and trip-ups from your first week of Plastic Free July? Comment below and let us know.
And for all of you out there reading about Plastic Free July for it’s not too late to join in on the fun! There are still 24 days left in the challenge so check out our first article on how to get started, and reduce your plastic consumption for the better.