Updated: Jul 30, 2022
Have you ever wanted to be more eco friendly? Have you ever decided to try to reduce your plastic consumption or even get rid of all plastic together?
July is plastic free month and a good time to get started.
Follow us on Facebook for some awesome tips on how you can reduce plastic in your everyday life or check how we are doing here.
How to become plastic free:
1 - Carry reusable canvas shopping bags.
Don't get caught short and have to buy a plastic bag at the supermarket. Instead be prepared by already having one in your handbag, workbag or in your car.
2 - Re-think your milk.
Get your self a good old-fashioned milkman. Get milk delivered right to your door in glass bottles that you can then give back to said milkman to re-use.
3 - Carry your own re-useable mug.
Most coffee shops will be happy to make your take away coffee in your own cup instead of using one of theirs and some even give you a discount for doing so.
4 - Carry your own containers for take away food.
Ask if they will serve it in your container instead of their own plastic ones. If they won't tell them why they should and lecture them about the environment.
5 - Get an ice-cream cone as a treat.
Don't buy ice-cream as there are no plastic free alternatives. Instead have an ice-cream cone as a treat once in while when you got out and you'll feel healthier for it as well.
6 - Say no to frozen food.
Again nearly all frozen food comes in plastic and there aren't many plastic free alternatives. So limit the amount of frozen food you buy and again you will feel healthier for it.
7 - Buy cheese wheels not portions.
Since cheese usually come wrapped in plastic but a full wheel comes sealed in wax it's a no brainer.
8 - Make your own condiments & snacks.
You can then store them in glass jars in the fridge and say no to plastic packaging.
9 - Lobby your local council.
Write a letter or email explaining why plastic is not welcome in your community.
10 - Make your own glue
Yes, you read all that correctly.
A quick google search brings a plethora of tips, advice and ideas to achieving a plastic free life. The thing is as I started reading these helpful articles I started feeling like the whole idea was getting less and less achievable and more and more into the realms of fantasy.
The above are versions of just a few of the suggestions I encountered. Most of which didn't feel at all achievable to little old me. The posts didn't seem to be speaking to someone with limited funds, not a lot of free time, full time work, 2 kids and a man child to take care of. And it especially didn't feel very feasible to my current monthly shopping routine and efforts to reduce our monthly outgoings. Who has time to make their own glue? To make all their own snacks and condiments? I certainly don't have time or the inclination...if you can't find it plastic free just don't buy it...wait no more Cadbury's? WHAT?!? Don't even get me started on the make your own pet food and use baking soda as deodorant.
Luckily I'm only joking with my list...well for the most part.
Let's look at some ideas that I think are easier and cheeper to implement and that don't mean you will never eat crisps again.
No need to go silly.
Grow ensemble has some great advice in their blog post , the first of which is 'progress not perfection'. You are not trying to do it all at once. 100 ideas, or even 50, to go plastic free is too many to digest, too many to implement and too many to even understand.
It is very difficult to rid yourself of all plastic - think about what your windows are made off? PVC window are by far more efficient and save you money so changing them out for expensive hard to find, hard to maintain and don't stop the heat form escaping wooden windows. In my mind I'm going for a reduction of waste and in particular a reduction of single use plastic that you use once and then throw away.
Try one thing at a time. Some thing may work for you, some may not. If you try everything all at once they nothing may seem like it works. Choose something easy do that one first then slowly progress.
In the VFJ Pilates household we have started by finding a good old fashioned Milkman.
Want to know what else our family does to reduce plastic and waste then check out this blog post.
I'm always a big believer of not depriving yourself. It doesn't work when trying to live a healthier lifestyle and I don't believe it will work when trying to reduce plastic. There are plenty of viable alternatives or ways to reduce plastic without having to cut ice-cream, or your favourite treat, out of your life. If you really love ice-cream, like I love coffee, just not buying it might not be an option for you. Most ice-cream does, unfortunately, come in plastic tubs but what if you swapped what ice-cream you eat? Most supermarkets do their own versions of the Cornetto, even Aldi, and they often come in cardboard boxes individually wrapped in paper, no plastic in sight and you aren't suddenly breaking the bank by switching to an expensive brand.
Other easy alternatives include shampoo bars, face cloth instead of face wipes, deodorant bars, buy loose fruit and veg and bring your own produce bag for more easy to implement, budget friendly ideas check out our list here.
Reduce - Reuse - Recycle
I also think there's no use in beating yourself up. If a plastic free life isn’t currently attainable for you then live by the recycling mantra instead. After all re-using something is a lot better than throwing it away. So take your cues from the recycling mantra.
Reduce doesn’t just mean elimimate. Buy in bulk and whilst you are still buying products in plastic packaging but there will be less of it over time. I buy washing up liquid, bleach and liquid hand soap in bulk and have refillable reusable containers for all.
If you can’t reduce how can you reuse? Plastic ice-cream tubs make excellent storage for many things. They have lids that snap shut, they are stackable and easy to clean. Growing up I remember storing toys in ice-cream tubs, my mum storing sewing things them and my dad using them to store nuts and bolts in the garage.
If you can’t reuse then absolutely make sure you recycle. I’m a big believer that recycling is the very least we should all be doing. Just make sure you do it properly. Clean the tub first, no one wants rats and here in the UK recycling loads can be rejected and sent to landfill if contaminated. Remove anything that can’t be recycled such as film or anything that belongs in a different recycling bin such as cardboard for the same reason. Don’t just assume there is a recycling fairy that sorts all everything for you. Even if you are doing the above remember you are doing just the bare minimum so step up.
How We Can Help.
Did you know that it's hard to find fitness equipment that is both environmentally friendly and budget friendly? Supermarkets such as Aldi are commited to reducing single use plastic and are making head-roads by selling things like yoga blocks in cardboard packaging. But every time I have ordered a yoga mat online they have always come wrapped in plastic so we still have a ways to go.
Here at VFJ Pilates we can help, all be it in an unconventional way. Buy joining one of our live online classes or courses, or by purchasing one of our memberships you will be able to attend from the comfort of your own living room. There is no need to buy special equipment, no need to buy a mat. Carpet and items such as dog leads, scarfs, belts, small firm cushions or rolled up pillows all make excellent substitutes for mini balls and yoga belts.
There is also no need to buy any specific sports tops or yoga pants just wear something you already have that you feel comfortable in.
So by joining us live online or on demand you are reducing the amount of single use plastic you consume.
So where have you decided to start your journey?
At least even Greenpeace recognises a plastic free life is unavoidable and that the real enemy is single-use plastic.