This blog post was contributed by our wonderful Tweedy Brand Ambassadors; Anais and Elissa
Plastic free July - Part 1 // Ways to help yourself at home
It’s plastic free July! As much as fighting plastic use is something to do all year long, July is a good month to bring awareness around plastic pollution and a great way to start the journey towards a plastic free life.
For my journey, I started small: like many of us I had a reusable water bottle to go to the gym. Then, I applied the same principle with my trips to the coffee shop by getting a reusable coffee cup. Since then I have acquired a whole collection of water bottles and coffee cups that I leave in different bags + my office so I always have one at hand.
My go to? A hydroflask to keep my drink cool especially on hot days, an ecoffee cup (it’s made out of bamboo!) or a keep cup to sip my coffee / tea, and a massive thermos so I have tea at hand on my outdoorsy adventures.
Another easy trick? Plastic bags, I have a reusable canvas bag for my shopping trip, and multiple tote bags to run different errands. I leave them in the entrance at home (so I don’t forget them!), in my car and my bag so I have one at hand whenever I need it!
I then started looking up tips to reduce plastic use on Instagram and trying to replace some items at home. A good way to start is actually going from room to room in your home and check what you could replace with a suitable alternative. What helped me tons with replacing the disposable items I would normally use was discovering package free shops that have emerged in various locations (my favourite is Lemon & Jinja in Romsey) as they will offer a good variety of products, many of which are affordable and easy to get.
My main surprise was bathroom products: I use a soap bar, solid shampoo and conditioner, have a refillable soap dispenser. For toilet paper, a bidet is not to everyone’s liking but some companies will deliver package free loo rolls made out of bamboo (bumboo is a great one). I also have period cups and period pants (bye pads and tampons! We have enough of you in landfill), a safety razor, a refillable deodorant and my mouthwash is solid based too!
In the kitchen, I stopped fighting with cling film and got beeswax wrap, a fabric sandwich wrap, reusable kitchen roll.
For cleaning, white vinegar can be your best friend.
I’ve now bought some containers and go to plastic free shops to refill pantry essentials: sugar, coffee, tea, flour, pasta etc. I also have a reusable produce bag for my fruits & veg shop. Some shops also offer some fruits & veg crates, which don’t use plastic and give you a good variety of products available locally!
Remember though, that avoiding plastic is sometimes not possible and no one is perfect, there are a lot of bumps on that journey!! It is not a reason to beat oneself up for it, we just need everyone to contribute a little rather than one person contributing a lot. :)
Good luck! - Anais 😊
Part 2 // How to handle plastic usage with children
Being asked to write a blog on how to live in a more plastic free way, I decided to approach the blog from a different angle. I have two kids, one nearly 4 and other just turning 9, EVERYTHING when trying to get out the house is pretty much centred around time saving and convenience.
Don’t get me wrong, there is quality control, for the younger the crusts are off the sandwiches, the older has his specific water bottle etc…, but the convenience food, in pretty packages, saves me time and is a more exciting offering to my kids.
So…how do we try and reduce the plastic around convenience with kids? I have a list of tips, some are obvious and some most probably most do anyway, but it doesn’t hurt to reiterate. Some options require a bit more planning, but long term the benefits far outweigh the damage done!
Purchase a sturdy, durable water bottle, instead of plastic bottles to fill up. I find I throw bottles into bags, buggies, cars, caravans etc, so something which can withstand heavy usage. Also get the kids to pick the water bottle, nothing like a bit of ownership and accountability as its ‘their’ water bottle!
Metal straws, reusable straws, anything of this ilk is better than the plastic straws - one usage and in the bin. A slightly higher monetary investment, but they will LAST!!!
Alternative packaging to clingfilm for those pesky crustless sandwiches - paper napkins, beeswax wraps, even banana leaf some people use. I like the paper napkin idea, as they have a wipe for after, as well as provide wrapping for the impending doom of a bashed around sandwich in a lunchbox
My beautiful cousin in New Zealand was telling me they have to send their kids into school with ‘litterless lunches’, she uses a ‘bento box’, a highly durable, reusable container (could be plastic or metal – but reusable), with different compartments – still only the size of a lunchbox. Nothing wasted (assuming your kids eat all their food – that’s another blog for another time!!) and nothing thrown!
If you need to have the convenience food, look for some which are plastic free, or decant from larger boxes/pots into reusable containers. Some of the reusable frozen pouches are fun and could (if your good at sales marketing to your kids) seem like an exciting treat!
Take your kids to the supermarket (I can hear cries of pain suggesting this), but get them to choose their fruit, snacks, you can show them alternatives to the usual options, making them a part of the solution. I feel this has a higher success rate than enforcing a change on them blindly
This is not intended to preach, rather to be viewed with a bit of tongue and cheek, giving some practical suggestions for small sustainable changes which hopefully help (may even be something not thought of). Good luck, and let us know any other cool ideas around reducing plastic usage with kids…
Thanks, Elissa 😊