Getting Ready for Plastic Free July : what we're doing this year

Going plastic free is easier if you have a stock of easily usable bags at the ready. 

Going plastic free is easier if you have a stock of easily usable bags at the ready. 

Last year we participated in Plastic Free July, and were quite shocked at just how hard it was to avoid single use plastic. From frozen peas in plastic packs to hardware items in plastic bubble shells, plastic packaging has really got out of control. 

But here's a chance to take back some control. By choosing which single use plastic items you will try to avoid for the month of July, you can really start to make a difference to the way you shop - and hopefully learn some tips to apply for the rest of the year. Because even baby steps are a step in the right direction, and can easily become a good habit. 

5 Easy Things to do for Plastic Free July

  1.  Stock up on a collection of organic cotton produce bags, and keep them in the car, by the front door, and keep one tucked in your bag so you'll always be ready for impromptu purchases. We have found the little drawstring organic calico bags terrific for purchasing nuts, rolled oats, rice and dry goods. 
  2. Buy your bread from the local bakery. Keep organic cotton net bags, or calico bags, at the ready to hand over to your local baker. They can then slice your selected bread on their machine, and pop it straight into your bags. We have also purchased a couple of Onya bread bags, so we can transfer the freshly sliced bread into them and pop them in the freezer. Made from recycled plastic, they are generously large and keep the bread really fresh in the freezer. When we defrost it, we then put it back into a clean cotton bread sack, and it keeps very well.  
  3. Go antique shopping for wicker baskets! Vintage picnic baskets make fantastic shopping baskets - and can generally be picked up for a song from charity stores. Perfect for purchasing fresh fruit & veggies, as the items can be popped in loose. Bonus points for looking so fabulous that you'll be inspired to start cooking up those delicious market finds too. 
  4. Keep a few old-fashioned string net bags in the vintage picnic basket, and you'll be set for larger purchases too. As they easily expand, yet take up so little room when empty, these have become a favourite item to have at the ready. We purchased a bag made from recycled cotton while in Edinburgh recently, which is beautifully soft. But there are also organic cotton versions around - or hemp, which is inherently a strong fibre so ideal for bulkier purchases.
  5. Explore bulk food stores in your area. These may be one of the growing list of dedicated bulk food stores, where you can buy lots of grains, cereals, nuts and dried fruit in bulk, but also check out traditional Continental style Delicatessens, which often have sacks full of legumes and nuts that you can buy without plastic packaging. 

    To find our more about Plastic Free July, you can visit the website to pledge which items you will try to avoid, or find handy tips. It's not a competition to see who can be the cleverest at zero-waste - and it's not a do all or do nothing dilemma. It's just about taking back control of the way we live, to be a little kinder to the planet, one little everyday action at a time. And that's something that's easy to do all year round.

style + substance

keep a couple of chic string bags in your car boot and purse for impulse shopping so you can say "no thanks" to the plastic bag