Plastic Free July: Reducing Food Plastics
Plastic Free July was started by Rebecca Prince-Ruiz (the founder of the Plastic Free Foundation) and a small team in local government in Western Australia back in 2011. It is now one of the most influential environmental campaigns in the world, which sees millions of people give up single-use plastic for the month of July.
Throughout July, I am documenting my attempts to live a fully single-use plastic free month on my Instagram. If you’ve been following my IG/Blog for a while you’ll know I already try to live as plastic free as possible, which I think I’ve pretty much nailed in my cleaning, bathroom and some parts of my food shopping. However, I do struggle with days out and some elements of my weekly food shop…
During July, my Instagram and blog content will be themed around reducing plastic in four key areas of your life and home: Food, Bathroom, Cleaning and On-the-go.
Week one’s focus is: FOOD.
How To Reduce Food Plastics In Your Home:
1. Avoid plastic packed fruit and vegetables.
Try and shop at local veg shops where possible, they’re more likely to sell loose fruit and vegetables. If this isn’t possible, Morrisons are great at providing shoppers with loose produce over the unnecessary plastic wrapped ones. I get all of my veg from McCalls in Manchester city centre.
Reusable produce bags.
2. Seek out zero waste refill stores.
There are more and more refill shops popping up all over the UK. These shops are great for being able to refill all of your dried goods such as pasta, rice, cereals and grains. Simply take along some empty glass jars and fill them up with your store cupboard essentials! My favourites in Manchester are: Ancoats General Store, McCalls Organics, and Lentils & Lather.
3. Use an old fashioned milkman.
Rewind to old times and seek out a local milkman (or woman) that delivers milk in good old glass bottles! Many modern milkmen also deliver plant based milks, so there’s something for every dietary requirement. Alternatively, have a go at making your own plant based milk. Check out my IGTV Oat Milk recipe!
4. Make food from scratch.
Making food from scratch doesn’t take as long as you may think, and it’s way more satisfying.
Three things I found initially difficult to switch out were wraps, pizza and sweet treats, i.e biscuits. My first thoughts were ‘omg I’ll never be able to have fajitas again’. However, I’d never even considered making my own wraps before, and didn’t realise how quick, easy and cheap they were to make. My favourite wrap recipe is here.
You may not be a wrap or pizza lover, but this theory may apply to other favourites of yours that are actually super easy to make yourself, and may even be able to be made in bulk and frozen for future use.
5. Ditch cling film.
There are many affordable options out there for replacing your cling film with. Wax wraps are a great alternative, I use these from Oli Wrap. You simply warm them up with your hands and pop over the top of your bowl. They stay wrapped around a bowl or plate really well and just need a quick rinse with soapy water before using again. They should last for six months or more, and when you’re done with them, just chop them up and pop in your compost bin.
Another alternative, for those who wish to get crafty is to make your own fabric bowl covers! I’ve made a few of these and they’re super handy. There are lots of tutorials online, so make sure to check them out. Alternatively if sewing isn’t your thing, you can buy them here.
Reusable food wraps.
6. Opt for plastic free tea bags.
Did you know that a lot of tea bags actually contain plastic? Clipper organic tea is a great alternative, as well as Tea Pigs. For an even more affordable option, loose leaf tea is a brilliant choice. You can buy washable, reusable tea bags or metal tea infusers which work just as well as disposable tea bags, without the waste.
7. Do your research.
If you do a bit of delving online, there are plastic free alternatives for almost everything. For example, I thought I would have to go a whole month without crisps, as I assumed they all came in unrecyclable packets. While most do, after doing a bit of research I found Two Farmers Crisps. They have created the first 100% compostable crisp packet AND they’re made in England: double bonus! I have since ordered a range of their crisps and am now fully stocked up for months of plastic free, tasty crisp goodness!
Another great example of this is cheese. I love cheese, but unfortunately more often than not it comes in plastic wrapping. I don’t live within walking distance of a cheesemonger (I don’t have a car), but after researching into it I found a local one that delivers, Chorlton Cheesemongers.
It’s simple things like these that can make a huge difference, and you’re supporting local businesses too rather than big corporations. I understand that a lot of people think living plastic free is a big effort, which to begin with it can be. However, if you make small changes once at a time and slowly get into the swing of things, you’ll learn the best ways to source products and it’ll become just as easy as supermarket shopping!
Thanks for reading. You can keep up to date with my Plastic Free July journey over on my Instagram.