Taking part in Plastic Free July over the last couple of weeks has had a much bigger impact on my life then I’d thought it might. Of course it’s highlighted how ubiquitous plastic is, and reduced my recycling bin volume by about half for the fortnight! But I hadn’t initially thought of the flow on effects….
When you’re trying to avoid plastic, you have to plan a lot more. From the simple things like reusable bags and Onya bags, all the way through to bringing your own containers for the leftovers at the Indian restaurant (it was a little embarrassing at the time, but it was worth it the next day
It also makes you more conscious of what you’re going to cook and eat. A little more thought and time has to go into the shopping and preparation, but it’s definitely broadened our repertoire. I’ve learnt to make my own yogurt, not to mention the yummy muesli and crackers from chef Jude Blereau. Plus it made us set up our pantry and essential cook ware (e.g. a pressure cooker for beans to avoid plastic lined tins). Not to mention the unseen health benefits of using whole, fresh, local and ideally organic foods.
Yes, it’s been hard sometimes, and bloody annoying when you get caught out. Like asking for something to be wrapped in paper, only to find the ‘paper’ has plastic lining! But I’ve been amazed at how enjoyable it is when you have a small win. Like getting the butcher to use your own container. Or finding somewhere which has loose veggies not double wrapped in plastic. Best of all is the opportunity for connection. When you go to the local farmers markets you can talk to the people who grow the food. And in the three weekends I’ve gone so far, I’ve twice run into friends. Malls and supermarkets just aren’t conducive to catching up.
Below is a list of resources that have been helpful, please share your tips. And why not take up the Plastic Free July Challenge, it’s not too late to start today!
Alive Organics, Morley
A good range of certified organic, bio-dynamic and chemical-free fruits & vegetables, organic and free range chicken, meat & eggs, as well as the most comprehensive range of organic dried fruits, nuts & seeds in Perth. Also stocks organic packaged goods, natural/chemical-free cosmetics, personal care and cleaning products though quite a few of these come in plastic packaging.
The Goodlife Shop, Midland Gate shopping centre
A basic range of whole foods in bulk bins at very reasonable prices.
Midland Farmers Market, behind Town Hall
Local fresh fruit and veg every Sunday, plus more.
Kakulas Brothers, Northbridge
Huge range of whole foods in bulk bins at very affordable prices.
Manna Wholefoods, Fremantle
Organic and conventional fruit and veggies, with an excellent bulk section (both organic and conventional) in dry and wet (oil, tamari, juice concentrates etc, many in non-plastic packaging). Excellent grocery and dairy section, with a small amount of frozen meat.
Environment House, Bayswater
Large range of eco-products (cleaners, baby products, books, seeds, garden, personal and more).
Planet Ark, Fremantle
Sells eco-friendly household cleaning products, soap, shampoo, conditioner and items such as vinegar in bulk containers – you can either have your original container refilled (which they prefer) or bring along your own container to be filled. Staff is particular about the sorts of containers they will fill so please check with them first.
Kalamunda Farmers Markets
Stock Sunnydale milk in glass bottles, as well as the usual fruit/veg, preserves and baked goods.
Ash n Juls
A selection of sustainable and plastic-free solutions such as lunch boxes, drink bottles, kitchen ware, cleaning products, etc.
The Tinderbox are a WA based company who sell beauty products made primarily from organic, vegan ingredients mostly packaged in glass and shipped in biodegradable material. Their products depend heavily on essential oils and smell divine!
Online store selling natural options for cleaning, personal hygiene, beauty products and much more. Also has a good range of ingredients for making your own skin care products.
The Self-Sufficiency Shoppe
A number of booklets available for purchase on all aspects of sustainable living, such as green cleaning, skin and hair care and personal hygiene, herbs, preserving, etc. From the Raw Materials page ingredients for making your own cleaning and beauty products are available very cheaply.
Natural Beauty Basics by Dorie Byers. An extensive collection of recipes for making products such as skin and hair care, deodorants, soaps and toothpaste.
Plastic-Free: How I kicked the plastic habit and how you can too by Beth Terry. All the tips and tricks from the guru of plastic free-living.