Plastic free week - Challenge Accepted

I have generally been conscious (mortified) by the amount of plastic I bring into the house, however my efforts to reduce it have have not exactly been ground-breaking, and have largely depended on convenience. Apparently there is such a thing as plastic Lent, which I have missed, so I thought I might attempt a belated one. Fortunately my Ocado shop (shame!) arrived a few days ago so I am pretty well stocked, but no matter, no time like the present right?

Day 1:

Brimming with "new project enthusiasm" I scan my kitchen, laundry room and bathroom, and embark on a research journey. Thank goodness for the internet! Within a few hours and feeling very smug and accomplished I have bought:

A laundry egg

A refillable washing up liquid bottle (not entirely plastic free but significantly less plastic)

Eco-friendly washing up liquid in commercial refill size

Natural and eco-friendly shampoo, conditioner and soap bars (very sceptical)

Natural, reusable and eco-friendly food wraps

Wooden washing up brush

Bamboo toothbrushes

Natural and plastic free sanitary products

I think that's enough plastic cleansing for one day! Very excited!

Day 2:

Plastic-free (almost) washing up combo working a treat. Love it and will not go back!

Laundry egg surprisingly effective and will considerably reduce my weekly plastic wate foot-print AND save a tonne of money! Another keeper.

The kids and I are using the bamboo toothbrushes but husband less convinced. May have to shop around for other models? Very aware of how much plastic waste toothpaste produces! Also our dentist has really recommended we keep using our electric toothbrushes.. so we shall see....

Now moving on to foods. This is where things get tricky.

Headed to the bakery full of optimism.

Some fresh bread please... smug smug... but wait..., they are putting it into a plastic bag! Plastic fail! I would have asked for it as it was, except that I had asked them to slice it.... oh well, a lesson for next time; do not ask for sliced, or then bring my own "bread bag" - will have to investigate this option when I get back home. (Am ignoring the fact that I am running out of things to put ON the bread, and am very aware that this is going to pose a challenge and a half in itself, but will leave that for another day...)

Veg - slightly less problematic. Local food market sells all its fruit and veg package free. Hurrah! And it is mostly all seasonal as well! Bonus!

Pasta and rice - luckily I am well stocked at the moment, but looking around I can see that I am going to struggle with this. Where are the zero waste shops when you need them?! (Perhaps also a project for anther day....??)

Day 3:

Soap bars and hair products surprisingly effective, and they go a long way! Not too keen on the lavender smell, so will look for alternatives next time, but pleased they come in recycled paper packaging.

Also got me thinking about toilet paper... I use recycled toilet paper and always have, however it comes in plastic packaging!!! Will investigate plastic-free alternatives....

Day 4:

Received my first fruit and egg delivery from farmaround. All the fruit is organic and comes loose in a recycled paper bag. The eggs for the family are from rescue hens and 100% cruelty-free, and everything comes in recycled packaging, which they reuse if you give it ack to them. Have also started making banana bread and other sweet and savoury snacks for the kid's packed lunches, instead of buying individually wrapped cakes and nibbles. Slowly getting into a new, plastic-reduced routine and it feels less daunting now, dare I say achievable?

Day 5:

Today has not been a good day. Having spent the last few days obsessing over plastic, it is now all I see, and it is everywhere!!!!!!!!! Everywhere I look, everywhere I turn there is plastic. The challenge suddenly feels a bit pointless, and am slightly disheartened... After a good rant, however, my husband reminds me that reducing is still a step in the right direction, and he's right. Only slightly lifts the "impossible task" feeling weighing both me and the challenge down though....

Day 6:

Waking up with a more positive and a slightly better "can do" attitude, I am pleased that the first part of my day has seen very little plastic. Body, hair and dental cleansing has been mostly plastic free (apart from toothpaste and floss, which my hygienist has told me I need to keep using... Are there possibly plastic free versions? Mental note to investigate later). Breakfast also pretty good. Fresh orange juice from oranges delivered earlier in the week, bread from bakery (let's ignore the toast toppings for now.. shhhh). Coffee from a jar... Optimism restored somewhat. I still desperately need a local zero-waste shop. Am running low on pasta and general family dinner foods, and this is where it all comes a bit unstuck. I have to say though, that since switching the whole family to mostly vegan eating, our plastic foodprint (get it?) has been reduced considerably. Veg, lentils and other canned food are plastic-free and make up a reasonable portion of our meals, however staples such as pasta, rice, pulses and seeds are almost impossible to find packaged in anything other than plastic, limiting the variety of foods that we can enjoy... GRRRRRRRR. Spaghetti and lasagne packaging (the more expensive kind) is slightly less offensive, so for now the penne and fusilli will have to be shelved. There is always the option of making my own pasta, but this scares the living daylights out of me!

Day 7:

A week has passed, and despite the overwhelming feeling that I was often faced with the impossible, I am amazed at the changes we have been able to make in just a few days. Admittedly, I still have a long long way to go, but I feel confident that going forward, we will not only maintain our new outlook and routines, but that we will continue to look for new ways of eliminating plastic from our lives. It is not without effort or expense, but it is totally worth it.

So, who's up for the challenge? Please share your experiences, as well as any helpful tips to keep me and the community on track to eliminating this evil from our lives! Good luck!! :)

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