Tuesday, July 01, 2014

plastic free July

Well if you've been following my blog for a while (thanks for hanging in there with me!) you'll know I've been trying to reduce the amount of plastic in my life, especially single use plastic. So when an email arrived mentioning Plastic Free July of course I had to investigate!

Now the quibbler in me who knows I have to go shopping for bulk items this week and those things all come in plastic, is thinking if you re-use something it isn't single use any more is it? Like the bags I get my bulk food items in, these pre-sealed (so it isn't like I can take my own bag) large snaplock bags get washed out and re-used. Well okay, some of them get re-used, the rest are gradually accumulating in the laundry. But the only way I can avoid plastic when I buy such things is to buy organic versions from the health food shop which uses corn starch bags for it's bulk bin products, and I simply don't have that much money right now and they don't stock all the things I buy anway.

I haven't used cling wrap in years, I very rarely buy takeaway food that comes with disposable plastic and I always refuse plastic bags it at all possible, so the main things most people are cutting back on are hardly a challenge for me. Today as I was walking past the butchers in town I saw he had a big poster in his window - tofu on special, $3.50 for about 680g. Well at that price it was definitely worth investigating and whilst I'm a life long vegetarian I'm quite happy to support a local independent butcher on the high street, especially as he sells local meat (keep those food miles down where possible!). Plus Kaitaia needs all the retailers in town that it can get to fill the numerous empty shops.

The tofu in question is made in Auckland from GMO free beans, and I know it is pretty good having had it down there at a friend's. I had been making a point of buying Tonzu's tofu as not only is it organic but they are a Living Wage employer too, but feeling it was worth supporting another small business for a change got me in the door. Anyway, the point of this (before I completely do a Ronnie Corbett) was the dither over packaging once I got in the shop - it is in a plastic tray with a film seal over the top. Tonzu sell their tofu in cardboard boxes, but packaged in plastic inside. I figured the plastic seal was about the same amount as the Tonzu inside packaging so fair enough, but the tray? Well thriftiness won the day and I bought it, but I was very glad to find out when I got home that the tray is recyclable. But this all got me thinking again (and that was before I'd read the email!), could I manage without buying anything in plastic?

I've signed up for the challenge, but knowing that for some things I have the choice of plastic or going without. I could just wait until August to buy them to improve my July target, but that really feels like cheating. Whilst I've changed my diet considerably to reduce the amount of processed food in it over the last few years there are some things that I really need to eat to keep my diet properly balanced, and right now the only way I can get them is in plastic packaging. But I'm definitely going to make the extra effort this month to cut out as much single use plastic as I can and see how I go, hopefully the promised emailed tips will help!

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