Saturday, August 30, 2014

plastic free July - the finale, or rather the beginning...

Well the month is over. In fact it was over a while ago, but for various reasons this didn't get finished at the time so I'll try to edit this to make sense timewise as I finish it off....

I managed to come up with a compromise solution for my CDE Kit dilemma of the other week. I've bought a sistema microwave noodle bowl which at least is BPA free even if it is plastic. After a bit of experimentation I've now got a collection of buckwheat, stock powder and sundried tomatoes in the kit replacing the rice ready meals (which have now been eaten, and the packets added to the August plastic collection - ah well!)

Week four saw another packet being used up - having found the tail end of a packet of rice floating around forgotten about in the cupboard it got tipped into some miso soup I was making. I was feeling rather pleased with myself as I've made miso soup from scratch a few times now rather than just open a sachet. Sure it takes longer than boiling the jug, but it doesn't take that much longer and the result is much more satisfying. However I'll still keep some sachets on hand for emergencies (aka very low energy days). Unfortunately the only way I can buy miso around here is in a plastic bag within a resealable plastic pouch. Not tubs or jars like I used to get in Edinburgh and Wellington. So an empty miso bag has also been added to the weeks collection, but better one bag than a pile of sachets.

The 'foil' seal on a new jar of tablets (the only one I take that that isn't in blister packs) turned out to be plastic film masquerading as foil - bah humbug. Plus I'm on to a new moxa stick (shhhh, don't tell Teri it has taken me this long to get through the last one! I tend to forget more often than remember to use it...) so that's another packet on top of the usual blister packs.

I bought myself a mini processor, basically a bowl with two sets of blades and a motor. Sooooo many of the recipes I come across these days that work for my dietary requirements seem to involve whizzing up a lot of dried fruits, nuts, pulses etc and our poor overworked whizzy stick blender isn't really designed for such. So I made the most of a half price sale! Aside from the plastic bags wrapped around each component part (why???) in theory this means I'll be more easily able to avoid certain plastic packages as it will be easier for me to make things like oatcakes and crackers so I'm less likely to resort to buying them when low on energy (I finished a packet of Corn Thins recently that had been bought for that very reason). I started to try making my own LSA but realised I need to buy more linseed after I'd already whizzed the almonds and sunflower seeds, but hopefully that will be another plastic packet no longer coming into the house. Sure I'll still be buying the bulk bags of the ingredients, but I get them anyway. I've got a whole heap of recipes to go at now that I've been procrastinating over trying as putting things through the mouli or using a pestle and mortar instead is much harder work. Whilst I'm all for avoiding unnecessary electricity use I've had to accept that for now I just don't have the physical stamina for the more energetic methods.

So, after a month of trying to avoid single use plastic what have I learned and achieved? Well it is certainly much easier to keep single use plastic consumption down when you're at home under normal circumstances. I don't seem to be alone in discovering that either. I've started to radically rethink the food in the CDE Kit, I'd gone down the usual track of various packets and tinned convenience foods, most of which I don't usually eat which is a pain when it comes to refreshing the contents each year. It has also made me think about how and where the food in it would be used ie it is unlikely to be at home. I've become much more aware when shopping about packaging, I thought I was pretty good at this already, but have realised that there is still a lot of room for improvement. I've got into the habit of not only carrying around with me my cloth shopping bags but a handful of clean plastic bags - these can be used for loose veg and bulk bin items, standing pots of seedlings in etc instead of taking another new plastic bag in the shop/at the market. At some point I'll make some of those tulle bags for veg, but I've way too many other sewing projects to finish first!

But the biggest realisation I suppose for me is that if I'm going to really make a difference to my habits I need to monitor my usage for more than just one month. It is now three weeks into August, and sadly the collection for August already has more in it than the one for the whole of July, but that is mostly due to using things up and phasing them out (like the rice packets from the CDE Kit). But I'll write more about August in another post.

1 comment:

Dawn said...

I am SO impressed with this - so much of the stuff I use (ready meals etc) comes in plastic as well as a cardboard outer. I do recycle everything that I can but there is still a lot that doesn't. But like you it's the energy balance issue and doing what I can (which includes shopping in supermarkets where veg is often in plastic - mum likes to shop there and I haven't the energy to go elsewhere as well).