My Year of Eco Challenges – Challenge 10 – Plastic Free July!!!!

It’s finally here – Plastic Free July and my 10th challenge on My Year of Eco Challenges! Will this be the one that breaks me or will I come out the other side stronger than ever??  It is definitely the hardest challenge I have undertaken so far and that was just the preparation for it!  
A few years ago going plastic free wasn’t even vaguely on my radar.  It just wasn’t something I thought about it particularly. It didn’t take much though to start really bothering me. Just under a year ago I watched the Clean Bin Project Movie (read more here) and my attitude to plastic and waste changed irreversibly.  The film highlights the scale and scope of our plastic problems which is really quite frightening, but isn’t all doom and gloom. It shows us how much power we have as individuals to change things.  I felt inspired and when I read about Plastic Free July and saw Westywrites planning for it months in advance I decided to join her and started my single use plastic free journey.
As I mentioned earlier I have been doing quite a bit of preparation for this challenge and wrote myself a going single use plastic free to do list (read more here) – a great big long list of things that I need to find plastic free alternatives for. Some of them I have done and where possible I have provided links to blog posts with recipes and explanations of what I have done.  The problem I have found is that I have been on a bit of an elimination diet recently and some of the things I have worked out how to make I can no longer eat and I have found the challenge is a moving goal post. 
The challenge itself:
The full details of the original challenge can be read here – mainly it says ‘attempt to refuse single use plastics throughout July’
My main challenge will be to try to avoid buying or using anything packaged in or containing single use plastic throughout July for myself. 
However I think I need to set a few caveats, boundaries and rules for my challenge which are as follows:
  1. I am going to allow myself to buy things that are packaged in plastic for my family and the student currently staying with us as I am not including them in this challenge – that said I will try to limit this to bread, cucumber and some of the milk I buy (I have just set up an order with the milkman – better late than never!).  I also am still using disposable nappies, babywipes and plastic nappy bags for my son (let’s not talk about that 🙂 )
  2. I am going to allow myself to buy things in /containing single use plastic which I am unable to source any plastic free alternatives for and that I don’t feel I can live without during July (I will try to live without them though e.g. I love cucumber but will be boycotting the plastic wrapped stuff for July).  
  3. I am allowed to use things I already have which have single use plastic packaging but am not allowed to buy replacements throughout the month
  4. I am going to allow myself to eat and drink out at friends, events (I am going to a wedding this month) and restaurants (I will try to avoid them where possible) regardless of the single use plastic involved.
  5. Although I could buy some things without plastic packaging I would prefer to buy them in bulk with packaging as the non-packaged food would have had that bulk packaging anyway and it is cheaper to buy some foods in bulk!
  6. I will try to keep a single use plastic free diary throughout July to document my successes and failures. Although it isn’t part of the challenge I will try to include any single use plastic that goes in the bin as well, whether it is my plastic or not.
  7. I don’t expect to be entirely successful, but I do expect to become far more aware of the single use plastic in my life and to continue to work to gradually eliminate it during July and on an ongoing basis!
Phew – if you are still awake through all that, then you have done well.  I feel the need for so many caveats because it is going to be so darn hard and I want to be open, honest and realistic about what I can actually achieve.
Other Plastic Free July-ites

One of the saving graces of Plastic Free July is all the other UK bloggers taking part and in particular Westywrites and Polythene Pam have been a vital source of advice, inspiration and motivation in the run up to Plastic Free July. We have been tweeting about it over on Twitter using the hashtag #pfjuk (Plastic Free July UK), so if you are on Twitter and want to chat about going plastic free have a look for it!
Other UK bloggers taking part in Plastic Free July can be found writing at Westwick DreamingSecond-hand talesSustainable WitneyMy Zero Waste and Plastic-Free July in Croydon – take a look and why not join us on our plastic free journey!
I am currently undertaking a Year of Eco Challenges . If you have a moment I would really appreciate it if you would consider sponsoring me with an action (no money involved) on my DoNation page. Also if you liked this post please click like on Facebook and follow on Twitter – thanks so much!