Plastic-Free July was not a waste! Sort of.
So, the month of July is nearly over and we've struggled to be plastic-free. It's something easier said then done, let me tell you. Seems like everything is made with plastic, shipped in plastic, or covered in plastic. Ugh. We did our best though.
We brought our own bags to the grocery store and used paper bags when we didn't have enough space. Oh - paper bags were great, you know why? We'd reuse them as trash bags! No need to add more plastic to a landfill. And you know what I also discovered? Once we started composting everything, our trash output was reduced to less than half a garbage can a week for our family of six! AMAZEBALLS.
The garbage that did go out that wasn't recyclable? It was mostly plastic bags, packaging, plastic coated packaging or other little things that wouldn't compost or go into curbside recycling. This made me think - we can recycle hard plastics curbside but why not plastic bags? Why do they have to go to a landfill? Well it turns out they don't. They can be recycled. Just not with normal curbside pick up. Sorting machines at recycling facilities get all gummed up when plastic bags go through them, so DO NOT recycle them with your curbside service. Instead, collect them all up in one bag and bring them to a local drop-off point.
Oops. Yeah, I just learned that too.
We went went out to eat a few times or tried to get coffee and it never failed, plastic always slipped through somewhere. Takeout containers were generally plastic and not reusable with one exception. We got some Thai food the other night, and they came in disposable Tupperware style containers. You know what? That doesn't mean you have to throw them out. We washed ours and put them in the cupboard to use with our lunches. For other restaurants, we are going to start brining our own Tupperware containers for leftovers. Would that be weird?
Oh, we also attempted to get coffee at drive through stand nearby and specifically asked for no lids or straws. And real quick, this is not recommended if you are going to be in a moving vehicle. Trust me with this, guys. Anyways, we got to the window to get our order and what do you know, both drinks had lids. No straws at least. We can't win all of our battles, I guess.
Instead of replacing durable plastic items with like durable plastic items like a toothbrush, I tried using a bamboo toothbrush instead. The quality was great overall and I liked it for the most part, but the stiffness of the bristles (for the particular one that was given to me) was too tough so I went back to old faithful.
So while we weren't totally successful with our plastic-free July mission, we were pretty close. At least, Liz and I were. The kids would quickly look the other way if it plastic-free wasn't convenient. Like if Grandma or Grandpa took them to Wendy's for Frosty's or the ice cream truck came blasting through the neighborhood. Either way, we reduced our consumption a lot and will continue to stay away from disposable plastics as much as we can. We hope you'll join us.
Do you have any tips or suggestions one ways to stay plastic free? Or did you participate in #PlasticFreeJuly? Let us know how you did in the comments below.