Plastic Free July is well underway! We’ve enjoyed joining millions of people across the globe in reducing plastic waste. We even had a visit from the Mayor supporting the initiative! Head over to our social media to find out more about that.
As we hit the mid-point of the challenge, we wanted to catch up with our Filling Good members and volunteers to have a nosey at their plastic-free habits.
“I hardly ever use clingfilm. It’s been several years now except for around paint brushes between coats of paint. Instead, I have three plastic-free alternatives. First, I use silicone lids to cover leftover food or liquid in the fridge. I also use a silicon cover over containers in the oven up to 200C. Second, plates - great, as everyone will have these to hand. And third, beeswax covers.”
“Plastic-free party bags! I put in second-hand books, like the Horrid Henry series, from the charity shop with some bulk sweets from Filling Good. It’s way better than cheap plastic toys that break in minutes!
On the rare occasion that I buy clothes, I try to get natural materials like cotton, linen or hemp. This reduces the amount of microplastic entering the waterways from my washing machine. Once in the waterways, microplastics can come back to us through the food chain - urgh!
I make a lot of things myself, like bread, biscuits or sparkling water. Yes, it is time-consuming. But I know exactly what ingredients I am using while reducing my plastic consumption. I can make sure everything is organic and better for my health and my family!
Solid cosmetics are now a staple in my routine. Soap, shampoo and conditioner bars are small, cheap and super good for my skin and hair. People often don’t realise liquid cosmetics need preservatives. This can mean adding controversial chemicals. Solid products don’t need preservatives because they don’t include any water. Plus, there is far less plastic, CO2, energy and toxins involved!
I, of course, refill as much as I can at Filling Good. I’ve reused the same bottles for 7 years now, and they are still going strong.”
“I was planting spinach recently, but ran out of plastic labels! Instead of buying more, I realised I could reuse two wooden lolly sticks I had. Another tip for fellow gardeners is both Braywick Nursery and Crocus at Dorney Court recycle plastic plant pots. So, you can pop along with any spares.”
“I always like to check out the refill options on holiday. You’d be surprised by the number of places that offer it. I recently refilled my washing-up liquid and vinegar in France. And, I couldn’t resist telling the man working there about our shop, though I’m not sure he understood).
Shopping at markets is great, and much more fun for children as the veg is often sold loose. Picking your own is an activity in itself!
When travelling, refill your journey snacks from the shop with sweets, nuts and dried fruit. If you’re camping, then thin noodles cook quickly. Add some bouillon or miso, and you have plastic-free super noodles!
Staying at home? Making your own playdough is a cheap and sustainable activity for kids. You only need flour, salt and oil (all available in the shop).”
“I never buy cling film or food bags. Instead, I reuse the bags from bread. While it is still plastic, reusing them as much as possible is better than letting them be single-use.
While cardboard is recyclable, I prefer to reuse it. I’ll cut up any cardboard from delivery boxes and use them for crafts. Buying new means it's wrapped in plastic. The same goes for cereal boxes! I’m a tutor, so I use the card from these for flash cards rather than purchasing cards or paper. Again, these always come in plastic.
I don't buy single-portion yoghurt pots. Instead, I get a big tub to decant into smaller ones (that I’ve washed out to reuse). My children can make up their own yoghurt flavours and toppings. I reuse any other yoghurt pots for planting seeds or paint pots for my children.”
“Instead of buying milk in plastic, I use my local milkman for dairy milk, oat milk and cream. I also enjoy Oddbox and Riverford for fruit and veg deliveries. Or I’ll pop into Langley Fresh on Wootton Way to pick some up plastic free. Able & Cole collect any soft plastic I can't avoid once a month when I get my organic cheese delivered.
I’ve found the best way to avoid single-use plastic is cooking from scratch. I like to make my own hummus, jam and peanut butter. And, of course, shop at Filling Good for all my refills. Nancy Birtwhistles on Facebook has some brilliant money-saving and sustainable tips! Check out her making golden syrup and brown sugar from granulated.
I also bang on about being plastic-free to friends, family and colleagues. Spreading awareness is equally as important!”
“Batch cooking! I’m not brilliant, but it reduces ready meals and takeaways, which come in plastic packaging (and cost more). I use the clicky plastic boxes to freeze my batch-cooked portions. But, I am exploring other plastic-free options, like metal tiffin tins, large jam jars or glass containers.”
“I noticed A Hoppy Place (Maidenhead’s craft beer shop and pub) uses non-recyclable plastic kegs. Instead of letting them go to landfill, I’ve taken them to upcycle into different items. Think propagators, bell jars for the garden and so on. Once I’ve figured out a safe way to do each project, I will load them onto Green Skills Library. It's a free resource for making sustainable alternatives by repairing or upcycling. And helps more people reduce their plastic waste through upcycling!”
“I use aluminium bottles in the bathroom for my refill shampoo, body wash and conditioner. Aluminium is safer than glass as bathrooms can get quite slippery! They also look quite good and are lighter to carry to Filling Good than glass.”
“Making my own oat milk! I no longer drink cow’s milk to avoid the environmental impact of the dairy industry. I realised I can do better than recycling the Tetra Pak cartons. So, I decided to make my own using package-free oats from Filling Good. And, it works. I’ll never go back to shop-bought.
In the same vein, I also made my own flatbreads. It’s impossible to find them plastic-free. I used ingredients I already had in the cupboard and had 6 flatbreads ready in less than 30 minutes. Not only were they tasty, they were easy and fun to make, too!”
As you can see, our members and volunteers are full of brilliant plastic-free tips and tricks. Pop into Filling Good shop if you need some advice on how to join in on Plastic Free July (and beyond). We’re a friendly bunch!