Permaculture in Action

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Plastic Free July Amongst Other things

Earlier this month I was inspired by Linda to join up for the challenge of going plastic free for the month of July. Like Linda I thought it would be fairly easy as we are already conscious of our use of  single use plastic. And like Linda I was caught out a little, especially as we went on a little break to the south coast just after signing up.

Plastic really only becomes an issue for us around the purchase of food, because just about everything else is bought second hand (but there was one exception this month and I'll go into that a bit later). Most of what we buy in the way of food is fresh produce or so I thought but when it really came down to it there was the plastic wrapping on the tempeh, the tofu and the cheese. These are the three things we really need to look at in regards to single use plastic. For about a year now we have  had the kit ready to start making our own tempeh and tofu but haven't got around to it yet, and when we are milking the cow we make our own cheese so that should take care of that. But then I look in the cupboard and there's a pack of spaghetti in a plastic bag- really must get back to making our own pasta! The list goes on it really does and we pride ourselves in being conscious of these things. Really?

But that has nothing on the experience we had while on our little holiday. At home we make our own bread but had to buy it while away. My goodness what an effort to find bread not in plastic. Vegetables. Well do you think we could buy them easily? No way. We went into one supermarket and all the conventional vegies were available without plastic but my preference is for organic and that was all wrapped in cling wrap or in little plastic containers. It took us twice as long to shop and we had to rethink what we were going to eat. Thankfully a day or two later we chanced upon a market and were able to buy loose fruit and vegetables. We could have gone hungry trying to keep to the challenge.

And milk, what about plastic milk containers. I try to reuse these as creatively as possible around the house and farm, but there's only so many that can be upcycled and the rest are put into the recycle bin.

So many emotions reared their little heads...sadness, anger, frustration. We are so lucky to have an abundance of fruit and vegies growing on the farm, and a great organic shop just 15 minutes away. I can get my dry goods in paper and now they even have a bulk section so that I can take my own containers.

One thing we did buy new this month was a printer and of course there was single use plastic involved. Inside the large box was a large plastic bag. Fortunately we were able to use that to make covers for my seedling trays.

When we started our Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) I was determined that I wouldn't be using single use plastic. What did people do before the invention of plastic I wonder? We use second hand plastic containers to hold things like the salad mix, tomatoes, peas, beans, strawberries etc, etc. Our customers return them to us when they pick up their next box. I also utilise plastic milk containers for this purpose also. By cutting them in half they become containers for all sorts of produce. I also use the bottom half of the container as little baskets at the birthday parties for children to carry food for the animals by attaching  little string handles.

So what did I learn from plastic free July. Well first up it was hard, and I didn't do as good a job as I would have liked. There are so many more things I could be doing and it really comes down to being more organised and make more of our food ourselves.


And just to show you that July wasn't all about plastic I'll leave you with some snaps of our holiday...

We went to the coast and breathed in the sea air.

We treated ourselves to an apartment by the sea. This is the view from the verandah.

We climbed Pigeon House Mountain. Can you see it there through the trees?

We were a little disheartened after climbing for quite a long way and seeing a sign that said that we were not even half way there. Oh my goodness!           


The climb was quite difficult and took us around 4hours there and back, with the most difficult part being the ladders at the very top.

I'm normally quite frightened of heights but I knew that I just had to go ahead without giving it too much thought and I'm pleased to say that I made it to the top without plummeting to my death. And the view was amazing. We were very lucky to have a beautiful clear day.

And here we are at the very top. Phew!
But of course I had to climb back down. And once again I didn't allow myself to think about it too much because descending those ladders was pretty scary.

 * * * * * * * * *
And on the decluttering scene I've found an old mobile phone which will be sent along for recycling.


  1. Yes, going plastic free is more difficult than it seems. You did well.

    Apart from the fear of heights, I hope you both had a relaxing few days away. Much deserved. x

  2. Sounds like you have done very well in Plastic Free July! We were frustrated by the same things on our holiday ...we shook our heads at 'organic ' bananas covered in layers of plastic , possibly cancelling out the great things about their environmental impact, we kept thinking about how lucky we are to have a great organic supermarket closeby that uses paper bags etc.Looks like you had a lovely holiday.

  3. I was surprised by how much plastic we accumulated too. It was good to see it all in one bag and to think about how to reduce it further.