Plastic free July – The things I’ve learned

I don’t think I’ll ever go completely plastic free due to our busy lives and also preferences for particular products which aren’t available without plastic packaging.

It’s interesting when you start to take a look at reducing personal consumption of plastic packaging in everyday life and you realise how much packaging has been actually changed to plastic over the last 10 years. With all the talk of reducing plastic packaging, this just seems a bit crazy. KitKat‘s, for example, used to be wrapped in foil and paper – both easily recyclable. The old foil wrappers in a tin of Roses or Quality Street are now plastic – this seems ridiculously backwards on an environmental level.

Most of these items that have been encased in plastic wrapping are what I would class as treats which I wouldn’t have very often and it’s a shame that they now come with a side helping of plastic induced guilt for me.

Weetabix used to wrap their product in paper, but it now comes with an internal layer of plastic laminated to the inside of it this making it non-recyclable.

On packagingnews.co.uk the spokesperson explains their reasons for this decision:

“Weetabix takes its responsibilities to the environment very seriously and develops its packaging primarily to protect the quality, safety and shelf-life of its products – wasted food is far more damaging to the environment than packaging.
We are signatories to the Wrap Courtauld Commitment and as such have demonstrated our commitment to using the most environmentally conscious materials which meet the needs stated earlier.
This new wrap contains a plastic layer to provide the necessary product protection, which means that it is not compostable. The paper used in this new packaging is from a sustainable source.”

So yeah, I do get it, wrapping stuff in plastic makes it last longer but how long do we really need it to last? I have never had Weetabix long enough for it to go off or not taste fresh. This is really frustrating as it’s something I have daily and get through a lot of. I haven’t found an alternative brand that doesn’t use plastic- if you find one that still uses plain old paper please let me know!

So, what am I going to do differently from now…

The first step for me is awareness, I do a lot of my shopping online, especially now that we have a baby, but the problem with that is you don’t get to see the packaging before buying the products. So I’ll be heading into Morrison’s where we usually do our online shop and checking out the packaging and making notes of anything that can be swapped out for a plastic free option.

The main thing I’m going to change is not buying multipacks of things. I bought a multipack of four cans of tomatoes and four cans of baked beans, both came coupled together with a layer of plastic which is completely unnecessary and I removed straightaway before putting them away in the cupboard, so it was complete and total waste.

This also applies with vegetables- buying a 3 pack of pre-packed peppers for instance.

Annoyingly buying these separately costs more but it’s a small price to pay in the grand scheme of things.

I’d love to know what simple changes you’re making to reduce your plastic consumption.

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